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Research shows that battery charging reduces benefits of ride-hailing services

Uber and Lyft have committed to electrifying their ride-hailing fleets by 2030, but a new plan study abroad at the University of Michigan argued that it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

According to research published June 1 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, replacing all current ride-hailing vehicles with electric vehicles would eliminate emissions from the tailpipe, but the overall benefits The potential for society would still be very small – only 3% per trip on average. .

That’s due to other social costs associated with ride-hailing in addition to emissions, including “increased traffic congestion, risk of collisions and noise caused by Uber and Lyft drivers traveling to and from cities.” fast charging station,” says a University of Michigan press release announcing the study results.

Charge Tesla

Charge Tesla

These results are based on a model of more than a million Uber and Lyft rides using data collected from the Chicago area between 2019 and 2022. The models include rides taken on dates during the year. weeks, weekends, and during different seasons, as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic, immediately before and after the widespread deployment of the vaccine. Chicago had an average of about 300,000 daily trips before the pandemic, making it one of the largest ride-hailing markets in the country, researchers say.

The researchers estimate that the all-electric ride-hailing service will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40%-45% over its lifetime, but the health impacts from local air pollution will increase 6%-11% per trip due to higher pollution concentrations from fossil fuel power plants that generate electricity to charge fleets of electric vehicles.

Just going to the charger can cause problems. The researchers note that, with fewer fast-charging stations compared to gas stations, drivers will have to make longer trips, resulting in more driving that increases “traffic-related harm to social” such as congestion, collision risk and noise by 2% – 3% Per trip.

Tesla at Hertz

Tesla at Hertz

This study reads essentially like another version of the “dead mile” that is was a problem for horseback riding, where the driver still needs to go from the start of the trip and the end of the trip. It also appears to build on discovery from Carnegie Mellon University Researchers in 2021 suggest that using Uber and Lyft leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion than driving yourself.

However, not all studies agree on the strategy. A UC Davis study found that electric cars are used in ride-hailing services more carbon benefits rather than personal use. That might be in line with the idea that electric vehicle policy could extend further to so-called “super user of gasoline,” aimed at drivers who use the most fossil fuels.

Rivals Uber and Lyft have both announced plans for an all-electric ride-hailing service by 2020, giving each company a decade to hit the target. In 2021 Hertz starts offering Tesla Model 3 car rental for Uber drivers, while Ford this month announced flexible EV rental contract for Uber drivers.


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