Lyft Running Autonomous Electric Fleet Powered By ‘100% Renewable Energy’

Ride-hailing company Lyft has committed to make sure that its fleet of electric, autonomous vehicles will be powered by “100% renewable energy.”

That doesn’t mean that all of these electric vehicles will only receive power through renewable energy like wind and solar. Lyft will use that fleet as the benchmark for purchasing renewable energy credits that offset any of the emissions associated with charging its electric autonomous vehicles – and operating non-electric vehicles in the automated fleet, the company said.

The “100% renewable energy” campaign will start with its recently enacted partnership with self-driving tech supplier NuTonomy. The two companies will be deploying a fleet of autonomous EVs on the streets of Boston starting later this year during a public trial project.

Lyft hopes that going this route will provide one billion rides per year using these autonomous EVs.

The company has been making a series of alliances with large companies such as Waymo and General Motors to jettison its presence in the future of advanced mobility.

Renewable energy credits, or certificates, are being utilized by several major U.S. companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and support climate change initiatives. The U.S. Department of Energy offers an online guide listing renewable energy providers in the U.S. participating in the program.

Each credit represents one megawatt-hour of renewable energy generated by a participating plant operator. These certificates are offered for purchase on the open market through brokers.

Lyft joined up with a coalition of businesses and local governments that pledged to follow the Paris climate change accord, no matter what President Donald Trump decided to do.

The ride-hailing firm also brought in environmentalist Paul Hawken, executive director of Project Drawdown, as its climate advisor.

Not all of the one billion self-driving vehicle rides offered by Lyft in 2025 will be electric.

It’s “possible we may test a variety of prototype vehicle types in the future during the developmental phases of this technology,” said a company spokesperson.

As EV technology matures, the company expects, “the vast majority of the vehicles on our platform will be electric,” he said.

Lyft’s founders believe that electric autonomous rides will ramp up EV sales.

“We believe that ridesharing, combined with autonomous vehicles, will be the driving force that brings electric vehicles from a tiny portion (~0.1 percent) of all cars on the road today to a significant majority within 20 years,” co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer wrote in a blog post.

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Green and Zimmer said that these automated EVs will do something that typical personal vehicles miss out on.

“The average car is used only 4 percent of the time and for electric vehicles, it takes 10 years or more to recover the cost premium through fuel savings. In comparison, Lyft vehicles can be used much more efficiently — an electric, autonomous Lyft vehicle will be utilized over 50% of the time and payback its costs in just a few years through operational savings,” they wrote.

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