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More electric cars on the road in London

March 28, 2017 / London

We are proud to announce plans to expand the number of fully electric vehicles available on our app in London. These plans build on our existing efforts to help tackle air pollution in the capital. Already more than 60 per cent of Uber journey miles in London take place in hybrid cars and shared journeys through uberPOOL – which matches people going in the same direction at the same time – have already saved more than 1.5 million miles being driven.   Here’s whats happening;

  • An Uber and Nissan tie-up for a further 100 fully electric vehicles which drivers using the Uber app will be able to rent at a rate competitive with most popular hybrid cars. The Nissan Leafs have all been manufactured at Nissan’s UK plant in Sunderland and the first of these cars will be delivered to Uber rental partners next week.
  • Plans for a network of Uber-branded rapid chargers to be installed in central London which will initially be dedicated for use by drivers who use the Uber app.
  • Changes to the Uber app which will allow drivers using a fully electric car who need to charge their vehicle to get trips which take them near to a rapid charging point.

  This follows a study by Energy Saving Trust of a trial of 50 electric vehicles which we launched last September. The report by EST finds that:

  • In just three months more than 35,000 riders took trips in a fully electric car in London through the Uber app;
  • Drivers who were using fully electric vehicles saved more than half a metric tonne of NOx and 22 metric tonnes of CO2 during the course of the trial compared to a hybrid car;
  • For 70 per cent of participating drivers the trial was their first experience of driving a fully electric vehicle and 85 per cent were pleased to have taken part.

  However, the report also found that:

  • Drivers taking part in the trial were hampered by the severe lack of rapid chargers in central London – there are only three publicly available in the centre of London;
  • Even with chargers closer to their homes, many drivers reported a lack of reliable availability with some even having to get up in the middle of the night to use the charger when it was unoccupied;
  • Many drivers also struggled to make the economics of an electric private hire vehicle work – with the money saved from running their car on electricity rather than fuel not matching the amount of time lost struggling to find a suitable charging point.

  Jo Bertram, Regional General Manager of Uber in the UK, said: “We believe that new technology can help tackle the challenge of air pollution in the capital. Londoners already associate Uber with hybrid cars, but we want to go even further with more drivers switching to fully electric ones. “Our vision is for mass adoption of fully electric cars as private hire vehicles but there are some really big challenges we need to overcome. Charging cars can be costly for drivers and there’s a serious lack of rapid charging points in central London. We hope the Mayor’s forthcoming transport strategy will lead to more chargers which private hire drivers can use. In the meantime we’re determined to make progress with a further 100 Nissan Leafs and plans for a network of chargers for drivers who use Uber. “The more we can help Londoners share their journeys, leave their own cars at home and go electric the better for the whole city.”   Andrew Benfield, Group Director of Transport, Energy Saving Trust, said: “The study uncovered that there is real potential for many more private hire drivers to use electric vehicles in London, delivering improvements to air quality and reducing carbon emissions. The study shows that, in the main, electric vehicles are popular with both drivers and passengers. “We also found that drivers want to see more rapid-charging options in London, as well as residential charging infrastructure to be able to re-charge overnight at or near home – the most convenient and cost-effective way of running an electric vehicle. “It’s encouraging that following the trial, Uber is increasing the number of electric vehicles available through its app and working with charge companies to get more rapid chargers onto London’s streets.”