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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

There's good news and bad news when it comes to curbing carbon emissions from Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services, courtesy of new analysis from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing creates new emissions challenges.

  • A number of analyses show that it's adding to congestion and cannibalizing trips that otherwise would have happened via mass transit or other low-carbon means (like feet!).
  • But, steps to electrify ride-hailing will have spillover effects that boost EV adoption more broadly.

What they found: Current market and tech trends won't do the trick when it comes to getting the industry to go electric on a timeline consistent with aggressive emissions cuts.

  • "We find that, despite rapidly reducing battery costs, ridehailing electrification is not inevitable by 2030. EVs face many barriers in ridehailing applications, aside from just high up-front prices."

Yes, but: The good news is that it's hardly an impossible nut to crack, RMI concludes, although it will take a village that includes state and local policymakers, utilities and big automakers.

How it works: RMI recommends a wide array of steps to make EV ownership for ride-hailing drivers more accessible and competitive with gasoline vehicles. They include...

  • Improving access to home charging, via steps like power company incentives and building code changes. That makes EVs more competitive for drivers who'll miss fewer rides while charging.
  • Implementing programs that lower costs of public charging and encouraging the buildout of public charging infrastructure.
  • Reducing any "barriers of entry" to buying new and used EVs, such as "scrap and replace" incentives, as well as wider adoption of EV rental programs.

Catch up fast: Uber wants EVs to account for 100% of its rides in American, Canadian and European cities by 2030.

  • And Lyft has vowed to have 100% of rides from its platform come from zero-emissions vehicles by 2030.
  • But both companies acknowledge that the targets rely on outside policy changes to succeed.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 22, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of sustainable vehicles

On Friday, January 22, Axios' Joann Muller hosted a conversation on the future of electric vehicles in the U.S., featuring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and SAFE founder and CEO Robbie Diamond.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow discussed legislation focusing on electric vehicle infrastructure, from charging stations across the country, to investing in the development of electric heavy-duty trucks and larger vehicles.

  • On the Biden administration's focus on electrification: "I'm very excited about the Biden administration's major push on electric charging stations...So people [can] feel comfortable that they can not only drive around town but can drive across the country and have the [infrastructural] support for that."
  • On how the government can learn from the private sector on spurring growth for electric vehicles: "Companies on their own are putting together incentives and support for folks who are doing grants or tax credits or supporting folks that are putting in the capacity to charge at home. I think we have to just get over this sense that this is hard. This is not hard."

Robbie Diamond unpacked the manufacturing supply chain in electric vehicle development and stressed the importance of diversifying sources for battery materials.

  • Why electricity is a flexible fuel source: "We had recommended that we diversify the fuel sources into our transportation sector. And one of the best ways to do that is through electric vehicles...because we produce electricity using so many different fuel sources."
  • On investment in electric vehicles as a part of international security: "When you begin to look at this, the control that China has over batteries and the supply chain of electric vehicles is way bigger than Saudi Arabia ever had or OPEC when it came to oil."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top segment with Ford Motor Company Americas and International Markets Group President Kumar Galhotra discussing the future of electric cars in the U.S. and the importance of the public and private sectors working together.

  • "This is the fuel of the future. And we don't want to get left behind because Europe and China already have very clearly articulated strategies for electrification [and] electric vehicles that we don't have yet. So it is very important for us, both the government, this administration, and automakers to accelerate electrification plans."

Thank you Ford Motor Company for sponsoring this event.

Andrew Cuomo refuses to resign: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post, despite an independent investigation finding that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

Why it matters: Cuomo had previously urged those calling for his resignation — including nearly every prominent New York Democrat — to wait for the results of the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The findings were damning, but Cuomo said he is not going anywhere.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

Boeing is getting its do-over

Boeing's Starliner awaits its launch atop an Atlas V rocket. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing is set to launch a redo of an uncrewed test of its Starliner spacecraft — designed to one day carry astronauts — to the International Space Station this week.

Why it matters: This is a high-stakes test for Boeing, which failed to get its Starliner to the station during its first uncrewed test flight in December 2019.