Uber to fund 700 EV charging point installations across London

Ride-hailing giant Uber has pledged £5m investment in the delivery of electric vehicle (EV) chargers across London - an amount that should support the installation of 700 rapid chargers.

Uber to fund 700 EV charging point installations across London

Uber is aiming to switch all of its London drivers to EVs by 2025

The business announced the investment today (10 March), confirming that the charging points will all be on-street and will be delivered across the London boroughs of Newham, Brent and Redbridge. Uber claims that 700 charging points will represent a 7% increase in the capital’s rapid charger stock.

There are currently more than 5,000 Uber drivers in greater London using EVs. The chargers will be publicly available, meaning that they will be open to the general public as well as to Uber’s drivers.

Commenting on the benefit to Uber drivers, the firm’s general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood said: “Drivers often tell me that being able to access reliable charging near their homes is critical to their decision to switch to an EV. By targeting investment where it is most needed, we are confident that thousands more drivers will make the switch to electric, allowing them to benefit from lower running costs and higher earnings on Uber.”

Uber is notably working to be a zero-emissions platform by 2040. In the UK specifically, it is targeting a fully electric fleet by 2030. The deadline is five years sooner for London, in 2025. This is partly due to the implementation and planned growth of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). London drivers are being offered an incentive for every EV trip they make.

Nonetheless, Uber’s hope is to drive change beyond the vehicles used by its own drivers. It is working with the three borough councils to install the chargers in a way that maximises access for those who do not have off-street parking for EV charging at home.

According to EV charging network Pod Point, one-third of car owners in the UK do not have access to off-street parking at home or at work. On-street charging installations have, according to Zap-Map, been higher in London than in any other part of the UK. However, there are still discrepancies between boroughs, with Westminster, Wandsworth and Kensington & Chelsea being the best-served and Redbridge being the worst-served.

Multiple modes of electric transport

For Uber, the announcement on EV chargers comes shortly after confirmation was given for the addition of two new hybrid passenger ferries to the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers fleet.

The ferries will begin operating in autumn and will be capable of running using electric propulsion or using biofuel, on a powertrain system made by Danfoss Editron and Spears Trident. Operators have committed to only using the electric mode within central London.

Each ferry will be able to carry up to 230 passengers at a time. They run a route along the Thames between Woolwich in the East and Putney Pier in the West.

In other low-carbon transport news, subscription service Onto has added 700 Corsa-e and Mokka-e vehicles to its platform as part of a partnership with Vauxhall.

Onto enables customers to rent EVs by the month, in packages that also include insurance, service, maintenance and public charging. It now has more than 5,500 EVs on its books.

Vauxhall has notably committed to offering an electric variety of each of its models by 2024 and to end the sale of new petrol and diesel models by 2028.

“Our aim is to democratise access to electric vehicles, so partnering with Onto is a great way for more drivers to be able to experience the benefits of driving electric,” said Vauxhall managing director Paul Willcox.

45-Minute Masterclass: Electrifying your business fleet

Registration is now open for edie’s next free Masterclass, which is taking place on 29 March and will outline how businesses can integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into their fleets as they work to decarbonise.

This 45-minute online Masterclass is hosted in association with E.ON. It will take place at 1pm on Tuesday 29 March and will help businesses to formulate and deliver ambitious plans to reduce emissions from their fleets. Click here for a full agenda and to register. 

Sarah George

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