Uber to scrap all diesel and petrol vehicles by 2022

Uber is adding a 35p green fee charge to all rides in London to facilitate a £150m funding pot that enables all drivers to transition to electric vehicles by 2022.

The company announced today (8 September) that its drivers would be banned from using vehicles in London that aren’t fully electric or hybrid from the end of 2019, as part of a 100% transition to electric vehicles (EVs) across the UK by the end of 2022.

In order to help drivers switch to EVs, Uber has created a dedicated Clean Air Fund to allow drivers on the app to access up to £5,000 to help with the vehicle exchange process. In total, Uber expects drivers to claim more than £150m.

The company’s head of UK cities Fred Jones described air pollution as a “growing problem” but reiterated that Uber was “determined to play [it’s] part in tackling it”.

According to Uber, more than half the miles on uberX journeys – which seat up to four passengers – in London are already in hybrids or EVs. The company wants every vehicle using the app in London to be electric in 2025.

Uber is also launching a diesel scrappage scheme to remove 1,000 of the most polluting vehicles in London. Anyone who applies to the scrappage scheme must have a pre-Euro 4 standard diesel vehicle and will receive up to £1,500 of credit to spend on Uber or UberPOOL, the company’s ride sharing app with other users.

It is estimated that more than 400,000 people use UberPOOL and those using the service will be exempt from the 35p charge. Uber will roll-out the Clean Air Fund next month with a £2m investment. An undisclosed amount will also be added to rides in other UK cities over the next year.

Commenting on the announcement, WWF’s climate change specialist James Beard said: “This is a much-needed step from Uber which will aid London’s air quality. But to help reduce preventable deaths from air pollution this needs to be widened beyond Uber and beyond London. Other companies and organisations need to follow.

“But pollution from cars is as much about climate change as it is about air quality. To bring down our carbon emissions, and achieve our Paris Agreement goals, companies and the UK Government need to move beyond conventional hybrids, which offer limited benefits, and focus on plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles.”

EV app-etite

Uber joins the likes of Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in committing to a phase-out of diesel and petrol vehicles. Volvo will stop the production of diesel and petrol vehicles from 2019, while JLR will stop production of these vehicles a year later.

The phase-out of more polluting vehicles, and subsequent uptake of EVs, has led to concerns that the UK’s charging infrastructure isn’t primed to cope with increased demand.

Uber recently announced that an additional 100 Nissan LEAFs will join the 50 EVs already used by the sharing economy app on London roads. At the time, Uber attempted to incentivise drivers to use EVs by offering dedicated charging points through a construction partnership with Nissan.

Matt Mace

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