London has one of the highest concentrations of EV charge points among major European cities. However, until now, investment in electric infrastructure has been focused on more affluent areas. This has posed an issue for ride-hailing giant, Uber. They have acknowledged the lack of charging facilities in lower income areas, which is where their drivers spend most of their time.
In response, Uber plans to invest more than £5m in rolling out public EV charging in London’s less affluent areas. This latest scheme is aimed at encouraging more drivers to make the switch to zero emissions vehicles. Uber hope the investment will help remedy a geographical imbalance in charge point infrastructure across the capital that it is preventing drivers from adopting EVs. Their own research shows that more affluent boroughs such as Westminster or Kensington and Chelsea have the highest numbers of EV charge points in London.
Announced at the London Infrastructure Summit, Uber said it would invest £5m before 2023 in charge point infrastructure in areas where access to charge points is more limited. The investment forms part of the ride-hailing firm’s target to operate an all-electric vehicle fleet in European cities by 2040. Uber hopes that, by 2025, all 45,000 cars on its app in London will be electric, a significant mark up from the 1,000 EVs it has driving in the city today.
The firm has added 15 pence a mile to all trips in the capital since 2018 to support investments that can help its drivers transition away from fossil fuel cars, and in March struck a deal with Nissan to purchase 2,000 all-electric Nissan Leaf vehicles for London drivers.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, 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.”
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