American ridesharing company Lyft – which is not yet currently available in Australia – announced this week that by 2030, 100% of all vehicles driving on the Lyft platform will be electric vehicles, a move which the company hopes will avoid tens of millions of metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
In a powerful announcement published on Wednesday, Lyft – in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund – described its new goal as a natural next step stemming from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies around the world, caused unimaginable heartbreak, loss and stress, and wreaked havoc on businesses large and small, including here at Lyft,” the company wrote.
“Yet amidst these extraordinary challenges, one thing has become very clear: COVID-19 has presented us with a unique challenge to rebuild our businesses and communities in ways that are better, cleaner and more sustainable for the future.”
As such, Lyft will now begin working with drivers to transition to electric vehicles over the next decade (the company also included “other zero-emission technologies” under the heading of ‘electric vehicles’).
The new target for all-electric vehicles includes all aspects of Lyft’s platform, including its Express Drive rental car partner program for rideshare drivers, their consumer rental car program for riders, and their autonomous vehicle program, as well as drivers’ personal cars.
Lyft believes that “the potential benefits to drivers are very significant” and that, although the upfront cost of switching to EVs is currently more expensive than gas-powered cars, “EVs have lower fuel and maintenance costs that mean lower costs for drivers over the life of the vehicle.”
Lyft points to its own Express Drive rental car program, where “drivers renting cars … save an average of $50-70 per week on fuel costs alone.”
The San Francisco-based company also pointed to the expectations that these savings will “increase over time as the cost of EV batteries continues to come down,” adding that “EV battery costs have already decreased nearly 90% since 2010, and we expect that by mid-decade, EVs will be more economical for rideshare drivers than gasoline cars.”
“Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “Success breeds success, and if we do this right, it creates a path for others.
If other rideshare and delivery companies, automakers and rental car companies make this shift, it can be the catalyst for transforming transportation as a whole.”
Lyft has already begun making changes to increase the number of electric vehicles on its platform, including the introduction of hundreds of new EVs through the Express Drive program in Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver, while Express Drive rental partners are eligible for state tax incentives in Colorado.
To ensure their own transition to 100% EVs, Lyft will be working with the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental leaders to accelerate progress towards their commitment by overcoming what they believe are “the two significant barriers currently preventing wide-scale electrification: up-front cost of the vehicle and access to reliable, affordable charging.”
“As we move to repair the COVID-battered global economy, we have a chance to rebuild better and create a cleaner, more prosperous and more equitable future. Getting there will require investing in clean energy to create jobs and reduce pollution, and radically shifting how we move people and products,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.
“Lyft’s commitment accelerates momentum toward this future and sets the standard for other tech and transportation leaders to follow suit.”