Lyft Commits to 100% EVs by 2030

Photo: Lyft

By Julia Pyper, Co-Host Political Climate Podcast

Rideshare service provider Lyft, with support from the Environmental Defense Fund, has announced a significant commitment to reach 100% electric vehicles on its platform by 2030. The company’s strategy includes purchasing EVs for its own rental fleet, as well as supporting a broader ecosystem of policies and best practices to encourage EV adoption, such as working with automakers to bring down prices and help make EV charging more accessible so that drivers want to make the switch.

Why This Matters:  Lyft’s detailed plan to meet the 2030 target could spark transformative change and inspire other business and government leaders to follow suit.  Rideshare companies, such as Uber, are also under pressure to cut down their carbon emissions. Ride-hailing has faced criticism for exacerbating traffic congestion and drawing users away from public transit. Plus, car manufacturers are investing billions to develop electric vehicles and have scores of models either already in showrooms or on track to be introduced soon – but they need a market.  Fleets of cars for the government or large companies are one way to grow this crucial market fast and bring down the price for everyone.

Rideshare Companies Driving Change

The California Air Resources Board is currently developing new emissions regulations for ride-hailing companies that could be presented by the end of this year and take effect in 2023.  “[We] are really excited about this announcement,” Sam Arons, Lyft’s director of sustainability, told the Political Climate podcast. “We think it can help to not only raise our own ambition and step the bar up for ourselves, but also help to inspire others  both the regulators, as well as other folks in the industry to come with us and to say, ‘We need to do more, we need to do better, and let’s work together to make electrification happen.’”

How Will They Do It?

Most of the drivers on Lyft’s platform own their own vehicles but the company wants to encourage them to use EVs. “The idea is that we need to do a lot of hard work over the next 10 years to make EV driving so compelling that all of these drivers are basically jumping out of their chair at the opportunity to drive an EV,” said Arons.  But Lyft’s EV announcement is about more than just about electric cars. It’s also part of a larger corporate sustainability strategy. According to Arons, Lyft has transitioned into a “multimodal transportation platform” that aims to help users get from A to B in the most efficient way possible. That includes connecting riders to drivers, as well as public transit services, bikes and scooters.  “If we don’t disrupt ourselves, someone’s going to disrupt us,” said Arons, on Lyft’s holistic approach to transportation. 

The government in some places is also moving ahead.  For example, the California Air Resources Board is currently developing new emissions regulations for ride-hailing companies that could be presented by the end of this year and take effect in 2023. “Getting to zero emissions is about more than electric vehicles – it’s about making it easier for people to get around without cars,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said in a statement Wednesday. “Lyft’s focus on creating easy access to a network of affordable low-carbon transportation options – including bikes, scooters, EVs, and transit – is a blueprint for the zero-emission transportation system of the future.”

To Go Deeper: Listen to the full interview with Sam Arons on Political Climate.

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