Uber pledges £5m toward electric vehicle charging points in London, focusing on poorer boroughs in an effort to convince its drivers to switch to electric cars.
The capital is currently host to approximately 25 percent of all electric vehicle chargers in the UK and, according to Uber’s analysis, the concentration of chargers is far higher in London's affluent boroughs, such as Kensington and Westminster, than in the areas where its drivers more typically live.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said the £5m ($6.5m) funding would be invested by 2023 in areas that lack the charging infrastructure they need to support electric vehicles, with the firm looking to work with the borough councils in Newham, Brent and Tower Hamlets to decide how it should be spent.
He said: “Drivers consistently tell us that having reliable, accessible charging near where they live is a key factor when deciding if they should switch to electric. If we address this challenge for professional drivers now, it will help create a mass market for electric vehicles in the years to come. As we all know this is critical if the UK is to achieve our goal to be net zero.”
Only about 1,000 Uber vehicles in London are fully electric - a long way short of the firm’s pledge that all 45,000 cars on its app in the capital should be electric by 2025. So, putting chargers where their drivers need them, together with striking deals like the one with Nissan earlier this year to supply 2,000 discounted Leafs for London drivers, should speed up Uber's ability to meet its pledge.
Uber is sitting on a fund of more than £100m raised through its self-imposed clean air fee in London, designed to help drivers transition to electric cars. The 15p per mile levy on passengers was announced in 2018 as Uber attempted to restore its battered corporate image, after Transport for London refused it a licence.
Magistrates again granted a licence for Uber to continue operating in London last month after a court ruled it “no longer posed a risk”, a year after Transport for London refused for a second time to extend its licence over safety concerns.