The use of plug-in electric vehicles in ride-hailing services is expected to have substantial emission reduction benefits. However, these benefits depend on the energy fuel mix in the grid and vehicle usage. Here we employ high-resolution data from Uber and Lyft in California to provide insights into the use of electric vehicles in ride-hailing. The growth in electric vehicle use has been rapid in the past two years and a proportionally small number of electric vehicles are already using a large share of electricity provided by the public charging infrastructure. Concerns about the ability of electric vehicles to provide the same level of service as gasoline vehicles has been overstated: we found no statistical difference between the two technologies for services provided to ride-hailing companies. Lastly, the potential environmental and emission reduction benefits are approximately three times higher for electric vehicles being used in ride-hailing compared with those of regular vehicle usage in California.