Uber joins London boroughs in £5 million EV charger boost

Hundreds of new electric-vehicle (EV) chargers are to be installed across north and east London, following a landmark agreement between Uber and three London boroughs. 

Over 700 fast EV chargers will be installed on streets in Newham, Brent, and Redbridge, boosting London’s overall charging network by over 7%.

The 700 new chargers are the result of a £5 million investment from Uber, working in close collaboration with each borough to determine where chargers should be installed. These on-street charging points will improve access for those without driveways or home chargers.

Jamie Heywood, Uber General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe said:

“Drivers often tell me that being able to access reliable charging near their homes is critical to their decision to switch to an electric vehicle. By targeting investment where it is most needed, we are confident that thousands more drivers will make the switch to electric, allowing them to benefit from lower running costs and higher earnings on Uber. Ensuring that everyone can access EV charging will spark a mass transition to electric vehicles and help drive London towards a greener future.”

Imtiaz Elahi, an EV driver from Newham who drives with Uber said: 

“I’m seeing more and more drivers change to electric vehicles and I even convinced a few to make the switch myself. But with the uptake of EVs increasing, the number of chargers available on the street needs to keep up. If we want drivers to keep converting to EV we need to improve access to chargers in all London boroughs as well as across the country.”

Thanks to the supportive policy framework in the capital, London has become the global leader in terms of Uber’s electrification efforts. More than 5,000 EVs are currently on the app in London, driving over one million electric miles per week. Uber is on track to more than double this number by the end of the year and to become an all-electric platform in the capital by 2025. 

Professional ride-hailing drivers are the early mass adopters of EVs with more than 90% of new vehicles joining the Uber app being fully electric, compared to 11.6% of new vehicles in the mass market in 2021. 

With many drivers living in boroughs such as Brent, Newham and Redbridge, there is significant demand for more charging points in these parts of London. The capital’s concentration of EV chargers is currently highest in central and west London, with over a quarter of chargers in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham. 

This is the first time that boroughs have worked with a ride-hailing company to directly install chargers on London’s streets. The chargers will be Uber branded and available for everyone to use.

By incentivising a wider shift to EV, Uber and its partners across the three boroughs aim to help tackle air pollution for all local residents, and share learnings with other local authorities on how private companies and the public sector can collaborate to address this challenge. 

Later this year, Uber plans to expand its EV-only option ‘Uber Green’ from Zone One to the whole of London – meaning that riders will be able to request an electric vehicle from anywhere in the city for the same price as a normal UberX. Drivers will also earn 13% more when taking trips on Uber Green. 

Cllr Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment at Brent Council, said: “We are very excited to be embarking on this partnership with Uber that will help increase the number of EV charging points even further in Brent. These charging points will provide greater accessibility for residents who do not have off-street parking, thus helping us promote the use of zero emission vehicles. This partnership is part of a number of initiatives on our journey to achieve zero carbon emissions in Brent by 2030.”

Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham, said: “We have been working hard to tackle toxic air pollution and to improve the quality of the environment in the borough. There is a huge challenge to meet and part of that is reducing pollution from vehicles. We know that residents want to do their part and many are changing over to electric vehicles and the infrastructure is needed to ensure they can make that change and contribute to lower emissions.” 

“This agreement with Uber brings funding into Newham to help make charging more available, which can help support the jobs of thousands of Newham-based drivers.  We promised to increase our EV charging points and this will help create a bigger network of chargers that all our residents can use and benefit from.”

Cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, said: “We’re on a mission to expand Redbridge’s on-street electric vehicle charging network to make it easier for local people to switch to an electric vehicle, helping to cut air pollution and tackle climate change in the process. And this means helping local taxi and private hire drivers in Redbridge to switch to electric vehicles too. Working in partnership with Uber to install additional on-street charge points, we’re making switching to an electric vehicle easier, with more places to charge across our borough.” 

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “The need to tackle climate change is real, and electric vehicles are vital to cutting emissions and creating a cleaner environment. Having the infrastructure in place – including having enough charging points near those who drive the most – will help encourage people to switch to electric vehicles more rapidly, creating a better environment for all.”

Minister for London Paul Scully said: “As part of the UK’s drive to net zero emissions, we want to supercharge the electric vehicle revolution, making the act of going green significantly easier and cheaper. “By rolling out hundreds of new EV chargers across the capital, Uber is putting Londoners in the driving seat, making it easier to own and charge an electric vehicle on our road to a cleaner future.”

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