For most of the year, the ride-hailing apps on my phone go unused. But around the holidays, after a bit of wassailing with family and friends, I often find myself calling on Uber for a safe ride home. I’m not necessarily partial to Uber – it’s just sort of the default brand. However, with the arrival of Lyft Green Mode in Seattle, I’m more than ready to make the switch.
Green Mode debuted in the Emerald City in February 2019, allowing ride-hailers to opt for a hybrid or electric vehicles in the app. The feature is part of Lyft’s larger effort to increase access to electric vehicles for its drivers through its Express Drive program and head toward carbon neutrality.
Green Mode has since been expanded to Portland, and in December Lyft will deploy 200 EVs in Colorado through its Flexdrive program.
Why Green Mode matters
For starters, I consider it a win anytime consumers are offered a green option. Now, even when they’re a little nuts on eggnog, Seattleites can get home safely without producing carbon emissions. After all, transportation accounted for over 40% of Washington’s total emissions in 2015.
Then there is the exposure EVs will receive. At the Seattle Auto Show, I heard repeatedly that just getting people into electric vehicles is half the battle. Once they’re in, they tend fall in love with the punchiness, handling and low maintenance. I can only imagine how many Lyft riders will ask, “So how do you like your (insert electric car here)?”
In a blog post, Lyft said “Drivers consistently tell us they want to increase their hourly net earnings by lowering fuel costs. In addition, over 80% of those drivers told us they favor eco-friendly vehicle options.”
So, through Green Mode, Lyft drivers can make more money and be evangelists for EVs.
Further, Green Mode can serve as a model and incentive for other rideshare companies to hop on the electric bandwagon. Uber has tested its own green programs in South Africa and Zurich, but I have yet to see a major rollout. If Lyft’s Green Mode takes off, Uber would certainly have incentive to get its own program off the ground.
So BEFORE you head to Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, office holiday parties, ugly sweater parties and that Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving-bar-gathering, take a second to download Lyft and write “Use Green Mode” on your hand.