Lime launches new e-bikes in Washington, DC in $ 50 million blitz

Lime’s next-generation e-bikes are finally making their debut in North America. Almost a year after announcing plans to spend $ 50 million on a major e-bike expansion, the San Francisco-based micromobility company announced it would roll out the first wave of new bikes in Washington, DC, to starting this week.

Lime says the new bikes are vastly improved over those currently in service, which the company inherited from Jump after it acquired the bike-sharing company from Uber in 2020. The $ 50 million investment will go a long way. part in the design, manufacture and assembly of its next. generation bike, which are starting to come out this year. The new model comes with a more powerful 350 watt motor and a replaceable battery capable of a range of up to 25 miles.

In addition to a new two-speed automatic transmission, the bikes also come with swappable batteries that are interchangeable with the company’s fleet of electric scooters. This will improve the customer experience, said Lime’s Central Atlantic and Northeast operations manager, reducing the likelihood that they will encounter vehicles with depleted batteries.

“Now we can get the batteries out faster,” said Paul Holley of Lime. The edge. “You don’t have that many low battery vehicles in the field. Our task turnaround times are much faster.

Andrew J. Hawkins / The Edge

Replaceable batteries are certainly the most important novelty of Lime’s next-generation electric bicycle. Lime sees the ability to swap batteries between scooters and bicycles to be not only good for customers, but also its own bottom line. Lime saves money both by simplifying its manufacturing process and operationally by reducing the amount of work that must be done by its teams working in each city.

“When you unify this battery ecosystem and isolate it into a single battery, it really increases the density of the work that needs to be done in the field,” said Holley. “So now you don’t necessarily have to have two separate teams that kind of go out into their own lane and just do their own thing.”

Not all scooter and bicycle companies are convinced. Bird, for example, has taken the opposite position, arguing that swappable batteries are generally smaller and hold less charge than non-swappable batteries. The company also argued that exchangeable batteries have a larger carbon footprint as they require more kilometers traveled by vehicles to recover, replace and charge scooters.

Holley argued that replaceable batteries don’t necessarily mean less power or a lower range; Lime can choose to install larger batteries if they wish. “We can do this within the context and the limitations of an ecosystem of exchangeable batteries,” he said. “You can go up and down in terms of size, range, and amp hours and all that stuff. “

There are other novelties on the bike: the handlebars are replaced by handlebars similar to Lime’s scooters, there is a phone holder in the front basket and the bike will be able to reach speeds of up to 20 mph (depending on local regulations). It weighs 72 pounds, which is heavier than the 65-pound Citi electric bikes.

I had the chance to try one of Lime’s new bikes at the end of last year. As I rode the bike from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan, I was impressed with the engine’s ability to deliver power. As far as I know, the boost was almost instantaneous, without any of the jarring or slow motor build-up of some smaller e-bikes. It’s far from the sexiest e-bike I’ve ever ridden, but that’s by design since Lime’s e-bikes are built for power, stability and durability.

That said, I don’t think people who use the bike share will give up on their favorite e-bikes and flock to Lime’s newer models. The self-service bicycle is a convenient tool, and customers generally use the bicycle closest to their location.

Lime will keep its cherry red Jump bikes in service, with no plans to phase them out in favor of the new Lime brand e-bikes. The company has said it wants to become a multimodal supplier of many different types of low-speed electric vehicles. In 2020, Lime added Pedalless E-Bikes from Wheels to its app in several cities as part of a new effort to integrate third-party micromobility providers. And it has also deployed electric mopeds in several markets, including Paris and Washington, DC.

It’s great to see Lime investing in new technical specifications with the aim of expanding the offerings available in their app. Scooters are good for tourists or people on a short getaway. But bikes are better for long distances, and e-bikes, in particular, are great for replacing car trips. In this regard, Lime will have a real powerful tool in its arsenal for its wider campaign to promote zero tailpipe electric transport.

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