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Uber launches 50-car all-electric fleet in London, aimed at curbing air pollution

Uber is getting busy with electric cars in London. According to reports from Electrek and City AM, 50 all-electric cars will be in the initial rollout. If the pilot program works out and if a study of electric cars by the Energy Saving Trust is also positive, Uber could potentially deploy hundreds more electric cars in the city.

The report in Electrek mentioned 20 Nissan Leafs will be deployed in the project. The 2016 Leaf models will have a new 30KWh battery pack EPA-rated for 107 miles per charge. The City AM article stated the rest of the 50 electric cars will be Chinese-made BYD E6s, which have a 61.4kWh battery and are rated 186 mile range.

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Air pollution in London is a major concern. Many Uber drivers in London currently use Prius hybrid models.

“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,” said Uber’s United Kingdom regional general manager, Jo Bertram. “We are determined to use technology to help tackle the challenge of air pollution in London and across the U.K. Our car-sharing service has already saved 1.2 million miles and 211 metric tonnes of CO2. With electric vehicles — and more people sharing their journey and leaving their own cars at home – there’s even more we can do.”

“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 U.K.,” added Gareth Dunsmore, head of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe. “We are confident this trial will prove a success and that Uber will join scores of taxi and private hire operators across the U.K. and wider Europe in recognizing the financial and environmental benefits of Nissan’s market-leading electric vehicles. With the impact of poor air quality remaining a cause for concern, the trial could prove to be a pivotal moment for tackling the challenges in London.”

The three-month Energy Saving Trust study will consider the economics of a large number of electric cars in London. Sufficient numbers of electric car charging stations is a concern for any large deployment.

“Of course there are challenges ahead. A bigger roll out of fully electric cars needs a good network of charging points and the economics must add up for drivers too,” said Bertram. “That’s why the three-month study by the Energy Saving Trust is so important. We look forward to seeing the results and sharing the findings with the government, Transport for London and the mayor.”