In his State of the City speech On Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that Uber and Lyft must be emission-free by 2030.
Adams said the move will build on efforts his administration has made to electrify the city’s vehicle fleet while installing charging infrastructure to power those vehicles in the five boroughs. The mayor will likely implement his plan through the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates the car rental industry, including Uber and Lyft.
Uber and Lyft, which normally chafe against new requirements and are known for sue to block rules not liking them sound largely positive about the new development in New York.
Adams said the move will build on efforts his administration has made to electrify the city’s vehicle fleet while also installing charging infrastructure to power those vehicles across the five boroughs.
“We’re excited to partner with New York City on our journey,” Paul Augustine, Lyft’s director of sustainability, said in a statement. “New York’s commitment will accelerate a just transition to electric driving citywide, and we are excited to partner with the TLC on an ambitious plan for a clean mile ride-sharing standard.”
“We applaud the mayor’s ambition to reduce emissions, an important goal we share,” Josh Gold, senior policy director at Uber, said in a statement. “Uber has made real progress to become the first zero-emission mobility platform in North America, and there’s a lot more to do.”
Both companies are already taking steps to incentivize their drivers to switch to electric vehicles, either through partnerships with car rental companies like Hertz or by allowing higher rates for drivers using electric vehicles. Uber and Lyft have both said they aim for their fleet to be “100 percent electric” by 2030.
Of course, converting the millions of people who drive for Uber and Lyft to electric vehicles won’t be an easy task. Ridehail drivers are classified as independent contractors and many use their personal cars to drive for not just one but several companies in the gig economy. Also, EVs tend to be more expensive than gas-powered vehicles, despite costing less to fuel and maintain. That high initial cost can make it challenging for many drivers, who typically work on incredibly tight margins, to make the switch.
New York isn’t the first government to require an all-electric ridehail fleet. California passed new rules in 2021 requiring ridesharing companies to electrify their fleets by 2030 — a few years before the state expects to completely ban the sale of new gas cars.