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Switching to an electric vehicle can pencil out

The switch to EV can be a money saver, but for those working in rideshare, finding someone to finance that can be hard. Forth hopes to change that.

PORTLAND, Oregon — The pace with which electric vehicles (E-Vs) are purchased in Oregon continues to quicken. And there’s a huge upside to them. They’re better for the environment, the costs of driving and maintaining are far lower than those of a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

Lyft driver Courtney Mcrae-Alston bought her used Chevy Bolt 2 years ago. She, like other drivers, sees the values of going electric – she’s spending 25 dollars a month on electricity through a Portland General Electric program,  versus $250-$350 a week on on gas. 

But financing, even a used one, can be challenging when you work in the “gig economy,”–  think rideshares like Lyft and Uber.

"Financial institutions generally don't look favorably upon a vehicle that will be used specifically for rideshare," says Barret Brown of Forth.  

 “A lot of (rideshare drivers) come from lower-income areas that are historically underserved, and themselves are often underbanked." 

And, usually, they don't drive for just one of the ride-sharing apps. A lot of times they also deliver for food-delivery apps as well, Brown said.  

Forth aims to level the road with its Fair Financing Pilot Program. They’ll help drivers document income streams, look at ways to find better rates and help them secure a down payment if needed. They’re partnering with Point West Credit Union and Prosper Portland.

Credit: FORTH

“We're going really try and keep those interest rates below 10% to the best of our ability and kind of help out with any down payment or anything like that” says Barrett.

Courtney knows what it takes to get road-ready and believes the new program from Forth will fuel an increase in more rideshare drivers going electric. She says, "Having a credit union, that's going to, you know, look at say your situation and work with you. It's phenomenal. I hope they expand it.”

Forth launched the new program in September – so if you’re a rideshare driver – looking to go electric- contact them through their website

Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram