In this episode of our CleanTech Talk podcast interview series, Zachary Shahan, Director and CEO of CleanTechnica, and Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability at Lyft, sit down to talk about Lyft’s transition to 100% electric vehicles. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.
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In June of 2020, in light of intersecting global crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and racial injustice, Lyft announced its commitment to achieving 100% electric vehicles by 2030. As Sam put it, it was an opportunity to be a part of the movement to build back better and in a more equitable way. He felt that the commitment was just the start of playing a role in moving the ecosystem of transportation in a more sustainable direction.
Zach and Sam dive into what this commitment has meant for Lyft, starting at why the move makes sense for more reasons than just sustainability. With lower operating costs than gasoline vehicles, Sam says that electric vehicles are going to be more economically beneficial for drivers at Lyft. At the company, there are two types of drivers: those who bring their own car to the platform, and those who rent cars from Lyft. Lyft will focus on the latter group first for the EV transition, and they expect to take what they learn from that population to encourage vehicle owners on the Lyft network to make the change as well.
Sam and Zach also explore broader EV incentives and the ways in which Lyft has worked to harness those incentives for its drivers. They also talk through some of the biggest challenges Lyft has and plans to encounter along this journey, including the technology of quality charging and decentralized access to those tools. Sam says he hopes that they are able to support drivers in getting EV charging installed in their place of residence.
Sam notes that Lyft made this 100% EV goal because they believe they can actually achieve it, due to recent advances in battery technology and continual development of new EV models, which are broadening and deepening the market. He is looking forward to figuring out good programs to plug into, and what different competitors decide to work toward in the EV shift as well.
Will there be a shift to autonomous vehicles? Sam says it is not their focus at the moment, but that Lyft is looking into testing out autonomous vehicles. We’ll have to follow up on that topic in a year or so.
To hear more on these topics, listen to the show!