The California Public Utilities Commission will now decide how to implement and enforce the regulation.
Both ride-hailing giants — Uber and Lyft — have committed to zero-emission rides in the U.S. Uber says it will operate a zero-emission platform in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2030, with a fully zero-emission fleet by 2040. Lyft has committed to reach 100 percent EVs by 2030.
CARB's regulation bolsters these efforts and reinforces calls to eliminate the environmental impact of ride-hailing vehicles. The standard also complements the state's executive order that requires all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035.
But with this must come the right investments in EV charging infrastructure for ride-hailing drivers, vehicle purchase or lease rebates for high-mileage ride-hailing drivers and modifications to existing incentive programs, said Ben Prochazka, executive director of the nonpartisan group Electrification Coalition.
"There's going to have to be incentives on all fronts," Prochazka told Automotive News. "Lyft and Uber are going to have to really think about what role they play directly in the vehicles that operate in their fleets. They have to be much more connected to the vehicles that are operating on their platform.
"It's hard to determine if 2023 is going to be too soon," he added, "but the idea is, you create an incentive structure, you create, in some cases, regulatory structure that ultimately helps move the needle faster."
Rides via transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, says the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental nonprofit. The group says that the average ride-hailing trip creates roughly 69 percent more carbon emissions than the trips it replaces, largely because of the amount of idling and driving drivers do while waiting for riders.
An electric ride-hailing trip would slash emissions by about 50 percent compared with a private trip in a gasoline-powered vehicle, the group says.
The key will be that drivers have the support they need to shift to electric and that the success of these hefty goals won't come at their expense.
CARB anticipates that by 2023, the number of used EVs on the road, coupled with the several dozen new models expected to be on the market then, will drive down EV costs and make the vehicles more accessible to drivers.