Uber to offer electric vehicles to London customers

The ride-sharing platform won't charge customers extra for using Uber Green, but journeys need to start in 'Zone 1'

Uber will start offering London customers the option to select an electric vehicle option when booking a trip in a bid to make the service more environmentally friendly.

Starting today, customers will be able to access electric vehicles through the Uber Green service if a car is available, with fares matching those made in other vehicles.

The only restriction is that an electric vehicle journey must begin in ‘Zone 1’ as designated by Transport for London (TfL).

"With cities beginning to open up once again, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive a green recovery by ensuring that every car on the Uber app in London is fully electric,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe.

"We continue to partner with drivers to help them make the switch to electric and today we are excited to start offering riders the option to select an electric vehicle at no extra cost, allowing everyone using Uber to play their part in cleaning up urban transport."

The launch of Uber Green in London follows an expansion in green policies in recent years as the firm attempts to make its core service more environmentally friendly.

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From January 2019, for example, the firm added 15p per mile to every journey in order to fund the rollout of a new fleet of electric cars. This has so far raised £125 million, which has helped expand the London fleet to 1,600 vehicles.

This still only represents around 4% of Uber’s total fleet in the capital, however, which means most users will struggle to secure an electric vehicle for their journey until more cars are added.

The company hopes to become a zero-emission platform by 2040, which would involve all its trips made with non-petrol vehicles.

Uber Green was rolled out to 15 US and Canadian cities in September 2020, but customers at the time were charged $1 more to use the service, with the fleet including hybrid vehicles. This was followed by a full rollout to 1,400 cities in January. 

However, London's service has no additional cost attached, and vehicles deployed are 100% electric.

Uber will be hoping to draw a line over a tumultuous few years which saw its operating licence revoked due to shortcomings on its platform.

Following a lengthy regulatory process, however, the ride-sharing service was finally deemed "fit and proper" to hold a licence after addressing alleged breaches that put passengers at risk, as well as various holes in its IT systems.

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