Lime (transportation company)
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|Industry||Dockless electric scooter sharing, dockless bike sharing, car sharing|
San Francisco, California, United States
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania, South America|
Neutron Holdings, Inc. doing business under the name Lime, formerly LimeBike, is a transportation company based in the United States. It runs electric scooters, electric bikes, normal pedal bikes and car sharing systems in various cities around the world. The system offers dockless vehicles which users find and unlock via a mobile app which knows the location of available vehicles via GPS.
- 1 History
- 2 Usage
- 3 Competition
- 4 User Collaborations
- 5 Controversy
- 6 References
- 7 External links
LimeBike was founded in January 2017 and raised US$12 million in venture funding led by Andreessen Horowitz in March 2017. The company's first location, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, launched in June 2017 with 125 bicycles.
LimeBike expanded in July 2017 to the cities of Key Biscayne, Florida, South Bend, Indiana, and South Lake Tahoe, California. On July 27, 2017, LimeBike launched with 500 bicycles in Seattle, Washington, becoming the city's second bikeshare operator.
The company closed a Series B round of venture funding in October 2017, announcing that it was valued at $225 million. A $335 million funding round in 2018 led to a valuation of $1.1 billion for the company, making it a unicorn.
In May 2018, the company announced plans to begin development of transit pods, small self-driving electric vehicles. Lime applied for car-sharing permits in Seattle in October 2018 and later launched a service in December 2018 with a fleet of Fiat 500 Lounge cars branded as "LimePod."
In October 2018 Lime announced the release of a new model e-scooter with larger wheels, built-in suspension and an aluminum frame to combat vandalism and extend vehicle life.
In May 2019, co-founder and chief executive officer Toby Sun stepped down reportedly to focus on R&D while Brad Bao, a Lime co-founder, took his place as CEO.
The user installs the Lime app on a device (typically a smartphone), on which are displayed all the vehicles available (tracked by GPS) nearby. Before starting a trip, the user supplies payment information. The user then scans the QR code on the vehicle, beginning the trip. To end the trip, the user parks the vehicle then ends the ride through the app. The price of the trip is immediately withdrawn from the user's credit card. Lime requires every user to take a picture of the parked vehicle and its surroundings, to review whether the vehicle was parked improperly. If any problems were encountered with the trip (like a malfunctioning vehicle) the user can report it through the app.
Operating area and hours
On the Lime app, the user can see the operating area of the service. Riding outside of the operating area is tolerated, but if the user leaves the vehicle outside the operating area, they will be charged a fee. The fee changes based on the location. On the map, there are various red zones, in which users are prohibited to park. If the rider misbehaves, they will incur a fine.
Whilst Lime doesn't have set operating hours, the availability of electric vehicles (scooters and e-bikes) during nighttime is severely reduced due to their need to be recharged every night. Normal pedal bikes are available 24/7. If a user finds a scooter/e-bike outside during the nighttime, they can still unlock it. Lime operates every day of the week.
Lime operates its vehicles in hundreds of cities across the globe.
Lime, depending on location, uses three different types of vehicles.
Lime's most used vehicle are their electric scooters. Four different scooter models are currently in use:
- Lime-S Ninebot ES4, made by Segway with extra Lime battery attached on top of the front wheel
- Lime-S Generation 1
- Lime-S Generation 2
- Lime-S Generation 3
In select locations, Lime uses the Ninebot ES4. Due to the Ninebot ES4 being a consumer product, it is not well-performant in the sharing industry. Therefore, Lime developed their own scooter, which is in use in most cities. Their Lime scooter is better optimized for the ride sharing business; extended range, suspension, airless tires, stronger motor and a more durable body.
All of the scooter models that Lime uses can reach speeds of up to 25 km/h (16 mph) and a range of about 20–40 km (12–25 mi).
Lime-E is an electric bike, developed by Lime. The e-bike's top speed is 25 km/h (16 mph) and has a long range of about 80–100 km (50–62 mi). More specifically, the e-bike is a pedal-assisted bike, therefore it has no throttle and will only give power if the user is pedaling. It is meant to allow riders to pedal less but still obtain the same speed; therefore it is very useful in areas with lots of wind or hills. The electric power stops as soon as the user stops pedaling.
Due to the e-bike's long range and infrequent charging, Lime has the e-bike charged by their Team and not by Juicers.
Generally, Lime will use their e-bike in cities where electric scooters have not been legalized yet, such as London.
Lime-B is a normal pedal bike, developed by Lime. It has 8 gears. Lime-B is equipped with a GPS unit and 3G connectivity. The bike also has a front basket, a solar panel, and a smart lock. It is the vehicle with the lowest price in Lime's fleet.
Lime has entered the car sharing business with their LimePod. The car in use is a Fiat 500. In order to use LimePod, users must have a valid US driver's license, must be 21+ years old, must have at least 1 year of driving history and pass a driving record check. The process to unlock the car is like unlocking one of their scooters; scanning the QR code will immediately turn the vehicle on. Users may drive out of the operating area, but must return the car inside the operating area to avoid any fees. As for parking the LimePod, it is allowed to do so in any legal metered and non-metered on-street spaces or residential permit zones. The cost for the vehicle is $1 to unlock and then $0.40/min. The LimePod service is currently available only in Seattle, United States.
Lime's pricing typically starts at €1 or $1 to unlock an electric scooter or electric bike, plus a variable rate per minute depending on location. Normal pedal bikes typically cost €1 or $1 for a 30-minute ride.
Lime's main competitor is Bird. Nevertheless, many other smaller companies have been funded since Lime's and Bird's arrival.
Lime scooters are charged by gig workers, private contractors who sign up to become "Juicers"; the company sends approved Juicers charging equipment, and pays them to charge scooters overnight then place them at designated "groves" throughout the company's service area in the morning. Juicing can become competitive, with Juicers in some markets using vans and other creative means to pick up scooters all over the city.
The amount of money that Lime gives the independent contractors for charging a particular scooter depends on how long the scooter has been sitting out on the street after being flagged for needing a charge and before the Juicer reflags the scooter in an app to claim the reward.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lime has been criticized for its approach towards municipalities, including ignoring local laws. In February 2019, a Fort Lauderdale Lime user was placed in a vegetative state after a violent collision with a car while riding a Lime scooter on the road, not the legally permitted sidewalk use. The injured woman was allegedly instructed to use the road by Lime's app.
San Francisco, California
Scooters were initially banned in Milwaukee when Bird Rides Inc. started their scooter business without permission. Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers signed a bill July 11, 2019 regulating scooters. Shortly after the Governor's decision (July 23, 2019) Lime began operating in Milwaukee in a Pilot program, until the city again halted scooter rentals because of complaints about riders riding on sidewalks. Lime wanted to increase its fleet of 500 scooters in the Milwaukee area but they were denied permission.
Allegations of mudslinging PR
In November 2018, TechCrunch reported that Lime had engaged Definers Public Affairs to send "mudslinging pitches" for Lime about its competitors. Definers Public Affairs is a public relations firm known for being hired by Facebook to spread anti-semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros.
Some of Lime's electric scooters have been recalled due to mechanical failures. In October 2018, Lime recalled a number of its Segway Ninebot scooters after several cases of batteries "smoldering, or in some cases, catching fire".
In November 2018, Lime issued a recall of its Okai-model scooters on reports that the baseboards could "break in half". The recall was issued following internal comments by employees that its scooters were unsafe for public use.
In January 2019, Lime withdrew its scooters from two Swiss locations (Basel and Zürich) following accidents allegedly caused by brakes automatically activating when the scooters were still in motion.
In February 2019, Lime issued a safety update, announcing that some of its scooters could malfunction and their wheels could "lock up" at high speeds. The company was forced to temporarily withdraw its scooters from circulation in Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand, after injuries caused by irregular braking incidents.
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- Newsom, John (June 1, 2017). "Green machines: New bike share program gets its start at UNCG". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- Diaz, Johnny (July 24, 2017). "What are those bright green bikes in Key Biscayne? It's LimeBike, new bike sharing program". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- Parrott, Jeff (July 7, 2017). "Bike-sharing company LimeBike is coming to South Bend". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
- "New bike ride share program to start in South Lake Tahoe Saturday". South Tahoe Now. July 11, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
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- Robinson, Melia (July 10, 2018). "Uber, Google and top VCs just poured $335 million into scooter startup Lime — here's why one investor thinks it's the future of commuting". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
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- Baldassari, Erin (November 20, 2017). "Oakland Raiders' Marshawn Lynch throws his weight behind LimeBike with sponsorship deal". Mercury News. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Rose Dickey, Megan (8 January 2018). "LimeBike unveils pedal assist e-bikes". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- Dickey, Megan (February 12, 2018). "Lime bike is also getting into the E-Scooter game". TechCrunch.
- "Lime Rebrands and Announces a Partnership with Segway" (Press release). Lime. May 17, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2018 – via PR Newswire.
- Brustein Bloomberg, Joshua (11 May 2018). "Scooter company Lime is planning to deploy 'transit pods'". Toronto Star. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
- "Lime applies for car-sharing service in Seattle". Puget Sound Business Journal. October 29, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Soper, Taylor (November 29, 2018). "We tested Lime's new car-sharing service, LimePod, that will take on BMW and Daimler in Seattle". GeekWire. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- Bond, Shannon (2018-08-26). "Uber gears up for shift to bikes on short trips, CEO expects short-term financial hit". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- Toll, Micah (19 October 2018). "Lime unveils new electric scooter, fuels the e-scooter arms race". electrek. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "Lime's founding CEO steps down as his co-founder takes control". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-24.
- Heffernan, Erin (November 6, 2018). "Inside the scooter side hustle: Charging for Lime and Bird is a new cutthroat gig in St. Louis". Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Holley, Peter. "A Lime scooter accident left Ashanti Jordan in a vegetative state. Now her mother is suing on her behalf". The Washington Post.
- Thomas, Eric. "Lime files appeal; wants scooters back on San Francisco streets". ABC 7 News.
- Keeling, Brock. "Lime appeals San Francisco's scooter permit exclusion". Curbed.
- "Tony Evers signs bill regulating electric scooters". Capital Newspapers Inc. Associated Press, State Journal. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
- Dirr, Allison (7 August 2019). "Milwaukee still has brakes on scooter pilot program, but provider says riders want more". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
- Higdon, Mike. "Reno's Lime Scooters gone for now; this isn't the company's first time being shut out". Reno Gazette Journal.
- Bhattacharjee, Riya. "'Public Nuisance:' San Francisco Issues Cease and Desist Letter for 'Unlawful' Electric Scooters". NBC Bay Area.
- "Lime operation manager reacts to cease-and-desist order from city". Wish TV.
- Lomas, Natasha. "Read the mud-slinging pitches Facebook's PR firm sent us". TechCrunch.
- Lomas, Natasha. "Read the mud-slinging pitches Facebook's PR firm sent us". TechCrunch.
- Deahl, Dani (October 31, 2018). "Lime removes some Segway Ninebot scooters from fleet amid concerns of battery fires". The Verge.
- Liptak, Andrew (November 11, 2018). "Lime issues recall for a scooter model after reports that they can break apart". The Verge.
- Holley, Peter. "Lime issues global recall of one of its electric scooter models amid fears that it can break apart in use". Washington Post.
- "Lime e-scooters pulled from Zurich and Basel after accidents". The Local. 9 January 2019.
- Roy, Eleanor Ainge (21 February 2019). "Auckland threatens to eject Lime scooters after wheels lock at high speed". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
- "Lime scooters suspended temporarily due to safety issues". The New Zealand Herald. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
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