Lyft launches EV rental pilot program for ride-hail drivers in Northern California

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(Reuters) – Lyft Inc (NASDAQ:LYFT) said on Tuesday it will launch an electric vehicle rental pilot program for ride-hail drivers in a part of the San Francisco Bay Area in partnership with a local utility.

The EV rental program in San Mateo County south of San Francisco is scheduled to begin this fall. It initially aims to provide roughly 100 EVs for use on the Lyft platform, the ride-hail company and Peninsula Clean Energy said in a statement.

Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County’s official energy provider which aims to provide 100% renewable energy by 2025, will provide $500,000 in incentives to ride-hail drivers to ensure the cost of renting an EV is comparable to a gas-powered car.

Lyft said exact rental prices and models were still being determined.

The program is operated by Lyft’s Flexdrive unit, which works with local car dealerships to rent out vehicles on a weekly or long-term basis.

Lyft already offers EV rentals in Seattle, Atlanta and Denver, where drivers are able to rent Kia Niro and Chevy Bolt EVs.

Peninsula Clean Energy CEO Jan Pepper in a statement said the San Mateo program might eventually lead to more drivers switching to EVs.

Utilities across the United States are embracing EV sales growth as both a promising new source of revenue and an opportunity to use excess wind and solar power generated when supply exceeds demand.

Lyft and its larger rival Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) Inc have promised to convert their U.S. fleets entirely to EVs by 2030. In 2018, less than 1% of all ride-hail miles in California were electric, according to company data provided to the California Air Resources Board.

California regulators last month adopted rules to mandate that nearly all trips on Uber and Lyft’s ride-hailing platforms must be in electric vehicles within the next few years.