WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Uber wants to roll out more electric vehicles in London but London’s lack of EV infrastructure means it’s got to build its own network
Uber, who’ve been facing numerous setbacks recently from scandals to crashes that caused it to suspend its self-driving car program just last month, have announced they’re expanding their relationship with Nissan, who recently tested it’s self-driving cars around the UK’s capital, and increase their fleet of electric vehicles in London.
The two companies have announced their commitment to deliver an additional 100 Nissan LEAF EV’s, trebling the number of electric vehicles (EV) available via Uber’s app, and to power them Uber has announced that it’s going to build its own EV charging network.
Last August Uber announced it had teamed up with Nissan and another car maker, China’s BYD, then, in the following months the company offered its top rated drivers a mix of zero emission BYD E6s and Nissan LEAF EV’s. But now BYD is no longer part of the pilot and Nissan, who make it’s LEAF in Sunderland in the UK, is firmly in the driving seat.
Before Uber announced the new scheme though the UK’s Energy Saving Trust (EST) conducted a three month feasibility study of the program to assess its impact. The early conclusions of the project showed that over 35,000 riders took a trip in a fully electric car, saving half a metric tonne of nitrous oxide and 22 metric tonnes of CO2 compared to a hybrid cars. But the report also highlighted a number of issues with London’s current EV charging infrastructure and found that drivers were hampered by a lack of fast charging stations in central London where there were just a paltry three available. This explains why Uber is now investing in building out its own EV charging network.
To begin with, Uber says the new EV charging points will only be available to drivers who use the Uber app, which doesn’t help fix London’s availability issue in the short term, but the company says it open them up for others to use in the future.
“We believe that new technology can help tackle the challenge of air pollution in the capital. Londoners already associate Uber with hybrid cars, but we want to go even further with more drivers switching to fully electric ones,” said Jo Bertram, Regional General Manager of Uber UK.
“Our vision is for mass adoption of fully electric cars as private hire vehicles but there are some really big challenges we need to overcome. Charging cars can be costly for drivers and there’s a serious lack of rapid charging points in central London. We hope the Mayor’s forthcoming transport strategy will lead to more chargers which private hire drivers can use.”
Matthew Griffin Global Futurist, Tech Evangelist, X Prize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert
Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew mentors several XPrize teams, and is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who is regularly featured on the BBC, Discovery, Kurzweil, Newsweek, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew shines a light on the future and helps them transform their industries, organisations, products and services by demonstrating how the combination of democratised, and increasingly powerful emerging technologies, are helping fuel cultural, industrial and societal change that is transforming old industries and creating new ones. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.