California-based rideshare darling Uber Technologies has announced plans to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with an interim goal of 100% of all rides in the US, Canada, and Europe taking place in EVs by 2030.
Pushed by the rollicking hell which is 2020 – including the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the wildfires raging through its home state of California – Uber has followed hot on the heels of rideshare peer Lyft in announcing plans to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040.
Uber will ensure that 100% of all rides take place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micromobility, by 2040.
Moreover, they have set an interim target which will see 100% of all rides take place in EVs across the United States, Canada, and Europe, by 2030.
The company further boasts that “we believe we can achieve this 2030 goal in any major city where we can work with local stakeholders to implement policies that ensure a fair transition to EVs for drivers.”
Uber has also committed to reaching net-zero emissions across corporate operations by 2030 and will move to implement a holistic approach to reducing emissions, starting across four key actions:
- Expanding Uber Green to make it easier for riders to choose to travel in hybrids or EVs.
- Committing $800 million in resources to help hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to EVs by 2025.
- Investing in our multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to personal cars.
- Being transparent and accountable to the public along the way.
“The world is at a critical juncture, and we all have a role to play,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive officer. “Uber is aiming high. We’ll seek to build the most efficient, decarbonized, and multimodal platform in the world for on-demand mobility.
“While we’re not the first to set ambitious goals in transitioning to EVs, we intend to be the first to make it happen. Competing on sustainability is a win for the world, and today we challenge other mobility platforms to transparency, accountability, and more action.”
In a post entitled ‘Driving a Green Recovery’ on the Uber website, Dara Khosrowshahi pointed to the fact that, “during lockdown, blue skies replaced smog above city skylines. Pollution levels fell and wildlife returned.
The pandemic has caused many cities to rethink their infrastructure, transforming parking into parks and creating more space for walkers and cyclists.
“We’ve had a glimpse of what life could be like with less traffic and cleaner air—in cities built for people, not for cars,” he said.
Khosrowshahi quoted figures showing that, when two-thirds of the world’s population was under lockdown in early April, global carbon emissions fell by 17% as against 2019. However, by June, according to the figures quoted by Khosrowshahi, that drop was back to only 5%. “And the fires that continue to rage across our home state of California are a sobering reminder of the urgency of the climate crisis,” he added.
The move follows quickly, and not at all surprisingly, after American ridesharing company Lyft announced in June its own plans to, by 2030, ensure that 100% of all vehicles driving on the Lyft platform will be EVs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies around the world, caused unimaginable heartbreak, loss and stress, and wreaked havoc on businesses large and small, including here at Lyft,” the company wrote in June.
“Yet amidst these extraordinary challenges, one thing has become very clear: COVID-19 has presented us with a unique challenge to rebuild our businesses and communities in ways that are better, cleaner and more sustainable for the future.”
Lyft will also be working with drivers to transition them to electric vehicles over the coming decade, as well as “other zero-emission technologies”.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.