LONDON -- Uber has started offering its drivers help in buying electric cars a year after the company began increasing the price of rides in London to fund the subsidies.
On Friday, the company said drivers would be able to start tapping into the money in the form of discounts on electric cars made by Nissan.
The two companies agreed to offer 2,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars to Uber drivers in London as part of the program.
The average Uber driver in London would save about 4,500 pounds ($5,900) off the cost of a Leaf through a combination of an automaker discount and a rebate from the EV fund, Uber said.
The company declined to provide more details on the offer price.
Automakers are hoping environmentally conscious businesses and customers will drive demand for electric cars.
The need to boost sales is especially acute for those with operations in the UK, which includes Nissan, amid the uncertainties of Britain's planned exit from the European Union.
The auto industry suffered a series of setbacks last year as UK production slumped and automakers idled plants to cope with three Brexit deadlines that came and went.
Jaguar Land Rover said it is cutting thousands of jobs, while Honda is closing its only British factory in 2021, and Nissan scrapped plans to build the X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland pant in England.
Uber increased the cost of taking a ride in London by 15 pence ($0.19 cents) per mile in January 2019 in order to raise a target of 200 million pounds for the electric vehicle fund. Uber said it raised 80 million pounds in the first year. Drivers must accrue at least 1,000 pounds in contributions to the fund before receiving credits.
The company's future in the city is uncertain after regulators revoked its license to operate there in November. Although Uber can continue to facilitate rides while it appeals the decision, regulators have expressed reservations about the company's ability to guarantee the safety of passengers.
This week, London's main transportation regulator released a scathing report detailing its concerns about the service.