Uber continues its experiments with EVs (the company began a pilot using BYD E6s last year in Chicago, and has also runs trials of EVs in South Africa and Portugal). The company’s latest electrical adventure is taking place in London, where Uber will offer its drivers the option to lease BYD and Nissan EVs.
A third-party company called Evercar recently introduced a similar service in California, renting plug-in vehicles to drivers who work for Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies.
Uber’s EV venture will begin with 50 vehicles in London, and possibly expand to another UK city in the coming months. The company expects to have “hundreds” of EVs in service in the UK by next year.
“The cars through this partnership are for rent, not for purchase, and will be at rates lower than the cheapest rentals in the market for other private hire vehicles (in order to encourage drivers to make the switch from their existing vehicle),” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Obviously running costs are quite a bit lower too – although how much lower obviously depends what car they are switching from.”
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) will run a study to monitor the progress of Uber’s EV efforts, researching the driving patterns and economics of private hire drivers using EVs, and the capacity of London’s charging network to support the vehicles.
We hope that this trial represents an important step in Uber’s contribution towards the wider efforts to improve air quality in the capital – the benefits of which will be felt by all,” said Andrew Benfield, Group Director of Transport at EST.