Uber and Kia Europe are teaming up to offer drivers in 20 European markets deals on buying, leasing, financing or renting Kia’s e-Niro and e-Soul, the latest move by the ride-hailing giant to achieve its emissions goals.
Uber has committed to being a zero-emission mobility platform across Europe by 2030, and hopes to get up to 30,000 Uber drivers into Kia’s BEV range by the same year. Kia is the latest in Uber’s collection of automakers offering its drivers discounted rates on electric cars. In May, Uber also announced a partnership with EV manufacturer Arrival to create a purpose-built electric car for ride-hail drivers, and in September 2020, Uber partnered with GM to give Canadian and American drivers discounts to the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt.
Recent legislation adopted by the European Union aims to cut carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Uber’s partnership with Kia anticipates increasingly strict emissions regulations around the continent. To keep up, Uber is also targeting to have more than 100,000 electric vehicles across its European platform by 2025 and 50% of miles driven in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid and Paris to be in zero-emissions vehicles.
For its part, Kia hopes to use this partnership to popularize its BEVs as it prepares to launch 11 new electric models by 2026. The e-Niro crossover has 239 miles of range and a lithium-ion battery that charges in 54 minutes up to 80% on a DC fast charger. The e-Soul subcompact crossover, with a cute and boxy exterior, offers up to 243 miles of range on a full charge.
But even with the discounts, the Kia models that are currently on offer on PartnerPoint, Uber’s portal for London-based drivers shopping around for EVs, are still quite pricey. Kia is giving drivers a discount of around 8% on its vehicles to finance, as opposed to an average of 13% from Nissan and even 22% with Hyundai. That means Kia’s vehicles cost between £29,877.40 ($42,15432) and £36,471.40 ($51,457.86), which is around the same price as, if not more than, a London driver’s annual salary.
Despite this, it seems drivers are taking advantage of the discounts and other incentives, like 5% financing interest rates and the Clean Air Fee, which collects 3 pence (4 cents) per ride to put toward the cost of an EV and has saved London drivers an average of £3,000 ($4,233), according to the company.
In London, more than 3.5 million trips have taken place in fully electric vehicles since the launch of the Clean Air Plan in 2019, according to Uber. Some 50% of new cars joining the platform in London are now fully electric, compared to 8% of new vehicles in wider markets. Over the past year, the number of EVs on Uber’s platform has jumped from 700 to 2,100, and Uber wants to double that by the end of the year.
With this announcement, Uber also said it plans to continue expansion of Uber Green, which allows riders to request a lower emissions vehicle and drivers to get a reduced 15% service fee for each Uber Green trip, across Europe to 60 cities by the end of the year. This feature is currently only available for any London rider starting their trip inside Zone 1, but Uber says now is a good time for drivers to take advantage of lower running costs and greater earning potential through the program.
Uber drivers in Europe can find information about EV offers through the driver app, direct mail and driver webinars, the company said. Prices for vehicles won’t vary depending on driver location.