Published on June 24th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan
June 24th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
Lyft published the positive announcement last week that it would be 100% electric by 2030. Naturally, this is significantly uplifting news, since:
- Not many companies have committed to 100% electric vehicles by 2030.
- Lyft’s business is based around driving, which means this will result in an enormous reduction in air pollution and global heating emissions. (Presuming Lyft continues to grow or at least survives.)
- The announcement should inspire other companies to make such commitments.
- The announcement should raise broader consumer awareness around electric vehicles and stimulate more EV purchases.
The responses from some members of CleanTechnica senior staff while eating avocado and cheddar cheese wedges alongside our rooftop pool in the center of Los Altos Hills, California, was essentially whoop dee doo.
In other words, that’s an easy commitment to make. Electric cars have gotten enormously more cost-competitive in the past decade. Costs have fallen off a cliff. They are now more or less at the crossover point (depending on which specific vehicles you compare). Even if you expected slower cost drops in the coming decade, you should realize by now that no one in their right mind will be using a non-electric car for a high-mileage job in 2030. You may as well drive electric and burn cash behind the car as you go for a marketing boost, extra social media klout, and personal entertainment.
Still, I’m the optimistic type, and I was very happy to see the announcement for the reasons espoused at the top.
Also, I do like the intro prose of Lyft’s announcement:
“The year 2020 will go down in history as an inflection point for humankind. The challenges we face today, from the global climate crisis that is ravaging our planet, to the global pandemic that is ravaging our lives, to the global rage at injustice that is ravaging our communities, remind us at once that we are human, and humans make choices.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies around the world, caused unimaginable heartbreak, loss and stress, and wreaked havoc on businesses large and small, including here at Lyft. Yet amidst these extraordinary challenges, one thing has become very clear: COVID-19 has presented us with a unique challenge to rebuild our businesses and communities in ways that are better, cleaner and more sustainable for the future.”
I don’t know who writes for Lyft’s blog, but I like her/him. For what it’s worth, I also really like their design team, but that is one ugly ass car they put at the top of the post. I realize they shouldn’t use a Tesla (after all, Tesla may be a top competitor soon), but give your fake cars a little more aesthetic love.
One more nice thing about the announcement, though — before I drop some of my favorite quotes from notable people and leave the news to you to
fight about discuss — is that it must get the ball rolling on getting more Lyft drivers into electric cars today. You always need a bit of a spark to get people changing, waking up to new possibilities, opening their minds and broadening their horizons. Announcements like this can lead to discussions with freelance drivers, commercial partners, and Lyft passengers. This is a kind of foundation that Lyft can build off of in coming months to continuously persuade people to go electric. Let’s hope the company uses this opportunity in that way. I expect it will.
On to the feelgood quotes, which I’m now discovering reiterate some of my favorite points:
“Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president, Lyft.“Success breeds success, and if we do this right, it creates a path for others. If other rideshare and delivery companies, automakers and rental car companies make this shift, it can be the catalyst for transforming transportation as a whole.” (emphasis mine)
“As we move to repair the COVID-battered global economy, we have a chance to rebuild better and create a cleaner, more prosperous and more equitable future. Getting there will require investing in clean energy to create jobs and reduce pollution, and radically shifting how we move people and products,” said Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund. “Lyft’s commitment accelerates momentum toward this future and sets the standard for other tech and transportation leaders to follow suit.” (emphasis mine)
“It’s exciting to see a commitment like this from a company like Lyft, showing that the sharing economy can also be a place with ambitious climate targets,” Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group. “By working with drivers to electrify an estimated more than 2 million vehicles over the next ten years, Lyft is not only sending a clear signal to policy makers and manufacturers, but will also allow millions of passengers and drivers the chance to experience the benefits of clean transport. A ride-sharing platform such as Lyft making this commitment shows that electric can be the new normal.” (emphasis mine)
The focus of Ms. Clarkson’s statement clearly wasn’t the portion I emphasized, but that is probably the most important part of today’s announcement. Yes, CleanTechnica readers and writers are anything but shocked by the idea that 100% of Lyft’s vehicles will be electric in 2030, but there are many people who have hardly gotten a glimpse of the electric vehicle revolution that is well underway. Some of those people still hold a lot of power at large automakers and in the policy world. Lyft’s commitment and proud announcement tells automakers: build good electric cars if you want our business. Similarly, it tells policymakers: we are 100% with the people of the world, with humanity, and we need strong polices that accelerate the transition to electric transportation today. Kudos and my own personal thank you to Lyft.
There are 11 other statements from notable people on the Lyft blog if you want to read them all, but here’s just one more statement from the company itself that reminded me Lyft offers more than on-demand taxi/ridesharing service:
“The shift to 100% electric vehicles (EVs) for Lyft will mean transitioning all vehicles used on the Lyft platform over the next ten years to all-electric or other zero-emission technologies. This includes cars in the Express Drive rental car partner program for rideshare drivers, our consumer rental car program for riders, our autonomous vehicle program, and drivers’ personal cars used on the Lyft platform.”
I’m looking forward to finding out how soon Lyft transitions its rental car programs to 100% electric vehicles. This year? Next year? That would only be logical, in my opinion, since I expect resale values of non-electric cars to get worse and worse as the decade progresses.
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