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Uber agrees electric Nissan deal for UK drivers

By Lawrence Gash

Ride-hailing firm still faces London ban but deal will help drivers buy EVs more cheaply

Uber Technologies has agreed a deal with Nissan to secure driver discounts on the carmaker’s new electric vehicles.

The agreement with the Japanese manufacturer will introduce a fleet of 2,000 Nissan Leaf cars to drivers at an undisclosed discount, with a focus on London.

Two years ago Uber revealed plans to charge passengers in London a further 15 pence per mile on every trip in order to help its drivers purchase electric vehicles. According to the company, this surcharge has helped raise more than £80m ($105m, €95m) since 2018.

The company hopes to transition to a fully electric fleet in the British capital by 2025.

Nonetheless the ride-hailing section of the American fintech unicorn continues to face trouble in the United Kingdom.

Uber is currently engaged in an appeal after Transport for London (TfL) stripped the firm of its operating licence.

The company believes there is a public preference for electric vehicles. Uber reported a 350 per cent increase in electric vehicle rides since the introduction of the clean air charge.

It has come under intense political pressure from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Improving air quality is one of the tent-pole policies of Khan’s administration. He has introduced "ultra-low emission zones" throughout the city. Older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles are required to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

Khan is widely seen as the force behind the repeated threats to ban Uber from operating.

The Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular electric vehicles in Europe. With a starting price of £26,345 it is markedly cheaper than EVs made by carmakers such as Tesla.

After a gruelling six months Uber stock has enjoyed steady growth in the first month of the new decade. Although at $37.40 in early-afternoon GMT on Friday it is still below the price it began trading at following its IPO last year.

Nissan has endured 12 months of decline, made worse by its CEO Carlos Ghosn’s imprisonment by and escape from Japanese authorities.

FURTHER READING: Carlos Ghosn says arrest was plot to oust him as head of Nissan

FURTHER READING: Big tech’s adventures in fintech: the future or a fad?

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