Uber is stumping up £5 million of its own cash to expand the public electric vehicle charging infrastructure available in London.
The £5 million from Uber will be targeted at some of the poorer London boroughs, where electric vehicle charging infrastructure lags behind the wealthier boroughs. The company is investing the cash to help persuade its drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles.
While £5 million sounds like a lot of money, Uber admits that it’s not nearly enough to actually address the imbalance in the EV charging infrastructure in the poorer boroughs. The company notes that boroughs such as Kensington and Westminster have a much higher proportion of chargers than in areas like Newham and Tower Hamlets. Uber wants to address this imbalance as its drivers are more likely to live in boroughs that lack sufficient EV charging infrastructure.
London has more EV chargers than just about anywhere else in the UK, with multiple networks providing varying different levels of charging. The only downside is that the capital’s charging infrastructure isn’t exactly cheap. Source London, the city’s largest EV charging network, is one of the most expensive in the UK, charging by the minute as opposed to the more common per kWh. It’s not known whether that pricing structure will remain now the company is owned by Total, however.
It’s not known how much Uber intends to charge its drivers for charging on its electric vehicle network, although the company admitted that the £5 million funding will be invested over the course of the next three years. That means Uber drivers may have to wait until 2023 before there is an Uber charging station near them.
Uber hopes that by 2025 all 45,000 cars on its app in London will be electric, despite the company currently boasting just 1,000. While this £5 million investment in public charging should help the company boost those numbers, the firm also struck a deal with Nissan earlier this year to provide 2,000 discounted Leaf electric vehicles to Uber drivers in London. It’s not yet known how many drivers have taken up the opportunity to buy one, however.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said, “Drivers consistently tell us that having reliable, accessible charging near where they live is a key factor when deciding if they should switch to electric.
“If we address this challenge for professional drivers now, it will help create a mass market for electric vehicles in the years to come. As we all know this is critical if the UK is to achieve our goal to be net zero.”