Electrification and the road to sustainability
Ride-hailing app Uber has pledged to make its operations more sustainable by committing to becoming a zero-emission mobility platform by 2030. In this article, Uber tells Intelligent Transport more about how it is working to support its drivers in making the switch to electric vehicles.
A year on from outlining our global sustainability commitment to become a zero-emission mobility platform across Europe and the U.S. by 20301, London is leading the way in driving this progress.
The shift to electric vehicles
In London, there are now more EVs on Uber than any other city in the world”
Drivers are switching to electric vehicles (EVs) at a much faster rate than in the mass market, putting us on track to meet our ambitious commitment to be fully electric in the capital by 2025. In London, there are now more EVs on Uber than any other city in the world.
However, as we highlighted in Uber’s 2020 SPARK! Report2, this sort of progress towards a fully electric platform is only achieved in cities where we enjoy constructive relationships with local governments who have prioritised a green recovery, such as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. We want to work with cities to deliver a joint goal of a cleaner, more sustainable urban mobility system.
Uber’s Clean Air Plan
Making it as easy and as financially attractive as possible for drivers to transition to electric vehicles has been at the forefront of our efforts to date. Our Clean Air Plan, where we added a small fee to all trips in London, has been a critical part of our approach to helping drivers to save. Over £135 million has so far been saved for drivers in the capital and millions spent by thousands of drivers in switching to an electric vehicle.
This has meant that there are now over 4,000 EVs on Uber in London – almost 10 per cent of the total number of vehicles. This is an extraordinary rise from the 100 or so that were available in 2019. Together, these drivers are taking over 700,000 trips and driving over one million miles per month.
Drivers in London can use their Clean Air funds towards a selection of exclusive deals with companies such as Hyundai, Kia and Nissan to buy or lease an EV. We are also working with UK-based startup Arrival on the development of an EV built specifically for the ride-hailing market, with cars hitting the road by the end of 2023.
Improving EV charging infrastructure
We are also focused on improving charging infrastructure, which is one of the key concerns for drivers when assessing whether to switch to an EV. By working with cities to help to identify the key areas where charging is needed most, we believe that it can make a difference to the current charging infrastructure map. We are spending at least £5 million by the end of 2023 in boroughs with the greatest need for new EV infrastructure, based on where our drivers live.
We have doubled the number of fully electric vehicles since the launch of Uber Green in March 2021, whereby riders can request a zero-emission ride option for the same price as a regular Uber, and drivers can earn more per trip. By creating this market dynamic, we are helping both riders and drivers to take greener trips.
So much so, that more than 90 per cent of all drivers who join Uber with a new vehicle are now opting for a fully electric car. This progress is significant, but we still have a long way to go.
Looking to the future
As we look ahead, we will double down on our efforts to provide drivers with further vehicle and charging options to accelerate the transition to EVs”
As we look ahead, we will double down on our efforts to provide drivers with further vehicle and charging options to accelerate the transition to EVs. We will accelerate towards our goals with clear action.
We can’t do this alone, however. Success in the coming years will be defined by how we continue to work with all stakeholders – manufacturers, charging providers, NGOs and, crucially, cities and governments. Going green is a team effort, and we are proud of the role that we are playing to clean up urban mobility.
Founded in 2009 in San Francisco, California, Uber is a global Mobility-as-a-Service provider, with operations in over 900 metropolitan areas worldwide. It started as a simple idea: what if you could request a trip from your phone? But what began as just a thought quickly grew into a global brand focused on helping to move people towards opportunity out in the world.