Energy Savings Trust, Nissan and Uber trial EVs for air quality project in London


Nissan is working with the car hailing service Uber and the Energy Savings Trust (EST) on a new, major electric vehicle (EV) project that aims to tackle air pollution in London and across the UK.

The auto maker has supplied a fleet of 20 all-electric Nissan Leafs to Uber for use as part of an extensive EV trial in the capital. It is the first time pure EVs have been available for hire through the Uber app in London. The study being conducted by the Nissan-Uber-EST partnership will look into the feasibility of running large numbers of all-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. Currently 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 (ULEZ) in 2020.

Nissan forged the EV market in 2010 with the launch of the first generation Leaf model. Fast forward to 2016 and it remains the world’s best-selling EV, with more than 230,000 on the road globally. With a focus on bringing Intelligent Mobility solutions to the masses, Nissan recently introduced a new 30kWh battery model that delivers 26% more range than the previous generation model, and up to 155 miles (250km) of driving range on a single charge. The Leaf and the larger Nissan e-NV200 Combi have already proved their worth as taxis and private hire vehicles, with hundreds now in operation in towns and cities, having clocked up tens of thousands of fares, and more than three million pure EV miles.

“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,” said Gareth Dunsmore, head of electric vehicles at 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 UK and wider Europe in recognizing the financial and environmental benefits of our 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.”

Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, commented, “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. 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 1.2 million miles and 211 metric tonnes of CO?. With electric vehicles, and more people sharing their journey and leaving their own cars at home, there’s even more we can do.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).