Ride-hailing app to charge extra 15p per mile to help drivers pay for electric cars
Last modified on Tue 23 Oct 2018
Uber will charge its customers in London an extra 15p per mile on every trip to help its drivers buy electric cars.
The ride-hailing app hopes to create a £200m fund from the levy to encourage almost half of its 45,000 drivers to use fully electric vehicles by 2021. The firm hopes its London fleet will be fully electric by 2025.
Uber said the clean air fee would mean an extra 45p on the average three-mile trip in the capital, on top of normal fares, but every penny would go towards helping drivers upgrade their vehicles or other green initiatives should that money not be used.
Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said the initiative, a world first for the company, showed it was committed to being a strong partner in the capital. “It represents our wanting our partnership in London not only to be a strong partnership but trailblazing in solving air pollution, which every great city in the world is struggling with, and our mayor here in London is looking to improve,” he said.
However, Khosrowshahi said Uber would continue to resist proposals to make its drivers liable for London’s congestion charge, unless black cabs were also forced to pay.
Under Uber’s new scheme, each driver will in effect have their own savings account towards the purchase of an electrical vehicle, based on the number of miles driven. A driver using Uber’s app for an average of 40 hours per week could expect to save about £3,000 towards a new electric vehicle in two years.
Uber said it was in talks with manufacturers to negotiate prices and ensure supply, as well as to home vehicle charging suppliers.
Khosrowshahi said: “You’re going to see many initiatives but what it adds up to is us moving from being a simple ride-sharing service to transforming to an on-demand mobility service. We ultimately want to be that go-to mobility platform – whether you’re going to move with the car or a bike or ultimately a bus or the tube service. All this is aimed at eventually replacing car ownership itself.
“Cars are unused 95% of the time and take up enormous amounts of space, in parking etc – we want to give that space back to the city.”
Uber is also offering a diesel scrappage bonus of £1,500 in credit for its app to the first 1,000 people in London to scrap a pre-Euro 4 diesel vehicle.
Khosrowshahi said: “It’s our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options – whether cars, bikes, scooters or public transport – all in the Uber app.”
The chief executive said he was confident most drivers would take up the chance to spend their clean air fee savings on a new electric vehicle, but the fund would otherwise be used for other green schemes. “We won’t bank it.”