Uber is introducing a clean air surcharge to all fares in London, which it says will help drivers buy electric cars.
The fare increase, expected to be around 15-pence (around $0.20) per mile, will come into effect early next year, the ride-sharing company said. The average journey in London will go up by an average of 45p.
Uber believes this will boost the pay-packets of drivers who work 40-hours per week, with an annual increase of around £1,500 per year. It envisions drivers using this cash to buy an EV. Uber says it wants every car on the app to be fully-electric by 2025 and estimates 20,000 drivers will switch to electric vehicles by 2021.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says: “Over time, it’s our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options – whether cars, bikes, scooters or public transport – all in the Uber app.”
He said Uber was making a “a long-term investment in the future of London aimed at going all electric in the capital in 2025.”
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Not all of the surcharge will go into drivers’ pockets. Some of the money will also go towards paying towards improving London’s EV infrastructure and the installation of more charging stations. Uber’s decision comes following the government’s decision to trim incentives to buy all electric cars. Drivers will only receive a £3,500 in grants instead of £4,500. Plug-in hybrid grants have been cut completely.
Whether this surcharge will put Uber drivers in a financial position to splash out on an EV is debatable at best. The company’s drivers staged a strike in London earlier this month in order to push for higher fares and improved rights.
An extra £1,500 a year might keep drivers above the bread line, but for many Uber drivers, that extra cash is unlikely to fund a Tesla purchase.
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