Lime comes back to its roots. The scooter company, formerly known as LimeBike, says it will invest $ 50 million to expand its shared electric bike network, including adding a new bike model and doubling the number of cities in which it operates.
Lime started sharing bikes, only to turn around quickly after Bird first introduced the concept of dockless electric scooters in 2017. The company dropped the ‘bike’ from its name and began phasing out its bikes in 2019. But the following year, Lime acquired a bike-sharing company Jump from Uber, and suddenly bikes were on the menu again.
Now the company is doubling its shared electric bikes, with plans to launch a dozen new cities in North America by the end of the year, as well as dozens more in Europe and other markets. In total, the company plans to have its motorcycles in 50 new cities by 2022, which will quadruple its fleet size.
The $ 50 million investment goes primarily to the design, manufacture and assembly of its next-generation bike, which is set to roll out this summer. The new model has a more powerful 350-watt motor and a removable battery that can reach up to 25 miles.
The battery is also interchangeable with those that power Lime’s Gen4 electric scooters, enabling a standardized battery charging operation. A two-speed gear lever will help climb the hills, and an integrated, electronically controlled hub lock will help protect the bike from theft and vandalism.
There are other new features on the bike: the handlebars are replaced with those of Lime’s scooters, there is a telephone holder in the front basket and the bike can reach speeds of up to 20 km / h (depending on local regulations). It weighs 72 pounds, which is heavier than the 65-pound electric Citi Bikes.
Lime will keep its cherry red Spring bikes in operation, with no plans to phase it out in favor of the new Lime brand e-bikes. The company has stated that it wants to be a multimodal supplier of many different types of low speed electric vehicles. Last year, Lime added Wheels pedalless e-bikes to its app in several cities as part of a new effort to integrate third-party providers of micro-mobility. And recently, he announced plans to introduce electric mopeds in Paris and Washington, DC.
The new investment in e-bikes comes as cycling increases worldwide, with bike sales – and especially e-bike sales – reaching record numbers. Legislation has been introduced in the US to make e-bikes more affordable. And bike sharing systems are adding more electric models to their fleet in hopes of attracting more members. Lime says its customers undertook more than 2.5 million rides with its e-bikes last year, and the company expects the number to grow significantly in 2021.