Uber is an app-driven ride-hailing service that allows drivers to use their own vehicles to pick up passengers at an affordable rate. Not only does it provide passengers with a convenient way to get around congested cities, it also offers vehicle owners an opportunity to make money by using their own car.
Today, the ever-growing Uber brand, initially a basic taxi service but considerably larger and more diverse now, is now offering a Green option. Unfortunately for the company, it has not all been plain sailing. Londoners in 2019 for example, were not at all happy when Uber added a ‘Clean Air Plan’ 15p per mile surcharge to help their drivers purchase electric cars, thus doing their part to lower emissions and take diesel-powered vehicles off the road. Since then, of course, the brand has fallen foul of, and are in dispute with, the Transport for London umbrella organisation and are only currently operating in the city while they appeal the TfL decision to ban them. That hasn’t stopped the company from promoting a new green initiative globally.
Making The Green Taxi Viable
In the effort to cut city emissions private car users are encouraged to go green by way of additional fees for polluting vehicles to enter cities. In an alternative vein, commercial users like taxi drivers, are being encouraged to embrace the green automotive future by way of initiatives.
For example, Uber has teamed up with several leading home charging suppliers to provide more affordable charging options to Uber drivers enabling them to charge their car efficiently at home, including the use of the latest ev charging cables. They are also cooperating with other interested parties on ways to improve London’s charging infrastructure, so it’s not quite over in London for Uber yet. The service has proved very popular so users will have to wait and see.
The Green Ride
In the interim, as the final decision on Uber’s future in London is awaited, the company has signed a deal with Nissan for up to 2,000 of the very good Leaf BEV’s to be made available to drivers to encourage the take-up of zero-emission vehicles for their work. Uber wants to be an all-electric in London by 2025 and is working toward that goal in cities around the globe.
Their stated goal is to not only shift to the use of electric vehicles but also to encourage ride-sharing. The company has said that by helping more people to move utilising fewer, fuller, and more efficient cars, they will help save fuel, improve air quality, and increase a transportation system’s efficiency with each trip. Just what our cities need and something that will no doubt be welcomed by residents, cyclists and pedestrians too.
Many technology companies have become famous for adopting a growth-at-all-costs strategy. Some succeed and some fail and other app-driven taxi services have had mixed results. The Uber brand certainly continues to be active in some cities of the world yet has also fallen foul of regulations in others.
What is clear is that the structure of transport in our major urban conurbations is changing. We are seeing a growth in electric vehicle sales to private users who can charge their battery electric vehicles quickly using a home ev charger. We have also seen an increase in the use of electric power in commercial vehicles and, more recently, public service vehicles like coaches and taxis.
So it seems that individual urban mobility will become dependent on services like those provided by Uber but there has to be a cohesive plan and that means a wide and widely-available charging infrastructure, and also for city officials to get to grips with private enterprise if we really want a clean green automotive environment.