Uber has plans to promote an exclusively electric fleet of vehicles for their drivers in London within the next decade.
The company’s goal is an ambitious one, and an attempt by the company to show lawmakers in Britain’s capital city that they’re serious about their commitment to serving the riders of London, according to reporting from the Guardian.
“It represents our wanting our partnership in London not only to be a strong partnership but trailblazing in solving air pollution, which every great city in the world is struggling with, and our mayor here in London is looking to improve,” Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
The plan for Uber is to help drivers phase out their current gas-guzzling vehicles over the course of the next few years. Uber wants to create a fund of £200 million (roughly $260 million) for drivers in the city to assist and encourage them to buy electric vehicles in the near future.
The company hopes that the fund would encourage at least half of its fleet of drivers to make the switch by the year 2021. It’s hoping for a full transformation to an exclusively electric fleet of vehicles driven by their operators by 2025.
The fund may come at the expense of riders of the company. Uber plans to charge riders an additional 15p (about $0.19) for every ride they take — plus the regular fees that they already pay — in order to create the fund.
But the fund would also allow full-time drivers to access nearly £3,000 over the next two years, which can be used to upgrade their vehicle to an electric option.
Uber’s history in London isn’t perfect, according to reporting from The Hill. The company lost its operating license in the city last year, as London transportation officials ruled that Uber was “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence” after it didn’t report criminal offenses in a proper way. The company, however, had its license reinstated earlier this year on a 15-month probationary basis.
With a fleet of over 40,000 drivers in London alone, the change to electric could have substantial effects on the amount of carbon dioxide created in the city. According to Car Talk, the average car puts out about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide gas for every gallon of gasoline that’s used. Annually, that amounts to about 6 tons of carbon for every vehicle that’s on the road.
Of course, each driver is different, and produces their own levels of carbon output per year. But with these average numbers in mind, an all-electric fleet of 40,000 drivers in London could reduce the city’s carbon footprint by about 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.