Ride-hailing company Uber has partnered with Nissan and Chinese automaker BYD, to give drivers easier access to all-electric vehicles in London. The program will start with 50 electric vehicles and could expand to hundreds more in preparation of strict emissions laws in the capital’s urban center.
Uber also plans to introduce an electric vehicle program in at least one other UK city this fall.
The program will begin with 20 all-electric Nissan Leaf vehicles and 30 BYD E6 small sport utility vehicles. Top-rated Uber drivers will be allowed to lease the vehicles at the lowest rental rates for other private hire cars in the market, a company spokesman said in an email. Those low rates will be available for the duration of a three-month study that aims to assess the effectiveness of the program. Uber will decide on next steps after the study is complete.
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“People already associate Uber with hybrid cars, but we now want to go a big step further with fully electric cars on the road from today,” Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said in a statement. “We are determined to use technology to help tackle the challenge of air pollution in London and across the UK.”
Uber already has thousands of hybrid vehicles on the road in London. Nearly 60% of Uber rides in London are made in hybrid vehicles, according to the company. But Uber says it’s interested in identifying the environmental and economic benefits of having all-electric vehicles in London before the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone goes into effect in 2020. All cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses within this zone will have to pay a fee to travel within this special zone unless they meet certain emissions requirements.
Uber just poached a Target executive: