Uber plans to go green

09 September 2020

9 September 2020

Instead of returning to internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles, Uber is taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as an opportunity to go green.

To achieve this, the mobility platform will work with the likes of the World Resources Institute and Transport and Environment (T&E), as well as OEMs Renault and Nissan. It is hoped that these ties will enable Uber to join the fight against climate change, by leveraging innovation, technology, and talent to accelerate the global transition to clean energy.

Green recovery

In a post shared on Uber’s website this week, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, confirmed he wanted the company to make a green COVID-19 comeback. ‘Instead of going back to business as usual, Uber is taking this moment as an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact,’ he said. ‘It’s our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change. We want to do our part to build back better and drive a green recovery in our cities.’

So, by 2025, 50% of kilometres driven on the platform across seven European capitals (Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris) will be in electric vehicles (EVs). By the end of 2021, riders will be able to select a zero-emission vehicle in cities representing 80% of Uber’s European business.

Then, by 2030, the platform wants 100% of rides to take place in EVs in US, Canadian, and European cities. Afterwards, Uber plans to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040. This means rides taking place in emission-free vehicles, on public transport or with micro-mobility.

Uber has said that it will take four key-actions to achieve its targets. First, it plans to expand its app’s green option, to make it easier for customers to travel in hybrids or EVs. Secondly, the company is committing $800 million (€680 million) in resources to help drivers transition to EVs by 2025. Thirdly, Uber will invest in its multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to personal cars. Lastly, it pledges to be transparent and accountable to the public during its electric transformation.

T&E campaign

Environmental campaign group T&E took the opportunity to claim a victory after they carried out an 11-month campaign, alongside seven NGO partners, which urged the platform to ditch its older vehicles in favour of EVs. The environmental group calculated that approximately 500,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved in Europe. This is equivalent to taking some 275,000 privately-owned cars off the road.

‘People across Europe are sick of pollution and congestion,’ said William Todts, executive director of T&E. ‘Shared electric mobility is key to solving these problems. And the right place to start is with high-mileage drivers who'll benefit first from cheaper-to-run, clean electric vehicles.’

Relationship with Renault

To achieve its electric dreams, Uber has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Renault and Nissan. Partner drivers of the mobility app will be provided with affordable EVs in European markets, such as the UK, France, the Netherlands and Portugal. Featured models will include the Renault ZOE and Nissan Leaf, as well as upcoming EVs from both companies.

A UK pilot between Nissan and Uber will be extended to France by the end of 2020. The mobility company is committing to phase out diesel-powered cars in France in 2024, as well as making half its fleet electric within five years.

There is also the potential to introduce the program to the Netherlands, Portugal, and other markets later on. Joint marketing and education plans will be launched to promote EV offers and benefits to partner drivers, including the offer of test drives.

‘This MoU with Uber is an acknowledgement of our ability to conquest new markets and to support professionals in their energy transition,’ said Gilles Normand, SVP of electric vehicles and mobility services at Renault.

‘Today, we capitalise on our competitive advantage: an attractive EV offer that contributes to large scale electric mobility roll-out. We have worked closely with local authorities over the past years to propose solutions to the growing challenges facing cities: transportation, decarbonisation and air quality. With the signature of this MoU we aim to join our forces to accelerate the movement,’ he added.