Nissan and Uber have signed a joint deal for the commission of up to 2,000 electric cars to be made available to drivers using the ride-hailing app in London, as part of a wider campaign by Uber to have every one of its drivers using fully electric vehicles by 2025.
The contract, hailed a “bold vision” by Uber, will see 2,000 all-electric Nissan LEAFs manufactured at the carmaker’s Sunderland plant and ready for deployment in the capital as the ridesharing company gears up to make around 45,000 of its drivers fully electric in the next five years.
The move also comes amid an appeal by Uber against Transport for London (TfL), who in November rejected the ride-hailing firm’s application for a new London licence owing to allegations large numbers (14,000) of unauthorised drivers had been operating without proper insurance by impersonating registered drivers, potentially putting passengers at risk.
The firm has been allowed to continue trading while it appeals the decision.
Uber’s Clean Air Plan
The fleet of up to 2,000 40kWh Nissan LEAFs can reportedly travel as far as 168 miles on a single charge and are being deployed as part of Uber’s Clean Air Plan to tackle air pollution, launched in January 2019.
The ridesharing firm’s strategy is to upgrade drivers to an EV through a 15p Clean Air Fee added on to all London journeys to help with the cost of adoption. In its first year, Uber raised more than £80m to support drivers switching to EV.
It also claims drivers could save an average £4,500 off the cost of switching to an electric car, depending on the miles driven.
Since January, 900,000 Uber journeys have taken place in EVs – a 350% increase on the previous year.
Nissan will help Uber launch its latest EV campaign, which follows a similar initiative in 2016 when Nissan supplied 20 all-electric LEAFs to Uber as part of a first-time pure EV trial through the app in the capital and in partnership with the Energy Savings Trust (EST).
Last year, TfL installed more than 1,000 EV charge points across London, the majority of which (375) were in Westminster – more than any other local authority in the UK.
The Nissan LEAF was the carmaker’s first mass-market EV, launched in 2010. Since then, it has sold more than 450,000 models worldwide and was Nissan’s top selling electric vehicle throughout Europe in 2018.
Then in 2019, Nissan brought out the Sunderland manufactured e+ Tekna model which features advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology, delivering 217PS performance capacity and more than 70 extra miles in drive range capability.
More recent LEAF iterations offer a 40kWh battery capacity (168-mile range WLTP combined) or a 62kWh e+ version (239-mile range WLTP combined).
All Nissan LEAFs can store more than 10GWh of electricity combined and the e+ 62kWh lithium-ion battery offers 55% more capacity than previous iterations, while retaining a similar shape and size.
A government subsidy of £3,500 is currently available to customers buying the e+ Tekna model.
“Through innovation and collaboration, companies like Nissan and Uber can tackle the challenges of advancing personal urban mobility, whilst also improving air quality in our major cities,” said Andrew Humberstone, managing director, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd. “As the UK’s best-selling EV, the Nissan LEAF is the perfect vehicle to support Uber’s ambition of a 100% electric fleet in London for 2025. Not only will passengers enjoy the quieter ride that comes from all-electric driving, but cyclists, pedestrians and other road users will also benefit from the zero-emissions powertrain.”
*Main image courtesy of Shutterstock