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Lyft to use only electric cars by 2030

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Daniel Howley
·Technology Editor
·3 min read
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Lyft co-founders John Zimmer, front third from left, and Logan Green, front third from right, cheer as they as they ring a ceremonial opening bell in Los Angeles, Friday, March 29, 2019. On Friday the San Francisco company's stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "LYFT." (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Lyft co-founders John Zimmer, front third from left, and Logan Green, front third from right, cheer as they as they ring a ceremonial opening bell in Los Angeles, Friday, March 29, 2019. On Friday the San Francisco company's stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "LYFT." (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Lyft (LYFT) has announced an aggressive plan to only allow electric vehicles on its platform by 2030. The news, which the company announced on Wednesday, calls for everything from ride-sharing cars and trucks and Lyft Express Drive to Lyft rentals and self-driving vehicles to be completely electric within the decade.

The move comes as an increasing number of politicians and researchers call for ride-hailing platforms to transition to all-electric vehicles to offset the increase in carbon emissions caused by the fleets of cars and trucks used to transport their customers.

According to a Dec. 2019 report by the California Air Resources Board, statewide ride-sharing platforms, or transportation network companies as the board calls them, emitted 50% more greenhouse gases than the state’s standard passenger vehicle fleet.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, meanwhile, issued a memo in January, stating that ride-sharing vehicles are not only used more than standard passenger cars and trucks, they also replace lower impact alternatives like public transportation.

And the Environmental Protection Agency lists transportation as the number one source of greenhouse emissions as of 2018, ahead of even electricity production.

Making the switch to electric

Getting all of Lyft’s drivers to switch to electric vehicles by 2030, however, will be a herculean task. The company had roughly 2 million drivers as of 2018, the last date data was made available, and ensuring each of those vehicles is electric in less than 10 years will take serious coordination on the company’s part.

To that end, Lyft says that by working with “policymakers and partners, and harnessing the power of the driver community, we 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.”

Specifically, Lyft says it’s working with the Environmental Defense Fund and The Climate Group to bring its goals to fruition.

The company says that drivers who use the company’s Express Drive service, which allows them to rent cars to provide rides to passengers, save $50 to $70 a week on fuel costs when using electric vehicles.

As for the fact that electric cars and trucks cost more than their gas-powered siblings, Lyft says pricing between the vehicle types should even out by 2025. The company also says it is ending its carbon offsets program. Carbon offsets allow firms to pay for investments in green investment projects to help offset the amount of carbon emissions they are responsible for.

The idea is that with the investments, green energy offerings will become more readily available, and lead to a reduction in emissions over time.

But Lyft says its own efforts will eliminate its emissions entirely, and result in dramatically lower greenhouse gas production than using an offset program. In the interim, however, Lyft will see an increase in its emissions, since it will not have an active offset program in place.

If the company is able to meet its 2030 goal, though, it would result in significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

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