Guest blog: How Uber is supporting the transition to Electric Vehicles
The future of road transport is electric and shared. Encouraging the mass transition to electric vehicles has wide-ranging benefits: including lower running costs for drivers and reduced pollution and cleaner air for us all.
As local and national policies help incentivise the move away from fossil fuelled vehicles there are promising signs that the transition to EVs is picking up pace. In 2021, more EVs were registered in the UK than in the entire 2015-20 period.
This is a trend we’ve sought to accelerate and encourage at Uber. Professional drivers who use technology like ours are the early mass adopters of EVs. More than 90% of new vehicles joining the Uber app are now fully electric, compared to 12% of new vehicles in the mass market.
Two key points are vital when it comes to helping drivers switch to EVs. First is affordability: there needs to be a healthy second-hand EV market or financial incentives to close the gap with petrol and diesel equivalents. The second is reliability and availability of charging infrastructure.
Financial support and affordability
We’ve been addressing this first point through our Clean Air Plan, which we launched three years ago and has accumulated over £145 million to help drivers cover the cost of switching to an EV.
This approach is working, especially when combined with the progressive policy framework we see in London. More than 5,000 EVs are currently on the app in London, driving over one million electric miles per week. This is on track to double by the end of the year, and we are committed to becoming an all-electric platform in London by 2025.
Plugging the gaps
The mass transition to EVs will only continue if the rollout of chargers can keep up. As more drivers make the switch, we consistently hear about the challenges they face finding reliable charging points close to where they live.
In London, the boroughs with the highest number of chargers are generally those where drivers initially switched to EVs. These were often drivers living in central and west London.
TfL’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy identifies several boroughs where there is a pressing need to build more charging points to enable all drivers to make the switch to electric. It highlights the importance of improving access to on-street charging points for the many Londoners who do not have access to their own driveway.
Earlier this month, Uber announced £5 million to help build over 700 fast-chargers in three boroughs: Brent, Newham and Redbridge. These are areas where many drivers who use the Uber App live and where we know demand for improved charging infrastructure is particularly high. The chargers will be available for everyone in the community to use.
By installing chargers near to where high mileage drivers live, we can accelerate EV adoption and generate an outsized environmental impact. And if we make it easy for high-mileage drivers to switch to an EV - like those driving on Uber - we will be building the infrastructure that allows everyone else to follow.
This investment won’t solve London’s charging needs by itself - but it does set out a model for how private companies can work with the public sector to drive EV adoption. This is the first time that boroughs have worked with a ride-hailing company to directly install chargers on London’s streets.
By incentivising and facilitating a wider shift to EVs, Uber and its partners across the three boroughs are aiming to tackle air pollution for all local residents. We also hope to share learnings with other local authorities on how private companies and the public sector can collaborate to drive positive change in communities across the country.
Rebecca Jeffrey - Electrification Lead at Uber as a part of techUK's Future of Mobility Campaign Week
To read more from Future of Mobility Campaign Week check out our landing page here.
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