A fleet of all-electric Nissan Leafs will be made available for Uber drivers in London as part of a new deal inked by the Japanese car maker and rideshare company Uber.
Signed as part of Uber’s Clean Air Plan – which adds an extra 15 pence a mile (about 48 Australian cents per kilometre) to London trips to assist drivers in switching to an electric car – some 2,000 Leafs will be made available under the plan.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the world’s most popular all-electric vehicles, and the Japanese car maker has sold more than 450,000 of the electric hatchbacks since its first release a decade ago.
The £200 million ($A395 million) Clean Air Plan was introduced in late 2018 by Uber to help tackle the UK capital’s astonishingly poor air quality, responsible for some 9,000 deaths a year according to a London city report.
Electric vehicles, in addition to improving carbon emissions as was shown in a recent paper published in Nature Sustainability from Dutch Radbound University and the University of Exeter, also assist in improving air quality by replacing fossil-fuelled vehicles that emit dangerous particulate matter and NOx pollution.
The reduction in NO2 pollution as roads are emptied and industry has halted due to Coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and China has been striking, pressing home the need to further speed the electric vehicle transition.
With some 6 million journeys made in greater London either as a passenger or a driver each and every day according to Transport for London, the potential to clear up the city’s air is huge.
There are some 45,000 drivers in London using the Uber app, and the deal between Nissan and Uber forms another step along Uber’s goal to reach 100% electric vehicles for its drivers from 2025.
“Our bold vision for London is for every driver on the Uber app to use an all-electric vehicle by 2025. The partnership with Nissan is a hugely significant step towards meeting this goal,” said Uber regional manager for northern and eastern Europe Jamie Heywood in a statement.
London introduced an “Ultra Low Emissions Zone” in April 2019 with the goal of improving London’s air quality by imposing a fee on high emissions vehicles for travel within the zone.
“The Mayor of London has shown strong leadership on measures relating to air quality and we’re proud to support him in delivering his vision.”
The agreement comes after Nissan provided 20 Leafs to Uber to trial making them avialable for hire through the rideshare company’s app in London in 2016.
“Through innovation and collaboration, companies like Nissan and Uber can tackle the challenges of advancing personal urban mobility, whilst also improving air quality in our major cities.
As the UK’s best-selling EV, the Nissan LEAF is the perfect vehicle to support Uber’s ambition of a 100% electric fleet in London for 2025,” said Nissan UK managing director Andrew Humbverstone in a statement.
“Not only will passengers enjoy the quieter ride that comes from all-electric driving, but cyclists, pedestrians and other road users will also benefit from the zero-emissions powertrain.”
Since the introduction of the Clean Air Plan, Uber estimates that the number of rideshare journeys made in electric vehicles increased by 350% from the previous year, reaching some 900,000 journeys in total.
To meet the increasing demand for charging more electric vehicles, Transport for London has installed more than 1,000 electric car charging points in the last 12 months.
One project to install “hidden” electric car chargers in street lamps in the central London borough of Westminster recently saw one whole street of lamp posts converted by Siemens and charging solutions provider ubitricity.
The deal with Uber will see Nissan also assist Uber drivers with an EV education plan, transaction price and marketing plan to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.