Uber has pledged to adopt hybrid or fully electric vehicles across its entire UK fleet of uberX vehicles by 2022, beginning with London by 2019 when no diesel vehicles in the capital will be available on the app.
The goal of the taxi service company is to see every vehicle using the app, including the larger uberXL and Exec ranges, to be electric in 2025 across more than 40 UK towns and cities the company already operates in.
To help drivers make the transition to cleaner vehicles, Uber will create a dedicated Clean Air Fund to allow licensed drivers who use the app to access up to £5,000 towards the cost of upgrading their car to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.
The fund will be opened next month with a £2 million investment while £0.35 will be added to the cost of every journey in London to be put towards the ring-fenced fund. An amount will also be added to rides in other UK cities over the next year, with over £150 million expected to be raised over the life of the fund.
UberPool trips will be excluded from the fee increase as passengers are already opting to share their journey.
Uber is also following a new trend set by car manufacturers in offering its own diesel scrappage scheme in an effort to remove 1,000 of the most polluting cars from London’s roads. The first 1,000 people in London – not just Uber drivers - to scrap a pre-Euro 4 diesel vehicle and provide an official scrappage certificate will receive up to £1,500 of credit to spend on Uber or UberPool rides.
Fred Jones, Uber’s head of UK cities, said: “Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it with this bold plan. Londoners already know many cars on our app are hybrids, but we want to go much further and go all electric in the capital.
“Our scrappage scheme will also take polluting vehicles off the road and encourage Londoners to get into a shared car to connect with public transport instead.”
Unveiling of the new clean air strategy follows the announcement in March that Uber is preparing to deploy its own branded network of electric vehicle chargers in London. This follows a trial carried out alongside the Energy Saving Trust which found the current network was not sufficient to support the growth of EVs. These rapid chargers will begin to be rolled out in the coming weeks.