Uber customers have responded positively to the company’s ‘Comfort Electric’ ride-hailing option that enables them to catch a ride in electric cars like Tesla, but many of them apparently cannot figure out how to open Tesla doors. This is because Tesla vehicles come with hidden door handles that lie flush with the car’s body, often making it difficult for new users to figure out how to open them. The unique door handles in Tesla vehicles were initially introduced on the original Model S in 2012 before being made a part of all new Tesla vehicles in the following years.
Apart from looking unique, Tesla’s retractable door handles can also sometimes prove to be an asset in the real world. In at least one case earlier this year, they likely saved a Tesla driver from a physical confrontation with an angry motorist. Last month, a video shared on social media captured a serious case of road rage, where a furious motorist rushed up to a Tesla vehicle and tried to open its door. Fortunately for the occupants of the Tesla, he couldn’t find a handle to grab onto and failed to figure out how to open the door.
Uber has reportedly received feedback that many riders who are opting to take a ride in an electric vehicle are having trouble opening Tesla doors. To deal with the problem, the company has started sending push notifications ahead of a Tesla ride to explain how to open the door handles. The messages not only mention how to open the doors but also include illustrations to illustrate the point better. There’s no word on whether the notifications are having an effect, but users will likely get used to the unique technology in the coming months as Tesla rides on Uber become more ubiquitous.
Uber recently launched its ‘Comfort Electric’ ride-hailing option that enables customers to choose an electric car for their ride. Alongside the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, the Polestar 2 and Ford Mustang Mach-E are also part of Uber’s electric fleet. However, the vast majority of the vehicles are believed to be Teslas. The Comfort Electric service was launched in May but was only available in a handful of cities globally, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Dubai. The service has since been expanded to seven new cities, including Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Austin, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
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Last month, Uber announced that its electric fleet includes more than 15,000 Tesla vehicles in more than 30 U.S. cities through its deal with Hertz. The deal, inked late last year, is expected to make 50,000 Tesla cars available to Uber drivers to rent by 2023. According to the ride-hailing giant, the deal with Hertz is a significant step towards its zero-emission goal announced earlier. In addition, the agreement is an expansion of their existing partnership that has been in place since 2016 and allows the ride-hailing company to offer discounts on car rentals to drivers who don’t own their own vehicles.