Uber announced on Thursday that it will only accept electric cars on the TVDE platform (individual and paid passenger transport in uncharacterized vehicles). The measure will take effect on July 16 and will be implemented in the “largest cities in the country corresponding to the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, districts of Braga and Faro”, says the company in a statement.
The company says that the “decision aims to accelerate the electrification of trips made through Uber, making an important contribution to improving the quality of life in Portuguese cities and decarbonizing the transport sector”. In addition, the company adds that “partners will be able to continue to add non-electric vehicles in the event of replacement of a vehicle already registered on the platform or for Uber Black or UberXL services.
This restrictive measure on access to the platform for new drivers comes at a time when Uber is overcoming difficulties due to the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic. In early May, Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s chief executive, abdicated his salary at the same time he announced that 3,000 employees were about to be made redundant. Two weeks later, the company cut back and laid off 3,700 people. This impact is also felt in Portugal, with Uber dismissing around 120 people in the Lisbon area in June.
Uber dismisses about 120 people from the Center of Excellence in Lisbon
In order to captivate drivers who want to integrate the platform with electric cars, Uber says that when they register, they will have “exclusive access to a network of 14 charging points across the country, as part of the partnership between Uber and the Portuguese startup PowerDot ”. The Uber Green option, which allows the user to choose an electric vehicle through the Uber app, was launched in Portugal in 2016.
Uber bets on Portuguese startup to create electric charging network for drivers
Uber had already announced a partnership with this Portuguese company in September 2019. During the month of July, PowerDot will expand its network of points [hubs] of energy with two new launches in partnership with Uber: one in Lisbon (Entrecampos) and one in Porto (Bessa), for a total of six energy hubs across the country (for a total of 14 charging points).
We know what lies ahead but we hope that initiatives like this can help mobilize private partners and public authorities and that this effort, which must be joint, can make a difference. We want to be in this new normal with better conditions than when we entered and electric mobility is one of the pillars of this strategy ”, says Manuel Pina, general director of Uber in Portugal.
Manuel Pina also says he wants to “continue to contribute to the development and adoption of electric mobility in Portugal”, as he has been doing since Uber launched its first 100% electric product in 2016. “Electrification in the transport sector still has obstacles structural issues ahead such as the development of charging infrastructure, or the affordable offer of electric vehicles, so this transition will always have to be gradual ”, he considers.
The Lisbon City Council announced in early June restrictions on entry into the historic center, one of which requires all TVDE (including Uber) to be electric cars in order to be able to circulate in this area.
Downtown Lisbon with limited access to cars from June