In less than 16 months, Lime has empowered millions of riders around the world and helped to fundamentally transform the urban mobility landscape. These successes, however, have come with challenges, opportunities to improve and, above all, the obligation to remain transparent with our community.
We’re writing today to share with you two challenges we have experienced with our hardware and how we are addressing them. The first has impacted less than 0.01% of our scooter fleet, but we wanted to share what we’re doing to fix it.
Lime uses many different manufacturers for the production of our bikes and scooters. One of those manufacturers is Segway Ninebot. To help our community identify the health of our scooters, we use a color visualization method to indicate their functional status: purple for special requests and customer service tickets; red for scooters that require immediate attention; yellow indicates a need for charging; and green codes are fully operational scooters.
In August of this year, we learned of a potential issue with some Ninebot scooter batteries. The issue arose in one of the two batteries housed on early versions of the scooter; in several isolated instances, a manufacturing defect could result in the battery smoldering or, in some cases, catching fire.
We took this issue very seriously. Immediately upon learning of the defect, we worked with Segway Ninebot to create a software program to detect the potentially affected batteries. We then worked independently to create an even more thorough software program to ensure that no potentially faulty scooters remained in circulation. When an affected battery was identified -- with a red code -- we promptly deactivated the scooter so that no members of the public could ride or charge it.
All vulnerable scooters were quickly removed from circulation, minimally impacting service to our Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe markets. At no time were riders or members of the public put at risk. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we’ve recently received an unconfirmed report that another Segway Ninebot scooter model may also be vulnerable to battery failure, which we are currently investigating.
Lime recently unveiled a new scooter model, known as “Generation 3.0” which features a custom-designed, sturdier frame and redesigned battery, making it more durable and resilient for life on the streets.
While we’re confident that the later generations of Lime’s scooters are robust (and this later generation and scooters from manufacturers other than Segway Ninebot comprise the vast majority of our fleet), we will not take any chances, no matter how small, with the safety of our community or the public. Here’s what we’re doing to fix the situation:
- All Segway Ninebot scooters will now only be charged at Lime’s scooter storage facilities and will no longer be available to Juicers for afterhours charging until we are satisfied that there are no remaining issues with these scooter models.
- Lime storage and charging facilities globally will be staffed 24/7 by employees specially trained for the safe handling of these particular batteries.
- We have developed custom software that continuously monitors the health of batteries in every Ninebot scooter globally, and are working to roll out state of the art systems to further improve real-time monitoring of our fleet health.
The second hardware challenge we’ve experienced are reports that the baseboards from one scooter manufacturer, Okai, can sometimes break when subjected to repeated abuse. As part of our scooter deployment process, we conduct rigorous stress and safety testing on all models, including the Okai model in use. We also consistently and thoroughly educate our riders on the correct and safest ways to ride. Nevertheless, it’s possible for Okai baseboards to crack or break if ridden off a curb at high speed. We are currently studying this issue and incorporating these learnings into our design process. Scooters are a new mode of transportation and Lime, together with the micro-mobility industry, remains committed to ensuring everyone knows how to ride safely.
Lime takes full responsibility for our scooters. The safety of our riders, Juicers and community is our highest priority, and we will continue to hold our equipment manufacturers and ourselves to the highest possible standard.
In the coming weeks, Lime will be announcing industry-first initiatives designed to help us fulfill the promise of being the global leader in safe, smart micro-mobility innovation and technology.
If you have questions or concerns about safety at Lime, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here and writing "safety" in the subject line.