The Lime Difference: Hardware Built For Reliability
A few weeks ago, NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal took a ride on a Lime scooter up one of Seattle’s notoriously steep hills.
While another scooter manufacturer’s engineering team may have sweated through the experience of watching a 7”1’, 300-plus pound superstar try out their hardware, we at Lime design and build our hardware for people of all shapes and sizes to ensure they are reliable for all riders.
You may be wondering what it takes to build a scooter that’s able to power Shaq up a Seattle hill, which is why we’re happy to provide some insights into a process that starts with ideas and ends with the vehicles in our riders’ hands, on the streets of cities around the world.
At Lime, we believe building people-first cities starts with providing reliable alternatives to cars. Each new city we partner with expands a growing network of people who rely on our shared, sustainable electric vehicles to replace cars for short trips.
Reliability is the core of our service. It encompasses everything from our work to give riders complete confidence they’ll get where they need to go safely and on time, to our operations teams focused on ensuring vehicles are fully-charged when and where riders need them most. We know that without providing reliable transportation, we’ll never realize our mission of a future for cities that prioritize people over cars.
We design our vehicle hardware with that reliability in mind. As one of the few micromobility providers to design its scooters and bikes in-house, and the only provider with hardware informed by 250+ million rides in more than 200 cities around the world, our outlook is unique and our data unparalleled.
The product development journey consists of four major steps: ideation, design, prototyping and production.
To start, our hardware team works to understand rider and city needs and assesses their feedback. Through on-the-ground research, data and trend analysis, interviews, and our own personal experience, we gather input from riders and cities all over the world about what features and functions will enhance the core experience of interacting with a Lime vehicle. We aim to answer questions such as “How can we make our vehicles more sustainable and longer lasting?” and “How can we make the vehicles more robust to improve rider experience?” As soon as we zero in on a solution, our hardware team starts designing and prototyping creative ways to achieve our goals, while considering various audiences, including riders, cities, non-riders, and our operations team.
After many rounds of design, critique and prototype testing, we select the best solution and continue its development until it stands up to our high reliability standards.
As early as the design stage, we start to think about how to test the vehicle. Once we have the vehicles built, we perform vigorous testing (automated as well as ride testing) to ensure the safety and reliability of our product. Our 150-person in-house engineering team is based in San Francisco, which allows us to test vehicles at our own research and development center. We also have a team of engineers and quality control personnel in China to oversee manufacturing in person. Paired together, our in-house design team and our control over manufacturing means we can quickly address safety issues, without depending on third-party Original Equipment Manufacturers for action when issues arise. While many micromobility companies have limited experience safely operating and maintaining their own shared vehicles, our scooters are the most road-tested on the market. Our vehicles are also independently tested to confirm compliance with safety and performance standards.
To keep Lime at the forefront of innovation, we invest annually in research and development to build custom, commercial-grade vehicles. Our engineers also continuously examine field feedback from users and communities to determine the next generation of our vehicles as well as the next product innovations. We’re continuously improving upon our testing, designs and engineering to ensure our components and vehicles provide safe and reliable trips for our riders.
After we’ve determined our vehicles can stand up to all an urban environment can throw at them, we manufacture them at a large scale. At this point, we’ve gathered input from various stakeholders, evaluated the design in numerous environments and test conditions, and are now ready to ensure the design will be produced repeatedly, in order to give all of our riders the same experience. Once manufactured, we undertake the massive logistical challenge to deliver these vehicles to cities around the world, so you, our riders, can enjoy them.
The direct result of these in-depth processes and design is industry-leading hardware. For example, our Gen4 e-bike, launching soon, offers riders a top-quality bike that is simpler and more functional for everyday use. The most impactful upgrade is the e-bike’s swappable battery, which is interchangeable with Lime’s Gen4 scooter. The Gen4 is our latest e-scooter model, designed to provide safety, comfort and reliability, setting a new standard for the shared scooter industry.
Swappable, interchangeable batteries are a game-changer for the micromobility industry, allowing Lime to streamline operations across more markets and reduce the frequency of charging and rebalancing vehicles. The swappable battery also yields tremendous environmental benefits by cutting down on vehicle miles traveled from Lime’s operations vans, further enhancing our commitment to a sustainable service that is central to Lime’s mission.
While our riders are the driving force behind our commitment to develop industry-leading hardware, there’s also another stakeholder that is important to the process: cities. Our hyper local approach and multi-modal fleet helps to differentiate us from our competitors and cities choose to partner with us because we are reliable, accountable and deeply experienced in operating micromobility services. We’re committed to partnering with cities to build the right shared mobility program for each community down to the hardware that their residents will be riding. Our community-centric approach has been key in helping us scale rapidly while meeting the unique needs of each community we serve and it is important for us to communicate how our hardware is the backbone of our exemplary service.
Our goal is for all this hard work behind the scenes to culminate in a ride that is safe, fun and reliable for our riders, while helping improve life in the cities we serve.