Uber Technologies has said that every vehicle on its global ride-hailing platform will be electric by 2040, and it vowed to contribute $800 million through 2025 to help drivers switch to battery-powered vehicles, including discounts for vehicles bought or leased from partner automakers.
In making the announcement on Tuesday, Uber also announced partnerships with the Renault-Nissan Alliance and General Motors. The ride-hailing company said in February that it had 5 million drivers worldwide.
Renault and Nissan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Uber to develop ways to provide Uber drivers with zero-emissions vehicles, starting with France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK. Uber and Nissan currently have a pilot collaboration project in the UK.
As Uber transitions to a 100 percent EV network, the ride-hailing company said that by 2025 half of all kilometers driven in seven European capitals -- Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris -- would be in EVs. Uber also said that riders will be able to choose a zero-emissions vehicle in cities representing 80 percent of the company’s European business by the end of 2021.
Renault and Nissan said the collaboration would offer Uber drivers access to the automakers’ EVs, including the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, as well as future models.
Uber said it would contribute 75 million euros in France to aid drivers with the transition, including up to 4,500 euros toward the cost of a new EV and favorable financing terms. The program will partly be funded by an environmental surcharge of 3 cents per kilometer for passengers, Uber said in a news release.
“By teaming up with Uber in the UK, we have already been able to increase the awareness and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles, and we are looking forward to exploring how to roll that out further in Europe,” Nissan Europe sales and marketing boss Jordi Vila said in a news release.
GM said that eligible Uber drivers in the U.S. and Canada who purchase a 2020 Chevy Bolt can receive a GM employee discount. The discount can be combined with the $8,500 national rebate that’s currently offered, a spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News. Bolt drivers in the U.S. will also be eligible for a discount of 20 percent below sticker price on accessories, including at-home charging equipment, GM said.
GM and Uber also plan to launch a pilot program in Los Angeles and Denver, Colorado, to offer special financing agreements through GM Financial, GM’s captive finance company.
"Through this program we are offering new ways for drivers and customers across the country to fall in love with driving electric," Steve Majoros, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, said in a statement. "This is a key opportunity to grow Chevrolet's EV business through a program that matches our expertise and strength with a rideshare platform that brings its own scale and reach."
In addition to the vehicle discounts, Uber said the $800 million program includes discounts for charging and a fare surcharge for electric and hybrid vehicles such as the one announced in France, the cost of which would be partially offset by an additional small fee charged to customers who request a "green trip."
The deals with the Renault-Nissan Alliance and GM focus on the U.S., Canada and Europe. Uber said it was discussing partnerships with other automakers.
Uber's plan follows years of criticism by environmental groups and city officials over the pollution and congestion caused by ride-hailing vehicles and calls for fleet electrification.
Lyft, Uber's smaller U.S. rival, in June promised to switch to 100 percent EVs by 2030, but said it would not provide direct financial support to drivers.