Major ridesharing companies have committed to switching to all-electric fleets by 2030 in order to reduce their carbon footprint. However, researchers have conducted a study to examine the impacts of the transition to electric fleets on traffic problems and air pollution. The research, published in Environmental Science & Technology, collected real-world rideshare data from Chicago to simulate rides provided by three fleets: gasoline-powered, and electric-powered with either 40 kWh or 60 kWh battery packs. Overall, the study found that electrified fleets had 40-45% lower greenhouse gas costs per trip compared to gasoline-powered fleets, however, battery-powered electric vehicles produced slightly higher air pollution from increased demand at power plants caused by recharging purposes, as well as more ground-level particulates from tire and brake dust. The electric vehicles were also responsible for more traffic problems, including crashes, congestion, and noise, than gasoline-powered vehicles. The study concludes that electric rideshare fleets could reduce costs to society by 3-11% per trip, depending on the cost assigned to greenhouse gas emissions, but also highlights that these results are specific to Chicago and that other cities may have different assessments from full electrification.
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