Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Lyft pledges that every vehicle on its platform will be electric by 2030

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Lyft said Wednesday that every car, truck and SUV on its platform will be all electric or powered by another zero-emission technology by 2030, a commitment that will require the company to coax drivers to shift away from gas-powered vehicles.

The target, which Lyft plans to pursue with help from the Environmental Defense Fund, will stretch across multiple programs. It will include the company’s autonomous vehicles, the Express Drive rental car partner program for ride-share drivers, consumer rental cars for riders and personal cars that drivers use on the Lyft app. That personal car category will be the tricky one.

There are important caveats to Lyft’s target that will make it even more challenging to reach. Lyft told TechCrunch it doesn’t plan to disallow drivers from using the Lyft platform if they don’t have an EV, and doesn’t believe that such a requirement would be necessary. That means Lyft will have to make moving to an EV so attractive that drivers will make the leap.

Lyft said told TechCrunch that it doesn’t plan to provide incentives to reach that target either. “We will aggressively promote and help drivers access incentive funds,” a spokesperson said. “If policymakers do their part in the next few years, EVs should reach cost-parity with gasoline vehicles by mid-decade.”

Lyft plans to use the scale of its platform to push competitors, policy makers and the auto industry to transition towards electrification, Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said during a call with reporters Wednesday.

“Lyft is now eight years old and the majority of that time was about surviving and getting to the point where Lyft could have that scale and have that influence,” Zimmer said. “We are there now and it’s on us to lead, we feel that responsibility.”

The company is facing two significant barriers to reaching that 2030 goal. Electric vehicles are still more expensive than most conventional gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs. And the electric vehicle charging infrastructure is not widely accessible or optimized for ride-sharing application. Lyft will lean on the lobbying power of the EDF and other environmental leaders to reach that goal.

Lyft said 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 white paper that was also released Wednesday.

Lyft has also joined The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative and said it will collaborate with a group of companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and “making electric transport the new normal by 2030.”

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