Nissan and Uber London join over air quality project
Nissan said it was working with ride hailing service Uber on a new, major electric vehicle (EV) project "as part of its commitment to tackling air pollution in London and across the UK".
The carmaker has supplied a fleet of 20 all-electric Leafs to Uber for use as part of an extensive EV trial in the capital that got under way on 31 August 2016. It was the first time pure EVs had been available for hire through the Uber app in London.
Gareth Dunsmore, head of electric vehicles, Nissan Europe, said: "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.
"We are confident this trial will prove a success and that Uber will join scores of taxi and private hire operators across the UK and wider Europe in recognising 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."
Run in partnership with the Energy Savings Trust (EST), the study will look into the feasibility of running large numbers of electric private hire vehicles in the UK.
The EST will research the experience, driving patterns and economics of private hire drivers using electric cars and the capacity of London's current network of charging points to support these vehicles.
Already 60% of Uber journeys in London are made in hybrid vehicles, but the company is keen to explore the environmental and economic benefits of going fully electric ahead of the introduction of the capital's ultra low emissions zone in 2020.
Nissan largely established the UK EV market in 2010 with the launch of its first generation Leaf. In 2016 it remains the world's best-selling EV with more than 230,000 on the road.
Nissan recently introduced a new 30 kWh battery model that delivers 26% more range compared with the previous generation, and up to 155 miles of driving range on a single charge.
Running costs are claimed to be as low as two pence per mile and Nissan said the Leaf and larger e-NV200 Combi van have "already proved their worth as taxis and private hire vehicles. In fact, hundreds are now in operation in towns and cities, having clocked up tens of thousands of fares and more than 3m pure EV miles".
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.
"We are determined to use technology to help tackle the challenge of air pollution in London and across the UK. Our car-sharing service has already saved 1.2m 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."