Lyft News

Working toward a fully electric future — and challenging partners to do the same

Darcy Yee - Nov 14, 2019
Poster - lyft-denver-ev-2019

As we build a company that connects people seamlessly, affordably, and reliably across all modes of transportation, we’re committed to doing so in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions—so our cities can be healthier, safer and more prosperous for all.

We’re announcing a big step forward in this commitment today in Denver, where Lyft is launching 200 long-range electric vehicles (EVs) into our Denver Express Drive rental program. This is our largest single deployment of EVs to date—the largest single deployment in Colorado’s history, and one of the largest in the nation—and it will enable more Lyft drivers to choose EVs instead of conventional vehicles.

The largest barrier preventing drivers on our platform from adopting EVs today is vehicle cost. While there are federal and local programs to encourage consumer EV sales, many drivers do not have access to financing required to purchase or lease a new car. Rideshare rentals are an effective, flexible way to overcome this hurdle and provide access to those who have been previously excluded. And once in the hands of drivers, EVs can increase net driver earnings—after our first deployments, EV renters in our Express Drive program have saved approximately $70-100 per week on fuel costs alone.

Lyft is striving to make every ride 100% electric over time. This transition starts with electrifying fleets like those that are part of Lyft’s Express Drive rental program, which because of their higher utilization, will have an even larger positive impact when compared with personally owned EVs.

This progress in Denver is made possible by forward-thinking policy in Colorado, where state and local leaders are accelerating EV adoption by improving existing EV incentive programs to allow rideshare rental programs to participate at scale.

Because EVs are more economical for drivers, cleaner for the cities we serve, and a vital part of our collective effort to confront and reverse the growing impacts of climate change, we want to scale our electrification actions beyond Colorado. But we can’t do it alone. We need partners—policymakers, regulators, utilities, NGOs, and automakers—to work with us to address the barriers that are currently preventing widespread rideshare and fleet electrification.

Sustainability has always been an integral part of Lyft’s mission to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. This past year, we’ve been one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets, making every Lyft ride carbon neutral—but, over the long term, we believe it’s our responsibility to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Each Lyft rideshare EV on the road decreases emissions and provides thousands of riders and drivers equal access to clean transport. And as part of that access, we’re going to do our part to show riders the benefits of EVs and dispel misconceptions about range and capability.

How can we work together to make fully electric transportation a reality?

Some states have existing incentive programs that can be great for consumers looking to electrify. However, rental fleets do not typically qualify for these programs since they were created before the advent of ridesharing. This ends up creating a system where only those that can afford an expensive upfront investment in an EV can benefit.

This changed in Colorado, where leaders recognized their EV incentives can be more impactful by encouraging rideshare electrification. And just months after Governor Polis signed into law improvements to the state’s existing EV incentive program, Lyft is delivering on our commitment by making 200 EVs available in Denver and Colorado’s Front Range.

So today, we’re challenging more partners to follow in Colorado’s footsteps by working together with us to create new or adapt existing programs to better serve the rideshare driver community.

Partners interested in accelerating the electric future can join us by:

  • Rewarding EV deployment in high-mileage use cases that increase equitable access to clean transportation

  • Adopting policies for rideshare rental programs that help drivers who can’t afford a personal vehicle

  • Incentivizing, and mitigating barriers to, the deployment of charging infrastructure—both public direct current fast charging (DCFC) and private Level 2 charging at existing multi-unit residences

A Fully Electrified Future

Lyft is working towards a fully electrified platform, across both personally owned and rented vehicles. And when looking at near-term impact, electrifying rideshare rentals is a great way to start—it broadens access to clean technology, multiplies environmental benefits, and distributes these benefits more fairly. Rideshare fleet electrification also has the positive side effect of increasing charging infrastructure and lower costs for all.

Through Express Drive, Lyft provides convenient access to fast charging and this use allows charging operators to recoup their investments faster and build additional public infrastructure benefitting all community members.

We’ve proven that swift and purposeful work with partners can overcome these hurdles and drive near-term action. Lyft is ready to continue rolling up our sleeves and work with partners throughout North America to accelerate an electric, equitable transportation future.

Lyft discontinued its carbon offset program in 2020. Please refer to our investor page for the latest ESG reports and other disclosures related to Lyft's carbon footprint.