In a bid to reduce pollution across the world’s cities, on-demand taxi service Uber has announced that it intends to make sure every Uber X car in its London network is either electric or 100 per cent hybrid by 2019. No drivers of diesel cars will be allowed to operate.
This is the first step in a bigger plan to extend the same rule to all Uber X cars across the UK by 2022. The company says that more than half the miles on Uber X journeys in London are already in hybrid or fully electric cars, but it wants to go much further than this, with every vehicle using the app in London to be electric in 2025, not just the cheaper Uber X rides.
In the coming weeks, a network of Uber-branded rapid chargers will be installed in central London, which will initially be dedicated for use by drivers of electric vehicles who use the Uber app.
As part of its greener cities initiative, Uber is launching a diesel scrappage scheme aimed at removing 1,000 of the most polluting cars from London’s roads. The first 1,000 people in London to scrap a pre-Euro 4 diesel vehicle and provide an official scrappage certificate will receive up to £1,500 of credit to spend on Uber or uberPOOL rides. Londoners can register their interest today here and will be able to apply through the scheme from next month (October 2017).
To help achieve this goal, Uber will create a dedicated Clean Air Fund to allow licensed drivers who use the app across the UK to access up to £5,000 towards the cost of upgrading their car to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. Over the life of the fund, it is expected that drivers will claim more than £150 million to help transition to a more eco-friendly car.
Where will it get the money for this fund? The answer is, passengers will pay. A 35p surcharge will be made to every ride booked in London until an initial amount of £2 million has been generated. An amount will also be added to rides in other UK cities in 2018.
Uber Pool trips, which see people sharing ride with strangers, will be excluded from the 35p tax. In London, more than 400,000 people regularly use Pool to travel from A to B.
When it comes to the effect of harmful emissions on climate change, however, cars and planes aren’t the worst offenders. If you have seen the film Cowspiracy, you will know it is actually livestock from industrial-scale farming.
Only 13 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are from the transport industry, while 51 per cent are from farm animals and their by-products. If you really want to save the world, Globetrender advocates eating less meat. But driving electric is cool too.