The lack of fast and reliable EV charging points has been one of the biggest barriers stopping taxi drivers from making the switch to electric.
Drivers of black cabs and private hire vehicles need to spend more time on the road than they do charging their vehicles in order to earn a living. To achieve this in a carbon-neutral world, the current model of being able to fill up a petrol or diesel vehicle within a matter of minutes needs to be replicated in the electric charging market.
This is exactly what a deal between ride-hailing service Uber and energy company BP aims to achieve – and will hopefully pave the way for others to follow.
The companies’ new global EV charging agreement will help drivers transition to EVs by “providing access to reliable and convenient charging, including at ultra-fast speeds”, according to BP. As well as being able to use faster chargers and the benefits of partnership prices, there will also be more of them to ease drivers’ fears of being stranded.
BP currently has 22,000 charging points worldwide and is installing hundreds of new chargers every week with a goal of creating more than 100,000 charge points by 2030.
The company sees this as key to addressing the concerns of ride-hailing taxi drivers, as identified in a recent survey of 16,000 Uber drivers who said they need to feel confident about making the switch to electric.
Uber wants to decarbonise its fleets in the US, Canada and Europe by 2030, and globally by 2040.
Fleet News reports that regional teams from the two companies will “work together to offer drivers on Uber’s platform bespoke access to BP Pulse’s charging network, including special offers”.
The first phase of the partnership saw Uber drivers being given special access to BP’s first commercial fast-charging hub in Park Lane in London two years ago. The UK capital is leading the way with Uber’s electrification, and the company is aiming for a 100% EV fleet in London by the end of 2025.
Richard Bartlett, BP Pulse CEO, said: “Drivers on Uber’s platform need great value access to the fast, reliable charging infrastructure we’re building as they make the switch to electric. We’re investing billions of dollars worldwide in high-speed EV charging, digital products and services, and large-scale BP Pulse Gigahubs that will help commercial customers eliminate tailpipe emissions.
“I’m delighted we are building on our existing relationship and now have a global agreement to support ride-hail drivers with charging and more, at scale, helping Uber make their incredible 2040 ambition a reality.”
Christopher Hook, Uber’s Global Head of Sustainability, said: “We want Uber to be the cleanest platform on Earth because it’s the right thing for consumers, our cities and our business.
“Getting to 100% electric is not something Uber can do alone. It is a team sport, and it will take partnerships like this to reach zero tailpipe emissions, especially as we know availability of easy to access, affordable charging infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges for drivers.”
Under the terms of the agreement, BP intends to offer bespoke deals to drivers on the Uber platform that are tailored to each market, including providing incentives for them to charge with BP Pulse.
And, to further help drivers, the two companies will also explore working together on convenience and fuel offers.
As things move forward, this is the level of service that the taxi fleet will need to enable drivers to carry out their roles, whether they have public hire insurance, or private hire insurance.
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