Investor Alert

Sept. 17, 2020, 7:01 a.m. EDT

Can Uber And Lyft Keep Their Promise To Go Fully Electric?

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Lyft started this EV move in June 2020 by committing to make 100 percent of its fleet zero emission by 2030. The initiative was launched in collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund. The ambitious plan also included its Express Drive rental car partner program for ride-share drivers, Lyft's campaign to bring in autonomous vehicles, and rental cars for riders.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promising to bring out a similar service for several years -- which he's called the "Tesla Network." Musk has tied it into the company's autonomous vehicle plans, but during last year's 4th quarter earnings call, he said it will have to be done at first by human drivers instead of Tesla's full self-driving system.

"I think it will probably make sense to enable car sharing in advance of the kind of robotaxi fleet because the car sharing can be done before full self-driving is approved by regulators. So it's probably something that we would enable before a sort of robotaxi fleet is enabled," Musk told shareholders.

Shareholders and other analysts will be watching to see if Uber and Lyft can keep their promises to hit their net-zero targets over the next decade. They have had a previous promise fall apart -- that of shared rides removing enough polluting vehicles from the roads to clean up air quality and fight climate change.

That was illustrated by a Union of Concerned Scientists study released in February. Ride-hailing trips typically displace low-carbon trips, such as public transportation, biking, or walking. The study found that Uber and Lyft trips result in an estimated 69 percent more air pollution than the trips they displace.

Switching over their fleets to EVs would reverse it. But convincing all of their independent contractor drivers to only bring in EVs will be a very tough sell for Uber and Lyft.

By Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com


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