Uber is taking on air pollution in London with an unconventional solution for a private company that would see all vehicles used in the app go electric by 2025. Uber is adding a ‘clean air fee’ to all routes in London that will be used to support Uber drivers across London to upgrade to an electric vehicle.
The fee under consideration would be around 15p per mile for all Uber fares booked in and around London. The fee would cost passengers an estimated 45p | 60 cents per trip, on average, and would add up to a whopping £200 | $260 million USD over the next few years, according to Uber.
On the back end, Uber will use proceeds from the new fee to give drivers a financial incentive to help them switch over to an electric car. The amount each driver gets is based on how much they drive on the app.
Uber gave the example of a driver working more than 40 hours per week for the service would receive an additional £1,500 | $1,950 USD per year. Uber hopes to give the cash bonuses to 20,000 of the 40,000 Uber drivers working in the city in order to get them to switch to electric vehicles by 2021. That amounts to a whopping £23 million | $30 million USD Uber would be doling out to its drivers across London per year.
Uber’s chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi said that the new electric vehicle fee would be “a long-term investment in the future of London aimed at going all electric in the capital in 2025.”
Uber’s push to support its drivers to drive electric comes on the heels of the UK government’s decision to slash subsidies for green cars. The rebate for plug-in hybrids will be eliminated, while the rebate for a battery electric vehicle will shrink from £4,500 to £3,500 on November 9th.
Enabling drivers to switch to electric is more than just putting cash into their hands, as Uber is also working to beef up the fast charging network in the city. Those are the stations that the more than 20,000 Uber drivers running around in electric vehicles will need to support their full-time driving. Uber has partnered with ChargePoint to provide access to a number of DC fast chargers in central London and has plans to expand beyond that.
Uber is also working with others in the charging industry to improve upon the existing charging network. To do this, it is leveraging anonymous charging data to better understand the usage habits of drivers as the foundation for plans for future stations.
The new fees are an innovative way for Uber to effectively levy a carbon tax on customers that it can then use to subsidize driving electric for its growing fleet of drivers. It smells like progress and an example of how private companies can leverage their reach and customer base to initiate meaningful change across a city as large as London.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
EV Obsession Daily!
Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.