Drivers signing up to the Free Now ride-hailing app will have to switch to zero-emissions capable cars in the next three or four years. The jointly Daimler and BMW-owned service has announced that all UK taxis must be electrified by 2024 and all private hire vehicles by 2025.
The mobility platform has set a goal of making all trips throughout Europe zero-emissions by 2030, and until these goals are met, Free Now is promising to offset all emissions from 2020 onwards. This involves preservation and regeneration of forests and planting more than 20,000 trees across European cities.
As part of its Green Pledge, Free Now will invest more than £20 million supporting drivers to switch to electric vehicles. Any black taxi drivers with a cab more than 12 years old by 2023 will need to upgrade to a hybrid taxi to continue taking Free Now jobs. Before the end of 2024, all other non-electric black cabs will be removed from the platform.
Cabbies driving older TX1 and TX2 black taxis must upgrade to an electric black cab before the end of the year to continue working on the platform. Currently more than half of Free Now taxi trips are completed in electric vehicles, and 80% of all electric taxis in the London market are on the app.
Free Now merged with private hire ride-hailing app Kapten last year. Mariusz Zabrocki, UK General Manager, said: “As a business we play an integral part in the evolution of the London ride-hailing industry towards greener and cleaner travel. More journeys are being made in zero-emission-capable vehicles, and with the Government’s recent ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, this is only going to increase.
“We are proud to be the only app to offer electric vehicle booking options, both for PHV and black cab, to enable passengers to choose more environmentally friendly vehicles whenever they travel. We are already at the forefront of this with over half of our taxi trips already being completed in electric vehicles and we have the largest green fleet of black cabs in London.
“We are going one step further and pledging to shift to a fleet that is fully zero emission capable as quickly as possible. Working with drivers, passengers, regulators, the Government and businesses we all need to act now to improve air quality in our cities, making them better places to be.”