As renewable energy develops vigorously in the power sector, the focus of carbon reduction is now gradually shifting to the solution in eliminating fossil fuel for transportation, which prompts the increasing attention on electric vehicles. Ridesharing platform Lyft decided to take the lead in the carbon reduction regulation program of California by having announced in June 2020 that the company will adopt 100% electric vehicles by 2030.
The announcement stated that all vehicles of Lyft will be switched to electric vehicles or other zero carbon emission vehicles. Lyft is free to switch all vehicles from its Express Drive rental service to electric vehicles as they belong to the company, which induces insignificant technical issues, though most vehicles from the Lyft platform are privately owned, and Lyft would have to propose a certain incentive and subsidy solutions to encourage these owners to switch to eco-friendly models.
Lyft has hitchhiked the technology advancement of electric vehicles. With the continuous price reduction of batteries as we arrive at 2020, Lyft believes that the economic benefits of electric vehicles will create substantial incentives for switching vehicles, where the incentives are particularly profound for owners of vehicles for the Lyft ridesharing platform due to the high frequency of vehicle usage, which makes them more sensitive to the price differences of fuel. Generally speaking, owners who participate in the electric vehicle rental program of Lyft in Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver will be able to save roughly US$50-70 per week on fuel cost.
This vote of confidence on economic benefits, along with the company’s diligent efforts, have prompted Lyft to anticipate owners to switch to electric vehicles in the next 10 years. Lyft will be concatenating existing incentive and subsidy solutions of the government, advocating new government incentive solutions, coordinating with automotive manufacturers on price reduction in order to elevate demand and reduce costs through mass production, as well as assisting in the establishment of electric vehicle infrastructures to facilitate effective and reliable results.
The Government of California began noticing the carbon emission from vehicles under ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft by having approved on the carbon emission standards for this type of company in 2018, which will be implemented in 2023. In 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) discovered that vehicles of ridesharing companies emit 50% more carbon than general vehicles, which is primarily derived from the distance the owners travel between the drop off point for the previous customer and the next pick-up location, which occupies 39% of the total travel distance, as well as the idling time for the next order.
On the other hand, what a ridesharing company replaces is not personal driving, but the usage of public transportation, where the carbon emission will only increase continuously. Nonetheless, the ratio of carbon emission from ridesharing vehicles is relatively low; take California as an example, a small passenger vehicle produces 30% of total greenhouse gas, yet a ridesharing vehicle would only produce 1% of what the former emits.
However, California persists on the regulation over the carbon emission issue for ridesharing platforms, which is one of the reasons in Lyft deciding on a comprehensive vehicle electrification. The existing incentive program on low carbon emission for the company will be completely revoked, and the resources will be used to implement vehicle electrification. As for Uber, the main competitor of Lyft has yet to announce related goals in vehicle electrification, thus creating innovative marketing talks for the latter.
(Cover photo source: Lyft)