Ride hailing giant Uber has announced plans to provide electric vehicle only rides by 2030 in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
The intention was announced in a blog post by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who noted that in 2020 everything has changed, and the smog in the skies above cities has been replaced by blue skies.
According to Khosrowshahi, the global Coronavirus pandemic has caused many cities to rethink their infrastructure, with parking lots replaced with parks, and more space for walkers and cyclists.
And Khosrowshahi feels that Uber needs to join the green drive that has resulted, as he warned that “carbon emissions will return to ‘normal’ soon.”
“When two-thirds of the world’s population was under lockdown in early April, carbon emissions fell 17 percent compared to last year,” he wrote. “By June, the drop was only 5 percent. And the fires that continue to rage across our home state of California are a sobering reminder of the urgency of the climate crisis.”
“Instead of going back to business as usual, Uber is taking this moment as an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact,” said Khosrowshahi. “It’s our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change. We want to do our part to build back better and drive a green recovery in our cities.”
“Uber is committing to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100 percent of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micromobility,” he wrote. “We’re also setting an earlier goal to have 100 percent of rides take place in electric vehicles (EVs) in US, Canadian, and European cities by 2030.”
“In fact, we believe we can achieve this 2030 goal in any major city where we can work with local stakeholders to implement policies that ensure a fair transition to EVs for drivers,” he added. “In addition to our platform goals, we’re also committed to reaching net-zero emissions from our corporate operations by 2030. All told, hitting these goals would put us a decade ahead of Paris Climate Agreement targets.”
Uber said it will start with four key actions. Firstly it will expand Uber Green to make it easier for riders to choose to travel in hybrids or Evs.
Secondly the firm is committing $800 million in resources to help hundreds of thousands of drivers transition to EVs by 2025. Thirdly it will invest in its “multimodal network to promote sustainable alternatives to personal cars.”
And finally Uber pledged to be transparent and accountable to the public along the way.
“The world is at a critical juncture, and we all have a role to play,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “Uber is aiming high. We’ll seek to build the most efficient, decarbonized, and multimodal platform in the world for on-demand mobility. While we’re not the first to set ambitious goals in transitioning to EVs, we intend to be the first to make it happen.”
Uber is in the midst of a clash with Californian regulators over the employment status of its drivers.
Uber and its rival Lyft said last month that they were able to continue operating as normal in California, after both ride-hailing firms were granted an emergency injunction by a court.
That came after a significant development for workers in the gig economy, when a week earlier Judge Ethan Schulman of San Francisco Superior Court had ruled that drivers for Uber and Lyft were employees, and not freelancers or contractors.
Almost immediately after that ruling, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi warned that Uber’s service in California would be shut down temporarily.
Lyft’s CEO echoed that shutdown warning.
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