After an 11-month campaign by Transport & Environment (T&E) and seven NGO partners, Uber announced this week they are to provide at least 50% of its rides in emissions-free vehicles across seven European capitals by 2025 with the overall aim for 100%.
T&E, a non-profit organisation and politically independent orgnisation, welcomed the world’s largest mobility platform pledge to clean up its act in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris in response to the #TrueCostOfUber campaign. The campaign urged the ride-hailing giants to ditch petrol and diesel vehicles and replace them with electric cars.
Uber's EV commitment in Europe is said to save approximately 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. This is equivalent to removing the CO2 emissions of 275,000 privately-owned cars from the roads.
William Todts, Executive Director of the European NGO Transport & Environment, said: “People across Europe are sick of pollution and congestion. Shared electric mobility is key to solving these problems. And the right place to start is with high-mileage drivers who'll benefit first from cheaper-to-run, clean electric vehicles.”
Todts continued: “Uber's commitment to rapidly electrify its fleet in major European cities is good news. Now it's time for Europe's city mayors to show leadership. We need all big cities in Europe to introduce zero-emission zones, new pop-up bike lanes and cycle-only corridors, while also providing easy access to charging at home, at work and wherever people park."
According to T&E in Europe electric cars emit, on average, almost three times less carbon emissionsthan equivalent petrol or diesel cars. T&E also claims that every year electricity generation gets cleaner thanks to more renewable power coming online. That should mean electric cars become cleaner too as the years roll by.
One of the draw backs with electric cars is that they are still expensive to buy today, but they are cheaper to run. T&E say drivers like taxi and Uber private hire drivers can reap the early benefits of ultra-low fuel bills because they drive on average four-to-five times more than private motorists. With the support of governments and large operators, drivers can overcome the barrier of higher upfront costs in the few years left before EVs reach price parity with diesel and petrol cars.
“The EU Commission has a key role to play here. Tighter vehicle CO2 standards will help increase the offer of attractive and affordable electric cars, making it easy for Europeans to go emissions-free. If we want clean air, a healthy planet and lower fuel bills, this is exactly what we need to do,” said William Todts.
In November, a broad coalition of green NGOs in the US, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Belgium launched the #TrueCostOfUber campaign asking Uber to get rid of polluting vehicles and electrify its fleet. The coalition includes the Sierra Club, Nabu, Respire, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Les Chercheurs d’Air, SumOfUs, Ecodes, Zero and Transport & Environment.
Transport is seen to be Europe’s biggest climate problem, representing more than a quarter (27%) of the bloc’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Cars in the EU27 emit 45% of all transport carbon emissions. To meet the EU's legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the bloc will need at least 40% of new cars to be emissions-free in 2030, and will need to sell the last combustion engine car by 2035 at the very latest.
Following this week’s announcement, T&E and its partners have stated they will closely monitor Uber’s decarbonisation efforts to make sure it delivers on its promises.