BP and Uber help Houston boost EV charging

  • February 8, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson
BP’s Westlake Four building in Houston

Uber is exploring the planning, development and deployment of rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs in Houston to help drivers on Uber’s platform make the transition to electric vehicles.

Working with UK energy firm BP, Uber is identifying potential areas within Houston that could support deployment of BP’s EV charging hubs and create a convenient and equitable network of charging available to the public.

“Collaboration is essential to meeting Houston’s climate goals,” said Houston mayor Sylvester Turner. “Transitioning to EVs is one of the fastest steps we can take to improve air quality and community health in Houston. Rideshare – with its high popularity and diverse customer base – is a perfect place to start. I’m thrilled to see Uber and BP join forces to add to Houston’s goal of increasing the affordability and accessibility of EVs in our community.”

This collaboration supports the city’s emission reduction goals set out in the Houston Climate Action Plan and is part of BP’s global effort to help cities decarbonise. Vehicle electrification is a key strategy for Houston to lead a global transition to clean energy and make significant improvements to community health.

“BP supports Mayor Turner’s vision for Houston and his plan to help drive the transition to a low carbon future,” said William Lin, executive vice president at BP. “We look forward to bringing together the expertise of Uber and BP – building on our existing partnership – to find new and innovative ways to drive down emissions by encouraging more EV use across the city.”

Equitable access to EV charging will help build a sustainable future for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, all members of this pilot programme will be looking at ways to bring EV charging to underserved communities and ensure proportional distribution of infrastructure and resources.

“Ensuring an equitable transition for drivers to EVs requires bold action and, more importantly, thoughtful collaboration across the public and private sectors,” said Shin-pei Tsay, head of transportation and cities policy at Uber. “This programme breaks ground on a new kind of network that’ll include more accessible charging for drivers of all backgrounds and help them move with us towards a greener future.”

Uber has pledged to become a fully zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit or micro-mobility options such as bikes or scooters. To do so, Uber is committing more than $800m in resources to incentivise hundreds of thousands of drivers to transition to battery EVs by 2025.

BP Pulse, BP’s EV charging brand, and Uber partnered recently to offer London-based drivers on Uber’s platform access to special EV charging discounts; the Houston announcement marks the first North American collaboration between the companies.

The city of Houston formed Evolve Houston, a coalition of sustainability-minded civic, business and academic leaders who seek to accelerate clean transportation through electrification, and has established a goal of 30% electric vehicle adoption by 2030. By collaborating with government, academic, private industry and community leaders, Evolve Houston’s goal is to improve regional air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the greater Houston area.

“This initiative is a testament to the city’s leadership and the momentum EVs are gaining in the Energy Capital,” said Chris George, executive director of Evolve Houston. “It will take collaborations like these to continue improving air quality, exceeding emissions reduction targets, and working towards Houston’s 30 by 30 EV goal. Evolve Houston is rooted on the premise of partnership and we look forward to helping more organisations see the value of investing and electrifying in Houston.”