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California Mulls 90% Electric Vehicle Goal for Uber, Lyft (1)

Nov. 19, 2020, 8:53 PMUpdated: Nov. 19, 2020, 11:20 PM

Ninety percent of the cars used in ride-hailing fleets for companies like Uber and Lyft would have to be electric vehicles by 2030, under a rule set to go before California air regulators next year.

During a workshop Thursday, California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff unveiled the state’s latest plans to reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled by drivers for app-based businesses, known as transportation network companies. It marks the first time the air board has contemplated regulating the industry.

Lyft Director of Sustainability Sam Arons said the company has committed to a 100% electric vehicle platform by 2030.

“We should continue to get aggressive in the fight against greenhouse gases, and we look forward to helping CARB meet its goal,” he said in an email.

Representatives from Uber didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

California has some of the nation’s worst air quality, and the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector.

Ride-hailing services tend to operate cleaner cars, but emit 50% more greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile traveled in California than the average car, in part due to dead-head miles when no riders are in the vehicles, according to a 2019 state report.

Ramp Up by 2030

Annual targets would begin in 2023 with a 2% electric vehicle target for fleets, ramping up each year so that the goal is 50% of a fleet in 2027 and 90% by 2030, said Gloria Pak, from the air board’s Advanced Clean Cars Regulations Section.

The rule, a draft regulation that will be published this month, also seeks greenhouse gas reduction targets, requires set reporting from fleets, and encourages linking riders with transit options at the beginning or end of trips. Shared or pooled trips would help companies comply with reduction targets.

The regulation may also offer credits for investing in bike routes and sidewalks, connecting to mass transit, and helping reduce the cost of switching to zero-emission vehicles.

Additional data analysis and delays brought by the coronavirus pandemic delayed the rule, which was supposed to come before the board in January. It is now set for a May hearing.

The California Public Utilities Commission would be charged with monitoring compliance and plans to begin rulemaking on that part early in 2021, said Cody Naylor of the commission’s consumer protection and enforcement division.

(Updated to include comment from Lyft. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily C. Dooley at edooley@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chuck McCutcheon at cmccutcheon@bloombergindustry.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com

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