Ride-hailing app FREE NOW has announced making all taxis in its UK market electric by 2024 and all private hire vehicles by 2025.
Across Europe, the mobility platform has set a goal of making all of its trips zero-emission by 2030 and in the meantime, while these goals are met, is promising to offset all emissions from 2020 onwards. This includes through preservation and regeneration of forests and planting more than 20,000 trees across European cities.
As part of its Green Pledge, FREE NOW will be working with drivers, passengers, regulators, the Government and businesses in the UK, including through investing over £20million into supporting drivers to switch to electric vehicles.
For taxi drivers with a cab older than 12 years old by 2023, they will need to upgrade to electric to continue taking jobs with FREE NOW. Before the end of 2024, all other non-electric black cabs will be removed from the platform.
For cabbies driving older TX1 and TX2 black taxis they must upgrade to an electric black cab before the end of the year to continue working on the platform.
According to the ride-hailing firm more than half of its taxi trips are completed in electric vehicles.
FREE NOW, which merged with Kapten last year, claim to have the largest electric fleet in Europe and the largest green fleet of black cabs (80% of all electric taxis in the London market are on FREE NOW).
Last year FREE NOW became the first mobility platform to enable a solely electric booking option for business travellers, after surveying business leaders in the City of London and finding nine out of 10 would be placing sustainability as a priority following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mariusz Zabrocki, UK General Manager at FREE NOW, said: “As a business we play an integral part in the evolution of the London ride-hailing industry towards greener and cleaner travel. More journeys are being made in zero-emission-capable vehicles, and with the Government’s recent ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, this is only going to increase.
“We are proud to be the only app to offer electric vehicle (EV) booking options, both for PHV and black cab, to enable passengers to choose more environmentally friendly vehicles whenever they travel. We are already at the forefront of this with over half of our taxi trips already being completed in electric vehicles and we have the largest green fleet of black cabs in London.
“We are going one step further and pledging to shift to a fleet that is fully zero emission capable as quickly as possible. Working with drivers, passengers, regulators, the Government and businesses we all need to act now to improve air quality in our cities, making them better places to be. ”
FREE NOW will take the following actions in the UK as part of its pledge:
Investing over £20 million to into supporting drivers to switch to electric vehicles
Sharing data with local authorities, regulators and Government to ensure we have the right infrastructure for an EV future
Investing £10 million to support passengers to go green and will build greener travel incentives into its loyalty programme
Offsetting all remaining emissions, focusing on preservation and regeneration of forests, including local planting of more than 20,000 trees across European cities
Partnering with CHARGE NOW in all markets to give drivers access to over 175,000 charge points across Europe
Gradually removing non-electric vehicles from its platform based on their CO2 emissions and age
Help businesses to access greener travel right away and to reach their own sustainability goals.
Shareholders Daimler and BMW welcome the plans. Stephan Unger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Mobility for Finance, Controlling, Risk Management and Digital Mobility Solutions, said: "As a provider of first class financial and mobility solutions, we must set examples for sustainable action. With this in mind, we have determined with our Ambition2022 that our locations should be carbon neutral by the end of 2022 - worldwide. Sustainability is part of our DNA at Daimler Mobility. We welcome and support the ambitious goals of FREE NOW. This will be a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in the city."
Rainer Feurer, Vice President Corporate Investments of the BMW Group, adds: "Premium and sustainability will be even more inextricably linked in the future. The BMW Group combines responsibility and driving pleasure and actively shapes the transition to sustainable mobility. We are committed to the Paris climate agreement and focus our respective goals on the guidelines of the recognised Science-Based Targets Initiative. We look forward to accompanying FREE NOW on its path to a zero-emission mobility platform."