Uber Investing $260 Million to Help Its Drivers Switch to Electric Cars

Some riders in the UK will also be paying a per-mile fee to aide the technology switch.

byRob Stumpf|
Uber Investing $260 Million to Help Its Drivers Switch to Electric Cars

Uber plans to invest $260 million (200 million British Pound Sterling) in its London drivers in order to combat pollution and drive innovation, reports Reuters. The ridesharing company announced its plan on Tuesday which it believes will persuade as many as 20,000 U.K.-based drivers to move into electric cars by 2021.

The move is in preparation for London's upcoming regulations aimed at cleaning up the pollution in the city, which includes phasing out gas and diesel vehicles. Uber hopes to move all of its vehicle offerings in London to electric-only by 2025, and to do that it will invest heavily in its drivers through increased reimbursement and programs aimed to enable easier access to charging infrastructure.

In addition to the money being paid out by Uber directly, the company will also begin charging consumers a $0.20 per mile (15 pence) "clean air fee" for trips booked within London's city limits. Only one cent of the fee will be dedicated to funding the incentive.

"A driver using the app for an average of 40 hours per week could expect around £3,000 of support towards an EV in two years' time and £4,500 in three years," said Uber in a statement, translating to around $3,900 and $5,800 for drivers, respectively.

Uber expects a total of 20,000 drivers to upgrade from traditional gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles to electric as early as 2021 and hopes to fully transition to electric-only in the capital as early as 2025. Earlier this year, London's mayor announced a daily fee of $16 (12.50 GBP) which will begin in April 2019 for any driver of older fossil-fuel powered cars, ahead of the U.K.'s proposed ban on the internal combustion engine in 2040. This cost will be placed on top of the $15 (11.50 GBP) "congestion charge" that drivers are already charged to enter the city's center.

For riders, Uber will also offer an incentive to help clean the streets. The ridesharing company will offer up to $1,950 (1,500 GBP) in credits to the first 1,000 Londoners who scrap their diesel vehicles which redate the Euro 4 emissions standard. Recently, Uber has also announced incentives and funding to help move citizens away from traditional transportation in an attempt to further expand its service offerings beyond just ridesharing.

"The mayor of London has set out a bold vision to tackle air pollution in the capital and we're determined to do everything we can to back it," said Uber's Chief Executive, Dara Khosrowshahi. "Our £200 million Clean Air Plan is a long-term investment in the future of London aimed at going all electric in the capital in 2025. Over time, it's our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options — whether cars, bikes, scooters or public transport — all in the Uber app."