Ride-hailing services have already helped the environment and increased the standard vehicle’s value. People working in big cities can ditch driving through traffic congestion and just get a ride, and those who rarely use their car can get some money out of it. Lyft is hoping to take that to the next level with the announcement on Thursday that they are planning to have only autonomous electric vehicles that run solely on renewable energy by 2025.
Lyft shared their lofty goals on a b, sharing that the process will begin later this year in Boston. In a collaboration with nuTonomy, they will be testing out their first autonomous vehicles in the city. After further research, there will likely be the mass manufacturing of these cars in the near future, and all of them will be 100 percent fueled by renewable energy.
As range increases on these vehicles, more will be brought into the fleet. Lyft’s makes a compelling argument on how they make the cars more valuable. Personal vehicles are “used only four percent of the time and for electric vehicles, it takes 10 years or more to recover the cost premium through fuel savings.” When compared to Lyft’s service, these new cars “will be utilized over 50 percent of the time and payback its costs in just a few years.”
Another surprising goal of Lyft's is to have the majority of their service cars be autonomous by 2021. That was when co-founder John Zimmer believed that autonomous vehicles will change cities and car ownership. By the time 2025 hits, the car-hailing service hopes that they’ll be giving over one billion rides in the span of a year. If that’s the case, then over five million tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be eliminated from the United States.
However, are these goals really obtainable? General Motors is taking that bet. They’ve completed with autonomous features, and this prototype will be thoroughly tested out in San Francisco, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Detroit, Michigan. It’s unknown if these cars will be part of Lyft’s eventual autonomous fleet or if any more will be created. In a similar fashion, Fiat Chrysler and Waymo produced 100 hybrid vehicles with autonomy a year ago.
GM has invested $500 million in Lyft for the research of autonomous driving. The 130 new cars will join 50 other cars with older technology. These newest editions, which will have the highest range currently available at near 240 miles, can also power the self-driving component. Unlike Lyft, the car manufacturer wouldn’t give out specific dates on when these cars would be available.
Lyft does have a benefit in working with other companies, such as Waymo, which could give them the ability to meet their 2025 goal. GM’s partnership is not exclusive with Lyft, and CEO Mary Barra said the two companies are “working together in one space and competing in another.” Ultimately, that’s good news for a future of autonomous driving that may not be so far away.
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