Last year, Lyft improved its standing with riders and followers who have serious concerns about environmental safety. Lyft became the first and only company of its kind to become carbon neutral. This year, Lyft is initiating the next step, doing more for riders, drivers, and cities. Lyft now plans to introduce thousands of electric vehicles (EVs) onto its platform, as part of its Green Cities Initiative.
For a driver or rider, and certainly for the pedestrian walking through the crosswalk at a city corner, a zero-emissions car makes all the difference in the local air. Zero emissions helps us immediately by improving air quality.
It will be easier as a rider to request an electric ride or a hybrid ride over a polluting gas car, so you will not have to own an EV to have a lighter CO2 footprint in transport.
With it easier for riders to request EVs through Green Mode, I’m sure Lyft’s efforts will gain riders who avoided on-demand platforms before due to gas emissions. [Editor’s note: That’s me. Sometimes.] People want cleaner transportation options.
The EV transition will also improve the day to day quality of work for Lyft drivers, and it will increase net earnings for Lyft’s driver community.
I researched Lyft as an all-electric driver in 2017. See “EV Advocacy And More Efficient Driving Via Lyft as a Cultural Intersection.” One thing riders loved was me explaining how the 100% electric Nissan LEAF worked and charged. And, oh yes, they enjoyed the smooth and quiet ride, which is refreshing as a rider. No one missed the gas smell or the vroom vroom. Truthfully, at the time, I wondered how drivers buying gas made much money at all.
I would generally mention to riders that we were in an all-electric car, as a slight educational tool and an effort to promote EVs. This stimulated a line of questions many times — How long does a charge last? Where do you charge? How far can you drive on a charge? How long does it take you to charge?
A Lyft or Uber ride offers a cultural cross-section, a moment of interrelationship that lets us reflect on society. It is very supportive and tantalizing at times. Not always, but typically, I became a gently nudging EV educator if given the opportunity. Both riders and drivers can enjoy the discourse about EVs.
Air pollution is a topic I liked to bring up. I started conversations on that topic if it seemed smooth enough to do so.
Here’s more from Lyft about its more sustainable transportation shift: “Replacing gasoline-powered cars with EVs is a significant step forward in our efforts to fight climate change, and to improve the quality of life in our cities. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, EVs produce less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles over their lifetime.
“This effort will reduce the amount of emissions created by vehicles on the Lyft platform. Following the commitments we made last year, all EV charging will be covered by 100% renewable electricity.”
Green Mode: A Cleaner Option for Riders
Not all cars will be 100% electric. There will also be hybrids in Green Mode (for now). “After hearing rider requests for cleaner vehicle options, passengers will be able to choose hybrid or electric vehicles through Green Mode — first in Seattle starting today, and then in other parts of the country. This is part of our larger effort to provide eco-friendly transportation options across our platform.
“By launching Lyft scooters, becoming America’s largest bike-share service through our acquisition of Motivate, and integrating public transit into the Lyft app, we’re working to create a better future for the communities we serve, and to provide more options for our riders.”
EV Rentals on Express Drive: Helping Drivers Save Money
I think this option will set Lyft apart — EV rentals for drivers. Offering its drivers a higher quality of vehicle will not only help them economically, but also with respect. Respect for the environment engenders respect on many levels. Hopefully, other on-demand services will follow Lyft’s higher standard of service and employment.
Lyft continues, “Drivers consistently tell us they want to increase their hourly net earnings by lowering fuel costs. In addition, over 80% of those drivers told us they favor eco-friendly vehicle options.
“We’ve taken these requests to heart. Lyft is launching EVs as an expansion of Express Drive, a rental program which allows those who don’t own a vehicle to earn with Lyft. Through our rental partners, Express Drive connects drivers to rental vehicles with unlimited mileage and standard maintenance, as well as insurance coverage.
“As part of the initial launch, unlimited charging will be included in the weekly rental rate. Since electricity is less expensive than gasoline and EVs are significantly more fuel-efficient than conventional vehicles, the typical cost to travel in an EV is half that of traveling in a gasoline-powered car. Combining lower fuel costs with affordable rental rates, we anticipate that individual drivers can save hundreds of dollars per month, and thousands of dollars per year, on fuel costs alone.”
Express Drive EVs will be introduced throughout the year, and are already in Seattle and Atlanta fleets.
I’m sure this customer-loving taxi driver would be driving an all-electric taxi if EVs had been around in his time: