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Insight: Why the Electrification of Uber and Lyft Vehicles is Imperative for Emission Reduction

(Credit: Pixabay)

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), in collaboration with General Motors, released an insight brief that reveals why the electrification of transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, is crucial to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and addressing some of the key barriers to electrification with actionable recommendations for key stakeholders.

Road-based transportation, overwhelmingly powered by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, emits 6 Gt of CO2 globally each year. Transportation is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and the fastest-growing source of emissions in India and China. Left unaddressed, these emissions will continue to grow through 2050, as global demand for passenger transport is expected to double, and demand for freight transportation is expected to triple.

RMI’s Racing to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption: Decarbonizing Transportation with Ridehailing insight brief leverages 101 million miles of real-world data from General Motors to show that electric ridehailing vehicles can not only effectively replace ICE ridehailing vehicles but will also create catalytic opportunities for the electrification of other transportation sectors by overcoming barriers facing consumers and fleets.

“Electrifying TNCs has significant, direct environmental benefits and an equally critical benefit for the larger market that comes from the public charging infrastructure and consumer exposure to EVs,” said EJ Klock-McCook, principal at RMI.

The insight brief identifies and addresses three key barriers to electrifying ridehailing vehicles:

  1. Technological Capability: EVs must be technologically capable of replacing ICE vehicles in TNC applications. Our research shows that EV technology has advanced to the point where this is generally viable.
  2. Financial Competitiveness: Steps must be taken to improve the financial competitiveness of EVs for ridehailing such as lowering the price and increasing access to charging, enabling EV leasing and rental models, and leveraging the used EV market.
  3. Charging Infrastructure: Robust infrastructure is essential and can be made viable through coordinated stakeholder action and further focused research.

“Urgent and collaborative action from key stakeholders is needed to drive to a climate-aligned goal of deploying over 50 million electric vehicles in the next 10 years. Ridehailing can be that sector that drives widespread EV awareness and moves the market toward an electrification tipping point that is irreversible,” said Britta Gross, managing director, RMI.

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