It may not be among the best known ride hailing apps globally, but mobility as a service provider FREE NOW has strong sustainability goals that will certainly appeal to its European users. The Hamburg, Germany-headquartered business was formed in Feb-2019 as a joint venture between BMW and Daimler Mobility and now operates in more than 100 cities across Europe, with 14 million passengers and more than 150,000 drivers.
In the United Kingdom, it works with black cab and PHV drivers in London, with the black cab service is also available in Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Brighton, Reading, Oxford, Derby and Leicester. It recently announced its commitment to making all taxis in its UK market electric by 2024 and all private hire vehicles by 2025.
Across Europe, the mobility platform has set a goal of making all of its trips zero-emission by 2030 and in the meantime, while these goals are met, is promising to offset all emissions from 2020 onwards, including through preservation and regeneration of forests and planting more than 20,000 trees across European cities.
As part of its Green Pledge, FREE NOW is now working with drivers, passengers, regulators, the Government and businesses in the UK, including through investing over GBP20 million into supporting drivers to switch to electric vehicles.
FREE NOW merged with Kapten last year to bring black cabs and private hire vehicles together in one app for the first time, has the largest electric fleet in Europe and the largest green fleet of black cabs (around 80% of all electric taxis in the London market are thought to now be available on FREE NOW).
“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,” says Mariusz Zabrocki, UK general manager at FREE NOW.
The app already offers an EV booking option to allow passengers to choose greener journeys and has already taken a number of steps towards becoming net-zero and combating climate change, including becoming the first large player in the UK ride-hailing market to complete more than half its taxi trips in electric vehicles.
Last year FREE NOW became the first mobility platform to enable a solely electric booking option for business travellers, after surveying business leaders in the City of London and finding nine out of 10 would be placing sustainability as a priority following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘green’ promise goes beyond simply switching to electric vehicles. FREE NOW promises to invest GBP10 million to support passengers to go green and will build greener travel. incentives into its loyalty programme. It promises to work to help businesses access greener travel right away and to reach their own sustainability goals.
It will also share data with local authorities, regulators and Government to ensure there is the right infrastructure for an EV future, also partnering with CHARGE NOW in all markets to give drivers access to over 175,000 charge points across Europe. Until non-electric vehicles are removed from its platform it also pledges to offset all remaining emissions, focusing on preservation and regeneration of forests, including local planting of more than 20,000 trees across European cities.