Lyft drivers will be the first to receive all-electric Chevy Bolts as they roll off the production line later this year, a Lyft executive said Wednesday.
“Drivers on the Lyft platform will be receiving Bolts to drive first,” said Emily Castor, Lyft’s director of transportation. Castor spoke at the World Mobility Leadership Forum at Metro Airport in Detroit.
Lyft will not buy the electric cars for its fleet. The company links riders with about 315,000 drivers contractor drivers in about 200 U.S. cities.
General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft earlier this year, and created the Express Drive rental program for Lyft drivers. Express Drive is being expanded to Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to give more Lyft drivers the chance to rent GM vehicles on a weekly basis. The program is also available in Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Express Drive offers Lyft drivers the opportunity to rent the GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox, Malibu, Volt and, by the end of this year, the 2017 Bolt EV.
Lyft will also have a first shot at trying out self-driving Bolts during a test phase.
General Motors, earlier this year, assigned its former executive chief engineer for electric vehicles Pam Fletcher new duties as executive chief engineer of autonomous tech. Without specifying timing, Fletcher told Tech Insider it could happen sooner than some think.
“We have not made that announcement yet, but what I would say is this is all coming much faster than people anticipate, so I’ll say that much. We have been transparent about that,” she said. “We are working on an on-demand ride-sharing network with Lyft, it’s not something we are thinking about, it’s something we are very much readying for consumer use.”
Earlier this month, Lyft president John Zimmer said that by 2021, more than half the rides Lyft provides will take place in autonomous vehicles.
As for now, more human drivers are needed. Castor said that in the near term the need for drivers will grow as Lyft plans to increase the number of cities and routes it serves.