Car Industry

Uber to ditch diesel in London by 2019, go full EV by 2025

If you own a diesel and drive with Uber, your days are numbered, but you could get some cash for changing cars.

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Diesel is still incredibly popular in Europe, but one ride-hailing service is intent on ditching it within the next two years.

Uber will stop using diesel vehicles in London by the end of 2019, the company announced in a statement on Friday. At that time, every UberX available in London will be either a gas-electric hybrid or a battery-electric vehicle.

I wonder what's stopping people from signing up for Uber, taking the EV incentive cash and then quitting.

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The timeline stretches even further than that. Uber wants to extend that promise to the entire United Kingdom by 2022 -- diesels won't be available at all through the Uber app at that time. By 2025, Uber hopes that 100 percent of its London-based vehicles will be battery-electric powered.

Uber has also launched a diesel scrappage scheme, similar to the old Cash for Clunkers scheme here in the US. Uber will give £1,500 in Uber credits to the first 1,000 Londoners who scrap a diesel vehicle that adheres to pre-Euro 4 emissions standards. That bonus converts to approximately $1,980.

In case you're wondering how Uber will ensure drivers move to cleaner cars, the answer is simple: Money. Uber will also establish a Clean Air Fund that will help foster EV adoption. Licensed drivers using Uber will be eligible for up to £5,000 (about $6,600) to help cover the cost of upgrading to a hybrid or battery-electric vehicle. Uber expects drivers to claim about £150M (approximately $197M) through this Clean Air Fund.

In order to stock the fund, Uber will inject an initial £2M (about $2.64M) into the fund, and it will add 35 pence, or about 45 cents, to the fund each time an Uber travels through London. Uber also plans to install rapid chargers throughout central London to make sure its drivers always have some juice.