Best of Earth911 Podcast: Upshift’s Ezra Goldman on the Future of Shared Transportation
Transportation in the modern world needs to make more sense. We pay tens of thousands of dollars for vehicles that sit unused about 95% of the time. We have designed an infrastructure based on car-centric population centers that have become hard-wired into the map and prevent the evolution of flexible alternatives to the internal combustion vehicle. With logistics and cloud technology, a car can be shared, and a new financing option can help. Meet Ezra Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Upshift, a San Francisco-based company rethinking the car lease, delivering vehicles for use on the days they are needed, and reallocating them to other users when they would be sitting idle. The company is raising capital on WeFunder, a crowdfunding platform. Upshift hit its first goal, raising about $105,000 to accelerate its deployment of “fractional auto leasing” of hybrid and electric vehicles in San Francisco. The WeFunder campaign ends on April 30 and will support Upshift’s expansion to Washington, D.C.
Uber and Lyft proved that car use can be maximized by connecting a driver and someone needing a ride or delivery. But that model still relies on the idea of static ownership, and many alternatives are possible now that the digital infrastructure has matured. Ezra explains why fractional leasing saves money and reduces the environmental impact of driving. He is an MIT graduate with a master’s degree in Urban Planning, Design, and Mobile Technology, and he studied for a Ph.D. at the University of Copenhagen. Ezra also spent four months as a Lyft driver in 2017, an experience that convinced him never to use gig workers at Upshift. You can learn more about Upshift at upshiftcars.com and check out the WeFunder campaign at wefunder.com/upshift.
Originally aired Apr 19, 2023.