London is one of Uber’s largest markets worldwide, providing riders with a much-needed alternative to the often overloaded public transport system. The British capital also leads the way when it comes to electric cars, a key component of the city’s overall pollution and air quality plan.
It’s no surprise then, that the demand for electric Uber cars has been rising. To help you prepare for the future and make an informed decision about whether electric cars are worth it, we’ve created a guide that should answer most of your questions in the early stages of considering an electric car for Uber driving.
To combat the rising carbon emissions from cars, the city firstly introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in Central London. Then, to boost the shift straight to the cleanest technologies available, TfL has also been gradually increasing the Congestion Charge too, another daily fee charged in the same area but with much tighter conditions for exemption.
Drivers of all fully electric cars are exempt from paying the daily £15 Congestion Charge upon entering Central London between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm on week days and between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The London ULEZ charge is a £12.50 daily charge enforced 24/7 in a zone covering all areas within the North Circular Road (A406) and the South Circular Road (A205), collectively known as the ULEZ Charge area. The exemption criteria are more permissive, currently allowing certain hybrid models and even some cars with no zero-emission range (with only an internal combustion engine). However, while future restrictions might affect these cars, electric vehicles will certainly remain exempt from the ULEZ charge.
A growing number of streets around London are only accessible to cars that emit 0-75g/km of CO2 between set hours. Active during the week, only green vehicles can access these streets between 7:00 am – 10:00 am and 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
These fees would cost a full-time driver £360 a month* with a new petrol, diesel, or normal hybrid car, and up to £660* if they drive an older car with an internal-combustion engine. Therefore, the most exciting long-term solution for Uber drivers is driving a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or fully electric car (EV), since these are fully exempt from both charges.
*Assuming a 6-day work week, entering the charging zone every day with an ULEZ-compliant car that’s not exempt from the Congestion Charge.
**Assuming a 6-day work week, entering the charging zone with a non-ULEZ-compliant car.
As an EV driver, you can get support from authorities and private companies, like accessing the government’s EV Chargepoint Grant, where you can get £350 funding for installing a charging station in your home.
Uber is also supportive for drivers who choose to go electric with Uber Green and their Uber Clean Air Plan, where you can get financial help to access an electric car. As Splend is an official Uber partner, you can join our Flexi own plan and get a discount using your Clean Air EV Assistance.
Starting January 1st 2023, all PHVs licensed for the first time in London must be Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) and meet the Euro 6 emission standard in order to get their PHV licence. If you drive an electric car, there’s no need to worry as all EVs meet these requirements.
Driving an electric car means you’ll no longer need to fill up the tank. And when it comes to electric car range, there are models which keep your mind at ease. The question is how much can you save by running an EV.
Using the calculator found on Zap-Map we estimate that if you drive 700 miles per week, you’ll save £29 per week in an electric car compared to a petrol hybrid, and over £70 compared to a petrol car.
If you drive an EV, you can get more rides from the entire Greater London, and you also save on the commission. The Uber passenger app offers riders the option to call an electric car, for the same price they’d pay for an UberX.
The only difference is the money in your pocket: Uber drivers make 15% per each trip on Uber Green.
Most London boroughs offer discounted resident EV parking permits or even free parking for EVs. Costs for an annual resident EV parking permit in London can range between £6.50 and £80, whilst the same annual parking permits for high-polluting cars can be as much as £860.
You have two main options: home charging and public charging stations. If you can’t charge your electric car at home, Zap-Map also offers a great way to find your nearest charge point. You can download the app and quickly locate your nearest charger.
If you have access to off-street parking (such as a private driveway or garage), we strongly recommend home-charging your car overnight, to benefit from the cheaper rates. Most electric cars will come with a cable with a standard 3-point plug that provides 3kW of charge, meaning a 60kWh battery would take about 20 hours to fully charge.
In order to speed up the charging, you can also buy a wall/pole-mounted home charger, and call an electrician to install it. These generally give you about 7kW of charge, meaning a 60kWh battery can be fully charged overnight. The electricity is charged at home rates (about 30p per kWh, depending on the time of day), so charging a 60kWh battery costs around £18.
You can also charge an electric car in 20-30 minutes using a rapid charge point, compared to 5-8 hours on a home unit or a standard public charger . Check the UK-wide map of EV charging points.
We know that making a decision might be hard because of long-term commitment anxiety. That’s why we aim to offer you the flexibility you need with our PCO car hire plans. If you are ready to make the switch to an EV, you can opt for our Flexi or Flexi Own plans, depending on whether you just want to test the waters or you’re decided on buying an EV.
Having an EV can be more affordable than what you initially had in mind. We are committed to accelerate the transition towards green mobility, so we partnered with Uber for the Uber Clean Air Plan. By accessing the Clean Air Plan, you can get reduced fees for your weekly cost of the Splend plan.
Our car fleet offers you several EV models to meet all kinds of needs. If car range is your main concern, the MG ZS Long Range with a WLTP range of 273 miles is the go-to choice for you.
The Volkswagen ID.3 doesn’t fall behind, with a 265 miles range being one of the the most popular cars for rideshare drivers. If you’re looking for a sleek and premium long range EV, the Polestar 2 Long Range is what you’re looking for.
Check our complete list of available cars and choose the perfect one for your needs.
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