Lyft is adding hundreds of electric vehicles to its fleet as it tries to go completely carbon neutral

  • Lyft plans to add 1,000 electric vehicles to its fleet this year, the ride-hailing company announced Wednesday. 
  • Chevrolet Bolts will be available to drivers through the Express Drive program, where they can rent cars to use on Lyft's platform. 
  • It's all a part of the company's plan to become carbon neutral, and could help increase take-home pay for drivers. 

Lyft drivers will soon be able to use more electric vehicles through the company’s Express Drive rental program, it announced Wednesday.

The program will begin in Seattle and Atlanta, chief operating officer Jon McNeill said in an interview with Business Insider on Tuesday, and is in response to demand from both drivers and riders alike for lower emissions vehicles.

"I was picked up by a driver in an electric vehicle and I asked him 'whatmotivated you to do this?" McNeill said. "And he said quite literally I save thousands of dollars a year in gas; it totally increased my take home pay"

Lyft offered no details for the program’s expansion beyond the two original cities — or how many electric cars would be added initially — but said it hopes to hit 1,000 by the end of 2019.

For now, drivers will see Chevrolet Bolts on the road, and the company is working to buy other EV models from automakers as well — possibly even Teslas. McNeill, who joined Lyft from Tesla last year, is quick to highlight that his personal vehicle is a Model 3. 

The aim to increase driver pay through the programs comes after Lyft was criticized last week after it sued to stop a minimum wage rule from rolling out in New York City, the country’s most lucrative ride-hailing market. It has since said it will raise driver pay, and that it’s argument is against the rule’s processes, not end goal.

Lyft’s also working with power utilities in Atlanta to help bring charging into homes for drivers who own or drive electric vehicles full-time.

"If you’re a consumer and you take a ride in one of these, you may be more likely to own one as you get more exposed to it," McNeill said. "It then becomes a platform for the manufacturers to increase familiarity with electric vehicles."

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