As of yesterday, select London ride-hailing Uber drivers began driving leased Nissan Leafs for a trial period the two companies are referring to as “a new, major electric vehicle (EV) project”
The program begins with 20 battery-electric Leafs followed with 30 BYD E6 electric small SUVs.
An Uber spokesman was unable to say what the lease costs are, but top-rated Uber drivers will have “the lowest rates for other private hire cars in the market.”
The low rates will be available for the duration of the three-month study that aims to assess the feasibility of the program.
Uber already has thousands of Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid cars on the streets in London.
Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK said, “People already associate Uber with hybrid cars, but we now want to go a big step further with fully electric cars on the road from today.”
Gareth Dunsmore, head of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe, also commented on the announcement: “We are delighted to be working closely with Uber on what is a very exciting project that could ultimately lead to major improvements in air quality in London and across the UK.”
London suffers from some of the worst air pollution in Europe and beginning in 2020, vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards will have to pay $13.25 (£10.00) per day to drive in the city.
The joint electric project will be studied by the Energy Savings Trust (EST) to find out how Uber drivers use the EVs and if there are enough charging stations in the city to support the vehicles.
If the program is successful, then Uber said it expects to see hundreds of electric Ubers on London’s roads by next year.
London isn’t the first European city with a Leaf taxi service. Earlier this year La Ciudad del Taxi, a Madrid, Spain-based taxi company added 110 of the electric cars to its fleet.