Uber is aiming for 50 per cent of rides to be in emissions-free vehicles by 2025 it announced today. Responding to an 11-month #TrueCostOfUber campaign by campaign group Transport & Environment and seven NGO partners, Uber pledged to offer 50 per cent of rides in electric vehicles in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris, and aiming for 100 per cent by 2030.

The NGOs including the Sierra Club, Nabu, Respire, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Les Chercheurs d’Air, SumOfUs, Ecodes and Zero say that Uber’s EV commitment in Europe “will save approximately 500,000 tonnes of climate-wrecking carbon dioxide emissions. This is equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions of 275,000 privately-owned cars from the roads”.

“People across Europe are sick of pollution and congestion. 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,” said William Todts, executive director of the European NGO Transport & Environment.

Uber also committed to go 100 per cent electric within five years of “having the economic and regulatory conditions to make driving all-electric cars as profitable as dirty combustion engine cars”.

Uber said it would take “four key actions’

Expand Uber Green to make it easier for riders to choose to travel in hybrids or EVs.

Launching in 15 US and Canadian cities, this gives users the option of paying $1 extra to request (and get) a ride in an EV or hybrid vehicle. Uber says by the end of the year, Uber Green will be available in more than 65 cities globally. Those uusing Uber Green will receive 3x Uber Rewards points for every trip taken, compared to 2x points for a typical UberX ride.

Commit $800 million in resources to help hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to EVs by 2025.

The resources mentioned here come in different forms. Firstly, in the U.S and Canada, drivers who drive hybrid and electric vehicles will receive an extra $0.50 directly from the rider on every Uber Green trip completed and those using a zero-emission vehicle (a battery EV) will receive an additional $1.00 for every trip they complete in the US and Canada. This means that battery EV drivers will receive both incentives – a total of $1.50 extra – for every Uber Green trip they complete.

Uber says it is also “teaming up with vehicle manufacturers, charging network providers, and EV rental and fleet companies to provide millions of dollars in EV savings to drivers around the world”. This means “working with leading electric carmakers to extend attractive offers on electric vehicles to drivers: GM in the US and Canada, and Renault-Nissan across European cities in the UK, France, Netherlands, and Portugal.”

Uber says it has worked with government stakeholders. In 2019, its London drivers completed more than one million journeys in electric vehicles. It has released a white paper “that outlines a road map for partnering with public and private leaders in major EU cities to achieve 100 per cent all-electric on-demand mobility.” It can be downloaded at this link Working Together

Invest in its multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to personal cars. 

The multimodal network aims to “provide sustainable alternatives to the personal car” and includes integrating with Lime to offer  bikes and scooters in the app wherever possible; expanding shared rides where Uber Pool is available; have public transit partnerships with journey planning available in 40 cities by the end of 2020 allowing riders to “choose their destination and see pricing options, real-time schedules, and walking directions to and from transit stations”. In 10 cities there is in-app ticketing allowing people to buy and use transit passes directly in the Uber app.

Be transparent and accountable

The company has released its first Sustainability Report “detailing climate-related impacts of passenger trips on the Uber app”.

Transport & Environment says that in Europe electric cars emit, on average, almost three times less carbon emissions than equivalent petrol or diesel cars and as electricity generation becomes cleaner as a result of renewable power, this will mean electric cars will becomes cleaner.

The move makes sense for Uber drivers because although electric cars are expensive to buy they are cheaper to run, so Uber drivers see the benefit because they drive on average four-to-five times more than private motorists.

Transport represents more than a quarter (27 per cent) of the Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions, with cars in the EU27 emitting 45 per cent of all transport carbon emissions.

The campaign group says that to meet the EU’s legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the EU bloc will need at least 40 per cent of new cars to be emissions-free in 2030, and will need to sell the last combustion engine car by 2035 at the latest.