Taxi app Free Now has recorded a 630% increase in demand for its Eco booking service in the first quarter of 2022.
Launched in major cities across Ireland last year, the Eco booking option allows passengers to choose more sustainable transport options by selecting a hybrid or electric taxi on the app at no extra cost.
The initiative forms part of Free Now's ambition of achieving 50% fully electric vehicle rides by 2025 and to be the first mobility platform in Europe to reach net-zero emissions by 2030
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Free Now has also announced that it has added over 600 EVs to its fleet since the start of 2021 and a third of the fleet is now electric or hybrid compared to 24% in 2022. Free Now expects to have 1,120 EVs on the road by the end of 2022.
Recent research of Free Now driver partners reveals that of those that currently drive a hybrid or EV, 41% made the switch for environmental reasons while 37% made the switch due to cheaper running costs. In addition, 70% of driver partners say that they are in favour of increased electrification of taxi fleets to help the sector reach its carbon reduction goal.
Statement By Free Now Head of Public Affairs And Operations
Free Now head of public affairs and operations Fiona Brady stated, "Since launching our Eco booking option last year, we have seen a significant increase in demand for this service in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. This surge in bookings is driven by the increased availability of hybrid and EV vehicles on our app as well as the continued growing demand for more sustainable options from our passengers.
"Supporting the national effort to develop a more sustainable transport system across Ireland is a crucial part of our agenda and the success of the Eco booking and the increased electrification of our fleet is another milestone in helping us reach our sustainability targets.
"We are also working closely with our driver partners to support them in making the switch to electric. Last year we invested €6 million to help taxi drivers across the country purchase home chargers for EVs and this year we are hosting EV roadshows across the country to educate drivers on the benefits of switching to electric."
Free Now is also working with Climate Partner to develop offset projects to compensate for the current output of CO2 emissions produced by both the company and its services.
Free Now said that, in total, it is offsetting 173,000 tons of CO2 emissions with three projects in Madre de Dios, Peru (dedicated to protecting a threatened piece of the Amazon); in Indonesia (extending wind energy in the region and developing rural areas); and in Europe (supporting the afforestation and the change of local forests by regional tree.
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