Uber Goes Green
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“It’s our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change,” wrote Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber, as he unveiled plans to electrify the firm’s global fleet.
“During lockdown, blue skies replaced smog above city skylines. Pollution levels fell and wildlife returned,” Khosrowshahi continued. “The pandemic has caused many cities to rethink their infrastructure, transforming parking into parks and creating more space for walkers and cyclists. Instead of going back to business as usual, Uber is taking this moment as an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact.”
People across Europe are sick of pollution and congestion. It’s time for Europe’s mayors to show leadership.
William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment
Alongside the company’s 2030 commitment (2040 for the rest of the world), Uber has committed $800m to help drivers make the switch to an electric vehicle. The fund will include discounts for cars acquired from manufacturer partners, which include General Motors, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
There will also be discounts for charging, while there will be a $1 surcharge for customers who request a ‘green trip’, with drivers receiving extra income for every green trip completed.
Criticism of Uber and its rival has come thick and fast over the years, with environmental organisations and city officials alike condemning the ride-hailing industry for its contribution to pollution.
Recent research found that ride-hailing trips are approximately 69% more polluting than the trips they displace, as many rides are taken in place of less-polluting alternatives, such as walking or public transport.
Emissions per Trip-Mile (g CO2e)
Emissions from a typical ride-hailing trip (pooled 15% of the time) are about 69% higher than the average of the displaced trips it replaces. If ride-hailing companies increase pooling to 50% and convert to electric vehicles, they can reduce emissions by about 52% compared with the displaced trips.
Source: UCS METHODOLOGY ONLINE DOCUMENT, SECTION 5.
The initial response from environmental organisations has been a positive one, with William Todts, executive director of the campaign group Transport & Environment, hailing Uber’s commitment as good news.
“Now it’s time for Europe’s city mayors to show leadership,” he said. “We need all big cities in Europe to introduce zero-emission zones, new pop-up bike lanes and cycle-only corridors, while also providing easy access to charging at home, at work and wherever people park.
“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.”