Transition will help the environment by reducing pollution
Lyft which operates in the US and some Canadian cities believes that by working with auto manufacturers, rental car companies, and its independent contractor drivers it will be able to prevent tens of millions of metric tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere through the transition from fossil fuel powered vehicles.
John Zimmer, president of Lyft said: “Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities. Success breeds success, and if we do this right, it creates a path for others.”
Idea of EV mandates for ride-sharing companies gaining ground
The view that ride-sharing companies are environmentally friendly has been touted by some as they have expanded in many larger cities. However, studies have shown that the average ride-share trip creates about 50 percent more pollution than an average traditional car trip. Studies also show that half of all ride-hailing trips in major cities are made by people who would have otherwise chosen cleaner means of transit such as public transportation.to get to their destination.
Becoming all EVs will be difficult
Lyft will first change more of its Express Drive rental cars to EVs. The program allows those who have no car to become Lyft drivers through the rental. Lyft will try to make EV’s available for rent at the same or even lower weekly rental rates as comparable gas powered vehicles by 2023 in at least 10 of their largest markets. Regulatory filings show that Lyft has tens of thousands of cars in 30 US cities for short term rentals. Express Drive has apparently earned one billion dollars since it began in 2016. However, many drivers find the Express Drive involves low payouts and onerous requirements about the number of trips made according to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2018 Uber, Lyft”s large competitor had a pilot project that offered incentives for drives to switch to EVs. However, it never expanded the program after the pilot project ended.
Lyft claims it will “organize demand-side interest in EVs and negotiate with auto manufacturers for group discounts for drivers using the Lyft platform.” Lyft also claims it will be able to persuade auto manufacturers to increase the selection and supply of more affordable EVs with longer ranges. Many manufactures are already making plans to have large lineups of electrified vehicles in the hope that the vehicles will become more attractive as a more environmentally friendly vehicle than those powered by fossil fuels.
In spite of the fact that the Trump administration has recently allowed automakers to make more polluting vehicles, Lyft will lobby for aggressive zero-emission policies that will favor EVs.
Lyft hopes its policies will reduce the cost of EVs, improve charging and develop special promotions that will make EVs more attractive to their drivers. In a blog post the company said: “By aggregating the collective demand of the driver community, we can help drivers transition to EVs over time in a way that saves drivers money.”
Most ride-sharing still through gas-powered vehicles
L:yft has been trying to portray itself for years as committed to environment sustainability but with limited success. For example it has invested millions in an attempt to become carbon neutral. The company has also tried to encourage drivers to take multiple passengers on rides but drivers have been reluctant to do this especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the vast majority of ride shares at present are still by fossil-fuel powered vehicles.
Newest effort is the most comprehensive yet by Lyft
Lyft is partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund and the Climate Group in its latest efforts. It has also collected numerous favorable quotes from well-known environmentalists and policymakers, including Representative Frank Pallone a Democrat and Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
The company has not disclosed how much it must invest to electrify its total fleet. A spokesperson said: “The transition to EVs is baked into our operating costs.”