8 September 2017

Uber to make London drivers use only hybrid or all-electric cars and sets up a ‘green tax’ for users

In an attempt to help tackle air pollution in London, the pioneer ride-hailing company Uber announced that by 2020, all its drivers should use hybrid or fully electric cars as part of its Clean Air Plan to help mitigate air pollution levels in the UK capital.

Despite Toyota Prius being directly associated to Uber, the company revealed that fewer than 50 per cent of its London UberX drivers have a hybrid or electric car.

Uber pledged to increase this rate to 100 per cent in just three years, banning all diesel-fuelled cars on the app, including UberXL for large cars.

For other UK cities, where less electric Uber cars operate already, the 100 percent goal is set for 2022, giving an extra two adaptation years.

The ride-hailing service also announced its long-term plans, by stating that by 2025, it will require all Uber drivers operating in London to be equipped with fully electric or plug-in hybrids.

According to the company, London has been given priority in the launching of air pollution mitigation plans, because the city faces a severe challenge from air pollution and toxic vehicle emissions, allegedly causing nearly 9,500 deaths per year.

Fred Jones, Uber’s head of UK cities, said: “Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it with this bold plan”.

Mr Jones also explained that the 40,000 licensed London drivers will receive financial assistance to facilitate the switch, with grants of up to £5,000 towards hybrid or fully electric cars.

Uber will provide £2 million towards the initiative, but users of the app will also contribute to the switch, through a 35p surcharge imposed on all trips realised in London from this October onwards.

The contributions from the users will be going towards a £150 fund, which is expected to help finance the switch.

UberPool, which encourages riders to share their journeys, will be excluded from the ‘green tax’.

Uber announced that it will launch a scrappage scheme, where the first 1,000 Londoners, who own pre-Euro 4 diesel cars released before 2005, will be offered £1,500 credit in the app in exchange to their old cars.

According to Evening Standard, a spokesman of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, welcomed the initiative.

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