There are many perks to being a Lyft driver. It might not be making small talk with drunk passengers at 4 a.m., but it very well could be early access to the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles that are soon debuting from General Motors. After all, GM is an investor in Lyft (to the tune of $500 million), so it seems sensible to let these drivers try out the goods first.
At a conference in Detroit on Wednesday, Lyft’s Director of Transportation Policy Emily Castor noted, “Drivers on the Lyft platform will be receiving Bolts to drive first.” And this is a pretty important first — the Bolt is slated to run 238 miles on a single charge, and will come to market at the price of just $37,495, which is nearly 50 percent less than a Tesla Model S sedan, the only electric car currently on sale boasting a similarly long range.
However, some sources familiar with the Bolt deal have said that Lyft drivers won’t have exclusive first access to the new electric vehicles. Rather, “an undetermined number of Bolt buyers” will also get behind the wheel sooner rather than later when the car becomes available near the end of 2016.
And while Lyft drivers may be taking these cars out for a test drive, it doesn’t look as though Lyft has any plans to buy a fleet of these electric cars. In fact, Lyft doesn’t own any of the cars that its independent contractors operate in around 200 cities across the U.S.
That said, GM and Lyft are said to be expanding their Express Drive program, which allows Lyft drivers to obtain special rates on short-term GM rentals. The program is already active in Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, DC, and will soon be made available in Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Cars that can be accessed through the program include the GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox and Malibu, and soon, the 2017 Bolt EV.