Ride-sharing service Uber will now allow its London customers to select an electric vehicle (EV) for their next trip with the UK launch of Uber Green – but Australian customers are still a way off receiving the same service.
Uber Green – which is already offered throughout most of North America and parts of Europe – is an option on the Uber app that allows users to select fully-electric cars for roughly the same fare as petrol, hybrid and diesel cars.
Uber Green's conditions of use vary from place to place. For example, Londoners are only able to access the service for journeys originating within Zone 1, and are offered a reduced service fee of 15 per cent, which in turn means the drivers earn more for each trip – an incentive Uber hopes will encourage more EV drivers into its workforce.
In the US, however, riders must pay a $1 surcharge, $0.50 of which goes directly to the driver as an incentive to electric-car adoption, while in parts of Europe, riders face minimum fare restrictions when accessing Uber Green.
While the US, UK and Europe are already benefiting from Uber Green, there are no current plans to bring the service Down Under.
This is in large part due to a scarcity of all-electric cars on our roads – in 2020, fully-electric cars made up 6.6 per cent of new car sales in the UK, compared with just 0.19 per cent in Australia.
Instead, Uber Australia is focused on integrating its service with the existing public transport systems in Australian cities, with its multi-modal 'Uber + Transit' option currently undergoing a world-first trial in Sydney.
The 'Uber + Transit' option allows users to create a journey plan that incorporates both Uber and public transport, integrating real-time transit timetables to ensure riders time their journey and locate the best station and/or stop to utilise.
Additionally, it was recently announced that Uber customers in Sydney would be allowed to pay for rides using their Opal cards.
Uber users in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne also have public transport timetables and fares integrated into the app so they can more easily compare the cost and timing of an Uber with a bus or train.
"Uber is committed to becoming a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100 per cent of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transport, or with micro-mobility. This is a global commitment and includes Australia," an Uber Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice.
"We are committed to working with industry and governments to increase electric vehicle uptake in Australia, and to ensure they can be a practical and economic choice for driver-partners.
"Improving the productivity, liveability and sustainability of Australian cities is one of our top priorities, as we move towards a shared, electric future."