Uber’s announcement over the weekend to transition its entire London fleet to zero emission capable hybrid or all-electric vehicles by 2020 is as ambitious as it innovative.
The ride-sharing company’s plan comes as part of a move to tackle illegal levels of air pollution within the UK capital.
Uber’s head of UK cities Fred Jones said the move was an important step in taking air quality issues throughout London.
“Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it with this bold plan.”
Long term the US company has said that all London vehicles will need to be electric or a plug-in hybrid by 2025, with Uber planning to provide financial assistance to encourage licensed drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles.
Grants of up to £5,000 for a hybrid or fully EV vehicle will be provided, with £2m of funding coming from Uber directly. But end users will also feel the pain, with a 35 pence surcharge coming to London from October onwards.
The moves come as the British government enforces national obligations for businesses and individuals to go green in a bid to curb pollution throughout the UK. Dirty air from vehicles has been linked to almost 9,500 death annually within London.
There has been no official word from Uber if these plans will extend beyond Europe to its US base or here to Australia. However practical leadership from Uber is unlikely to occur without those territories without stricter government legislation, reforms and incentives.