Lyft commits to 100% electric vehicles by 2030
In a recent blog from Lyft, the ridesharing company described that the year 2020 will go down in history as an inflection point for humankind. 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 at Lyft. Yet the company says that amidst these extraordinary challenges, one thing has become very clear: COVID-19 has presented us all with a unique challenge to rebuild our businesses and communities in ways that are better, cleaner, and more sustainable for the future.
And the company says it has chosen to stand up and accelerate efforts to address the climate crisis. With transportation recently overtaking electricity as the single largest source of planet-disrupting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the U.S. and the second-largest source in Canada, the company says now is the time for it to lead a radical shift in strategy.
Lyft—in collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund—announced a commitment to reach 100% electric vehicles on its platform by 2030. By working with drivers to transition to electric vehicles, it says it has the potential to avoid tens of millions of metric tons of GHG emissions to the atmosphere and to reduce gasoline consumption by more than a billion gallons over the next decade.
“Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities,” said John Zimmer, Co-Founder and President, 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."
“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,” said Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund. “Getting there will require investing in clean energy to create jobs and reduce pollution, and radically shifting how we move people and products. Lyft’s commitment accelerates momentum toward this future and sets the standard for other tech and transportation leaders to follow suit.”
The path to zero emissions
The shift to 100% electric vehicles (EVs) for Lyft will mean transitioning all vehicles used on its platform over the next 10 years to all-electric or other zero-emission technologies. This includes cars in the Express Drive rental car partner program for rideshare drivers, consumer rental car program for riders, its autonomous vehicle program, and drivers’ personal cars used on the Lyft platform.
By helping to solve one of the biggest pieces of the climate challenge, the company believes it can provide direct economic benefits to rideshare drivers and environmental benefits to communities most heavily impacted by smog and asthma.
The company says that although the upfront cost of EVs today is higher than gas-powered cars, EVs have lower fuel and maintenance costs that mean lower costs for drivers over the life of the vehicle. It sees this already with drivers renting cars through Express Drive, who currently save an average of $50-70 per week on fuel costs alone. And it expects these savings to increase over time as the cost of EV batteries continues to come down. EV battery costs have already decreased nearly 90% since 2010, and the company expects that by mid-decade, EVs will be more economical for rideshare drivers than gasoline cars.
By working with policymakers and partners, and harnessing the power of the driver community, the company says it can drive down the cost of EVs, expand EV incentives and infrastructure, and help drivers switch to electric over time in a way that is cost-effective, sustainable, and profitable.
In 2018, the company says it made all rides on its platform carbon-neutral through its carbon offsets program, the first step it could take to immediately mitigate GHG emissions on the platform. But now the company is ending its carbon offsets program to focus efforts on direct decarbonization through the switch to EVs. The company says that while this means net emissions from cars used on the Lyft platform may increase in the short term, shifting to 100% EVs will lead to dramatically lower emissions over the long term.
To reach 100%, last year the company launched hundreds of EVs onto its platform through Express Drive in Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver. In Colorado, for example, it built on the leadership of Governor Polis and policymakers to allow its Express Drive rental partners’ vehicles to be eligible for state tax incentives. This enabled the introduction of hundreds of new EVs in the greater Denver area—aid to be one of the largest EV deployments in the nation to date.
"It's exciting to see a commitment like this from a company like Lyft, showing that the sharing economy can also be a place with ambitious climate targets,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group. “By working with drivers to electrify an estimated more than 2 million vehicles over the next 10 years, Lyft is not only sending a clear signal to policy makers and manufacturers, but will also allow millions of passengers and drivers the chance to experience the benefits of clean transport. A ridesharing platform such as Lyft making this commitment shows that electric can be the new normal."
But the company says to reach its commitment by the end of 2030, it will need to harness the power of its partners to drive radical change. It will require the collective action of industry, government, and nonprofit organizations to overcome the two significant barriers currently preventing wide-scale electrification: upfront cost of the vehicle and access to reliable, affordable charging. So, the company says it is working with the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental leaders to accelerate progress toward its commitment. This will include advancing a policy roadmap and catalyzing the development of tools to help drivers electrify, as described in more detail in its Path to Zero Emissions plan. Lyft says it is also joining The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative to help kickstart the work. As the newest member of EV100, and the largest in terms of vehicle-related commitments, it will be collaborating with a group of companies "committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and making electric transport the new normal by 2030."
For more information, visit lyftimpact.com/electric.