Image credits: Cristofer Jeschke
News Article

Uber to Become Emissions-Free

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 09/10/2020 - 12:38

Uber announced its plan to become a fully zero-emissions platform by 2040 with 100 percent of rides being made in zero-emission vehicles. Learn more about the plans of the mobility giant to go green.


"Instead of going back to business as usual, Uber is taking this moment as an opportunity to reduce our environmental impact. It is our responsibility as the largest mobility platform in the world to more aggressively tackle the challenge of climate change," wrote Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowashahi last Tuesday on a statement where the mobility giant detailed its ambitious goals to become emissions-free by 2040. "We want to do our part to build back better and drive a green recovery in our cities."

Uber's goal is that by 2040, 100 percent of its rides will be completed in zero-emission vehicles, public transport or micromobility alternatives. In US, Canadian, and European cities, the goal is set earlier as the company expects to have 100 percent EV rides. "We believe we can achieve this by 2030 in any major city where we can work with local stakeholders to implement policies that ensue a fair transition to EVs for drivers," wrote Khosrowashahi.

Four key actions will accelerate the company's plans toward these ambitious green targets. First, the company will launch the Uber Green program in more than 15 US and Canadian cities. Users would have the choice to pay one extra dollar to request a ride in an EV or hybrid vehicle, which according to the company produce 44 percent fewer carbon emissions than an ICE vehicle. By the end of 2020, the program will be available in more than 65 cities globally. Users who choose this new feature will receive three times more Uber Rewards points.

The Second action is helping drivers transition to EVs. The company committed more than US$800 million in resources to help "hundreds of thousands" of drivers in the US, Canada and Europe transition to battery EVs by 2025. Drivers who choose greener and electric vehicles will gain additional income in each trip, at least in the US and Canada. Moreover, the company also announced uber is working with leading electric automakers to get attractive offers for drivers. These include, GM for the US and Canada and Renault-Nissan for the UK, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

The third action implies investing in Uber's multimodal network. "Uber has long envisioned a future with far less reliance on personal car ownership," said the company on a statement. Additional mobility solutions will be integrated into the platform including Lime, the bike-sharing and scooter-sharing platform for shorter trips active in 55 cities worldwide, new carpooling products and public transport partnerships. The latter will enable a new feature in the app: Uber and Transit, which will plan a user's entire journey including walking, city bus, subway, train and UberX.

The last action to become a zero-emissions platform by 2040 is to be transparent and accountable. The company released its first ever climate assessment and performance report. "Programs start with taking an honest look at where we stand today and sharing results to drive accountability. Our report makes Uber the only ridesharing company and one of the first companies more broadly to measure and report on emissions from customers' real-world use of its products," said the company on a statement. One of the reports' findings includes a 6.1 decrease in carbon intensity in 2019 compared to 2017.

Uber's announcement was joined by endorsements from many of the partners it will be working with in achieving its green targets. Those partners include: Global Optimism, World Resources Institute, Transport and Environment, California Air Resources Board, EVNoire, GRID Alternatives, Fehr and Peers, TPG, the US Conference of Mayors Environment Committee, Region of Waterloo, Project Drawdown, POLIS, EIT Urban Mobility, California Energy Commission, Transportation Research Board, Ceres, Veloz, Forth Mobility, BP, Electric Mobility Canada, International Transport Forum of the OECD, World Economic Forum, CalETC and Sightline Institute.

For Mexico Automotive Review 2019/20, former CEO of Uber México, Federico Ranero mentioned: "Uber was born out of the necessity for an alternative to public transportation and private-vehicle use but we never thought we would become part of the solution of a much wider mobility problem. We are committed more than ever to Mexico and it is one of the most important countries for the company. Being in Mexico has helped us understand we cannot just export technology from one country to another and over the coming years we will introduce even more developments to improve the user experience with our platform."

Photo by:   Cristofer Jeschke
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst