Uber spurs London drivers to go electric with free charging and grant funding packages

Drivers can use the £5,000 as a lump sum to purchase a new or used EV, or the cash can be put towards a rental or rent-to-buy scheme.

The grant is being funded through Uber’s Clean Air Plan. Launched in 2019, the initiative charged riders using petrol or diesel vehicles within the M25 a small fee, with proceeds ring-fenced.

The grant is available to drivers on top of the discounts already available to drivers through the PartnerPoint platform, whereby they can access up to £17,000 off of selected hybrid and pure-electric vehicles including several Kia models.

Uber is additionally set to offer drivers switching to an EV three months’ worth of free charging as part of a tie-up with charging point operators bp Pulse. This is equivalent to around £750 for the average driver – a cost that will be footed by Uber.

Once the three-month trial period is over, drivers will be able to use bp Pulse charging points at a discounted rate.

The bp Pulse partnership is in addition to a £5m investment by Uber into hundreds of publicly available charging points across the capital.

The enhanced incentive package will be available to drivers from Tuesday (21 May).

Affordability issue

Uber is emphasising how running an EV is now more affordable in London, with factors such as the Congestion Charge and Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) fee to consider in addition to higher petrol and diesel prices.

Nonetheless, there is a risk of EV uptake stalling, especially given the UK Government’s axing of the plug-in car grant.

Uber said in a statement that the additional benefits are intended to make EVs more affordable and charging more accessible for its high-mileage drivers. The business is notably aiming to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles from its London driver network by the end of 2025.

Uber’s general manager for the UK, Andrew Brem, said: “Now is the time to speed up on electrification, not slow down. We cannot reach our collective zero-emission goals without continued action from policymakers and investment across the industry. Uber drivers can be the catalyst for accelerating electrification across the transport sector but collaboration will be crucial to combat air pollution and work towards a more sustainable future.”

Earlier this year, Uber added a new in-app feature enabling riders to track the carbon emissions of their journeys, in a bid to nudge users to select zero-emission vehicles.

Related feature: Six top tips for adding EVs to your organisation’s fleet

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