Lime is including a brand new member to its household of shared electrical automobiles: mopeds. The mopeds are being supplied as a part of a pilot program to check whether or not Lime’s clients want automobiles which are quicker, heavier, and arguably riskier to experience than your common kick scooter.
The mopeds may be rented through Lime’s smartphone app, similar to the corporate’s e-scooters. Lime continues to be finalizing the value per mile for the mopeds, but it surely intends for it to be aggressive with different shared mobility companies.
Different scooter firms have flirted with increasing their product lineups to incorporate mopeds, however Lime insists its pilot will presage a bigger rollout within the spring. To begin, Lime can be introducing mopeds within the coming months in simply two cities: Washington, DC and Paris. The corporate plans to unfold 600 mopeds across the US capital, whereas the quantity that can be rolling out in Paris continues to be to be decided. The mopeds will possible begin hitting the streets in early March.
The mopeds are manufactured by NIU, a Chinese language firm that additionally provides mopeds to New York City-based mobility company Revel. NIU’s mopeds usually get between 25–100 miles of vary. Lime’s mopeds can be velocity restricted to twenty-eight mph and may be managed and monitored through wi-fi connectivity.
The mopeds are meant to lend credibility to Lime’s claims of being more than just another scooter company. The corporate sees itself as a “platform” for several types of low-speed, electric-powered mobility. Final 12 months, Lime added pedal-less e-bikes from Wheels to its app in a number of cities as a part of a brand new effort to combine third-party micromobility suppliers.
Lime CEO Wayne Ting claims his firm is “the primary micromobility supplier to supply three automobiles on one platform.” (Gotcha, a 12-year-old firm primarily based in Charleston, South Carolina, beforehand supplied electrical kick scooters, seated scooters, bikes, and trikes on its platform. The corporate was just lately acquired by one other scooter firm known as Bolt.)
Mopeds are arguably a quicker solution to get round, however they may also be extra harmful, particularly for novice riders. Revel was compelled to briefly shut down its service in New York Metropolis final 12 months after two clients had been killed and one was critically injured whereas driving the shared electrical mopeds. The corporate ultimately resumed service with new protective measures for riders like a compulsory in-app security check and a requirement that each one riders take a selfie of themselves carrying a helmet earlier than they’ll be allowed to experience.
Lime is hoping to keep away from the same tragedy by embracing quite a lot of security measures proper out the gate. Riders can be required to take a multichapter rider security course, developed in partnership with the Bike Security Basis. The check has been “optimized for studying retention,” Lime says, and should be accomplished earlier than any consumer can start a experience. Clients will solely be required to have a driver’s license — not a motorbike license — with a view to experience.
Every moped additionally comes with two helmets, one large and one small, that are locked away in a cargo compartment on the again. Lime may have three completely different checkpoints to make sure riders can’t get away with cruising off with out carrying a helmet. Riders can be required to take a selfie of themselves carrying the helmet, and there can be a immediate within the app to substantiate the helmet is being worn. Additionally, the helmet compartment consists of an infrared sensor that may verify whether or not the helmet has been eliminated.
Helmets can be cleaned each time a member of Lime’s operations employees handles the moped — which can possible quantity to as soon as each three days or so. Lime may even provide head covers in every helmet for further safety.
Lime may even present free 45-minute in-person classes for all riders, taught by licensed bike instructors in small class sizes. In keeping with the corporate, the teachings are designed to assist riders get comfy with maneuvers equivalent to braking, turning, and parking.
“Lime will take strict enforcement measures for repeat security violators, together with elimination from the platform, to keep away from placing themselves and different street customers in danger,” the corporate says.
Lime isn’t the primary scooter firm to dabble in mopeds. Bird introduced moped-style e-bikes, possible made by California-based e-bike firm Juiced, in Los Angeles in 2019 and Austin in 2020. Additionally in 2019, Uber teamed up with French startup Cityscoot to combine round 4,000 of the corporate’s mopeds into Uber’s app in Paris.