The health crisis which is hitting VTC operators hard does not prevent them from taking initiatives in terms of CSR (Social and environmental responsibility).
After Uber, it is Free Now's turn to make commitments to make its VTC more virtuous in terms of sustainable development.
We want to have a significant impact on climate change
", said in a statement Marc Berg, boss of the platform which, in Western Europe, is the biggest competitor of the American giant.
Concretely, the German group which operates in France in three agglomerations (Paris, Lyon and Nice) made Wednesday the promise to perform 50% of its shopping in electric vehicle by 2025 and all in 2030. Almost a copy and paste of the announcement made by Uber in September 2020: it too has set the same goals in Europe and North America.
In France, the American group listed on Wall Street has introduced an intermediate deadline (2024) where diesel vehicles will be banned from its fleet.
On other continents (Asia, Africa, etc.), it is aiming for carbon neutrality in 2040.
If these two very big players are heading in this direction, it is because they are strongly encouraged to do so.
Because more and more European countries, regions or cities are considering banning the circulation of combustion vehicles in the coming years.
The capital of Norway has already banned vehicles running on fossil fuels.
Paris would like to apply this measure in 2030. Germany is considering it for the same deadline ...
Get ahead of the obligation
In addition, this policy of anticipating an obligation can constitute a good marketing argument to stand out among customers, who are increasingly concerned about preserving the planet.
Thus, the small Chinese VTC platform, Caocao, present in Paris for a year, operates a fleet of 200 all electric vehicles.
This is all the more valuable as, in this area, not all operators are so demanding.
For example, the Estonian platform, Bolt, which has a strong presence in France, has not made such a strict commitment.
To keep their promise, Free Now and Uber will financially help their drivers.
A necessity because an electric vehicle is more expensive to purchase than a thermal vehicle.
And this investment is very heavy in a period when races are rare because of the pandemic: "
Currently, our activity is down 65% compared to last year at the same period
", recognizes Antoine Lieutaud, General Manager from Free Now France.
A subsidiary of car manufacturers Daimler and BMW, the German VTC platform will mainly grant reductions for the purchase or rental of electric cars.
The discount can go up to 25% on purchase.
And a 15% discount will be made for recharging.
In addition, a partnership with the Charge Now app will allow drivers to know in real time which are the nearest charging stations that are available.
In Paris, they will also have privileged access to six RATP charging stations.
Uber has also provided that drivers have reductions on Renault and Nissan electric vehicles or can install an EDF charging station in their homes at minimum cost.
But the group relies above all on a sophisticated incentive system which will favor very active drivers on its app.
Those who work 42 hours a week for the platform for three years will be entitled to 4,500 euros to buy an electric car.
The subsidy will be limited to 1,500 euros after three years for those working only fifteen hours per week.
To meet its goal, Uber will invest 800 million dollars (658 million euros) against 100 million euros for Free Now.
But the American leader in VTC has 5 million drivers, against 250,000 for the German platform.