Friday 24 January 2020 12:03 am

Uber ramps up British charm offensive with sweeping Nissan deal

Nissan and Uber have signed a deal that will provide the ride-hailing giant’s drivers with a fleet of new electric cars, as Uber attempts to lay on the charm with on British authorities.

The Japanese car maker will provide 2,000 new Nissan Leaf cars, made at the firm’s factory in Sunderland, to Uber at a significant discount to help make its London workforce of 45,000 drivers fully electric by 2025.

Nissan will also provide Uber with an education programme on electric vehicles and a dedicated marketing strategy to try and increase the amount of drivers switching to a Nissan Leaf.

Uber launched its Clean Air Plan in January last year as part of a bid to tackle air pollution in major cities, at a time when its future in the UK seemed uncertain. The company pledged to commit more than £200m to the plan in order to help support its drivers make the transition, while 15p is added on to the cost of every journey made in London.

Uber is banned in London after Transport for London (TfL) denied the firm’s application for a permanent licence late last year, though it is permitted to continue operating in the city while the matter is under appeal. Its licence in Birmingham is due to expire next week.

A letter from TfL to the Californian firm at the time of its ban, revealed yesterday, said it had been stripped of its licence over “serious doubts” it would be able to prevent breaches that put the public at risk.

The letter detailed some of the breaches that TfL was concerned about, which included drivers providing services without having proper insurance in place, and unauthorised persons being able to impersonate drivers on the app.

Uber said almost 900,000 journeys have been made in electric vehicles since the introduction of the plan, at a year-on-year increase of more than 350 per cent.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps called the tie-up “fantastic”, as part of his vision for greener transport choices becoming “the new normal”.

Uber’s northern Europe boss Jamie Heywood said the partnership was “a hugely significant step towards meeting this goal”.

The agreement will also be beneficial for Nissan, with its Sunderland base being the only plant outside of Japan to build the Leaf. It sold approximately 4,500 of the cars last year.

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