FREE NOW Ireland reports surge in ECO bookings as demand for EV trips grow

Posted: 21 April 2022 | | No comments yet

In line with its goal to achieve 50 per cent fully electric vehicle rides by 2025, FREE NOW has reported an increase in demand of over 600 per cent for its ECO booking service across Ireland in the first quarter of 2022.

FREE NOW reports surge in ECO booking as demand for EV trips grow

Credit: FREE NOW

Irish multi-mobility app FREE NOW has reported a 630 per cent increase in demand for its ECO booking service in the first quarter of 2022. Launched in major cities across Ireland in 2021, the ECO booking option allows passengers to choose more sustainable transport options by selecting a hybrid or electric taxi on the app at no extra cost.

The initiative forms part of FREE NOW’s ambition of achieving 50 per cent fully electric vehicle (EV) rides by 2025 and to be the first mobility platform in Europe to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

Ahead of World Earth Day on 22 April 2022, FREE NOW has also announced that it has added over 600 EVs to its fleet since the start of 2021, and a third of the fleet is now electric or hybrid compared to 24 per cent in 2022. The company expects to have 1,120 EVs on the road by the end of 2022.

Fiona Brady, Head of Public Affairs and Operations at FREE NOW, said: “Since launching our ECO booking option [in 2021], we have seen a significant increase in demand for this service in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. This surge in bookings is driven by the increased availability of hybrid and EV vehicles on our app, as well as the continued growing demand for more sustainable options from our passengers. Supporting the national effort to develop a more sustainable transport system across Ireland is a crucial part of our agenda, and the success of the ECO booking and the increased electrification of our fleet is another milestone in helping us reach our sustainability targets.”

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Recent research of FREE NOW driver partners has shown that it’s not only passengers driving the demand for more eco-friendly transport. The research reveals that, of those that currently drive a hybrid or EV, 41 per cent made the switch for environmental reasons, while 37 per cent made the switch due to cheaper running costs. In addition, 70 per cent of driver partners say that they are in favour of increased electrification of taxi fleets to help the sector to reach its carbon reduction goal.

“We are also working closely with our driver partners to support them in making the switch to electric. [In 2021], we invested €6 million to help taxi drivers across the country to purchase home chargers for EVs and, [in 2022], we are hosting EV roadshows across the country to educate drivers on the benefits of switching to electric,” said Brady.

FREE NOW is also working with Climate Partner to develop offset projects to compensate for the current output of CO2 emissions produced by both the company and its services. As a result, the company is offsetting a total of 173,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions with three projects in Madre de Dios, Peru, Indonesia and in Europe.