London’s Uber drivers must use fully electric or hybrid cars from 2020

Uber have announced that from 2020, its drivers in London must use only fully electric or hybrid cars.

The move is part of the car-hailing firm’s plan to help tackle air pollution across the United Kingdom.

Uber drivers - Nissan LEAF in LondonUber drivers who wish to upgrade to a greener car such as the Nissan LEAF may be eligible for financial help. Image: Nissan

Uber’s Clean Air Plan comprises a number of measures for Uber drivers, passengers, and cities in the UK.

“The air quality in our cities is a growing problem,” says Fred Jones, Head of Cities for Uber UK.

‘No diesel vehicles’

All cars available for hire in London through UberX will be hybrid or fully electric by the end of 2019, with “no diesel vehicles on the app,” says Jones.

Uber say that they will apply the same standard to the rest of the UK by the end of 2022.

The firm intends to push the green revolution even further, “with a goal for every vehicle using the app in London to be electric in 2025,” notes Jones.

Uber say that, already, more than half the UberX journey miles travelled in London are in hybrid or fully electric cars.

Diesel scrappage scheme

The initiative includes a diesel scrappage scheme to help take some of London’s most polluting cars off the road.

The scheme offers up to £1,500 of credit to spend on Uber or uberPOOL rides to the first 1,000 people who scrap a pre-Euro 4 diesel vehicle.

Euro 4 (EC2005) emission standards applies to all cars registered from 1 January 2006. There are different emissions criteria for petrol and diesel cars.

Cash incentives to upgrade

Licensed Uber drivers who use the app across the UK will also be able to apply for up to £5,000 toward the cost of upgrading their vehicle to a fully electric or hybrid.

Over time, the Clean Air Plan will make over £150 million available to Uber drivers who wish to upgrade to a greener car.

The firm says it is prepared to help Uber drivers to upgrade to most models of hybrid and electric cars that meet the size requirement of UberX. The examples they give include: Ford Mondeo Hybrid, Hyundai IONIQ, Hyundai IONIQ EV, Nissan LEAF, Toyota Auris, and Toyota Prius.

Ride surcharges to pay for fund

To pay for the fund, Uber are injecting £2 million up front, and then, from next month, they will charge an extra 35p per ride taken through the app in London.

Jones says that “every penny” of the extra 35p will be put into the “ring-fenced fund.” From next year, rides taken in other cities will also carry an extra amount for the same reason.

The 35p surcharge will not apply UberPOOL users, as by ride-sharing they are already helping to cut pollution.

In London, there are more than 40,000 licensed Uber drivers and an estimated 400,000 people who regularly use UberPOOL.