The cars zipping around New York City streets will get a little more environmentally friendly over the next decade after the city's mayor announced that rideshare companies must switch to electric vehicles by 2030, solidifying similar commitments Lyft and Uber made to convert their cars to EV's by the same deadline.
Mayor Eric Adams included the directive in his State of the City speech on Thursday, specifically naming Uber and Lyft in his mission to require for-hire services to shift over to zero emission vehicles by the start of the next decade. This will affect over 100,000 vehicles on the city streets -- and individual drivers won't have to pay for it, the mayor stated.
Adams didn't explain how rideshare companies would be footing the bill to convert their drivers' vehicles to electric. Lyft is onboard with the shift, having committed three years ago to switch its fleet to all-electric vehicles by 2030. In a 2020 blog, the company said it would lobby to reduce EV cost and expand incentives and infrastructure.
"With smart, targeted investments in incentives and charging infrastructure, we'll help tear down the barriers that prevent drivers from making the switch to electric -- and build a cleaner and more sustainable New York in the process," Lyft director of sustainability Paul Augustine said in a statement emailed to CNET.
Uber likewise pledged three years ago to convert its fleet to EVs by 2030, committing to spend $800 million to help drivers transition to EVs. At the time, GM offered an $8,500 rebate for Uber drivers who purchased a new Chevrolet Bolt EV.
"We applaud the Mayor's ambition for reducing emissions, an important goal we share," Josh Gold, Uber senior director of public policy and communications, said in a statement emailed to CNET.
Both Uber and Lyft said they'll work with the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission to reach the goal of zero-emission fleets. This follows recent cooperation between the ride-hailing companies and the commission, which had clashed for a decade over sharing the city streets with traditional medallion-stamped yellow taxis. Last year, Uber started offering to link yellow cab drivers with fares from within its app.
The rideshare requirement comes alongside a pledge to electrify the city's fleet of vehicles, as well as adding more charging stations to all five boroughs of the city.