While the most affluent London boroughs have more electric vehicle charge points, most Uber drivers live in less affluent boroughs, the ride-hailing giant said
Uber plans to invest more than £5m in rolling out public electric vehicle (EV) charging in London’s less affluent areas, in a bid to encouarge more drivers to make switch to zero emissions vehicles, it announced today.
The ride-hailing giant hopes the investment will help remedy a geographical inbalance in charge point infrastructure across the capital that it says is preventing drivers from adopting EVs, highlighting its own research showing more affluent boroughs such as Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea have higher numbers of EV charge points.
However, most Uber drivers live in less affluent boroughs such as Newham, Tower Hamlets and Redbridge, the firm said.
As such, in a move announced at the London Infrastructure Summit today, Uber said it would invest £5m before 2023 in charge point infrastructure in areas where access to charge points is more limited, in a bid to encourage its London drivers to swap their fossil fuel cars for zero emissions alternatives.
The investment forms part of the ride-hailing firm’s target to operate an entirely, all-electric vehicle fleet operating in European cities by 2040, and Uber hopes that by 2025 all 45,000 cars on its app in London will be electric, a significant mark up from the 1,000 EVs it has driving in the city today.
The firm has added 15 pence a mile to all trips in the capital since 2018 to support investments that can help its drivers transition away from fossil fuel cars, and in March struck a deal with Nissan to purchase 2,000 of all-electric Nissan Leaf cars for it London drivers.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said at today’s summit that the firm recognised an acceleration of the electric vehicle market was critical to put the UK on track to meet its climate target.
“Drivers consistently tell us that having reliable, accessible charging near where they live is a key factor when deciding if they should switch to electric,” he said. “If we address this challenge for professional drivers now, it will help create a mass market for electric vehicles in the years to come. As we all know this is critical if the UK is to achieve our goal to be net zero.”
News of Uber’s investment programme comes less than a week after the government acknowledged the need to go further in its plans to decarbonise the automotive industry, in its response to a hefty progress report published this summer by independent climate advisory body the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
In the response, the government said it was considering the CCC’s recommendation for a nationwide ‘zero emission mandate’ that would require carmakers to sell a rising share of electric vehicles each year, before reaching 100 per cent at 2032.
“We recognise that we need to go further than the existing regulatory regime to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport to deliver our climate goals and we are considering this as part of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan,” the government said.
The government is understood to be consulting on three possible dates – 2030, 2032, and 2035 – in ongoing discussions about bringing forward its ban on new diesel and petrol cars.