Most disruptive technologies create a swirl of criticism and praise. The invasion of Lime scooters into our congested cities is no exception. With an inspired combination of mobile software, GPS and a real problem to solve., Lime or a descendant technology of Lime is here to stay. Are approaches such as Lime part of the congestion solution to our growing Cities?
Lime Scooters Key facts
- Dockless, micro battery-powered scooter transport option
- Currently deployed in over 100 Us Cities and over 27 Cities Worldwide
- Designed for last-mile transport in Cities
- $1 unlock charge per trip
- $0.15 per minute charge
- Geofenced in many Cities in regards to blocked zones and speed restricted zones
Who are Lime Scooters
Lime, known initially as LimeBike was founded in 2017, raising USD$12million. The University of North Carolina was home to Lime’s first 125 electric bikes. Lime scooters are now found in over 100 US Cities and 27 Cities worldwide.
Lime’s public mission statement is an aspirational goal in the context of increasing city congestion and air pollution.
Lime is founded on a simple idea that all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility.
Through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles, we aim to reduce dependence on personal automobiles forLime https://www.li.me/about-us
short distancetransportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.
New Lime Scooter developments
Lime partners with Segway and has recently announced its new Lime S G3 model, currently being rolled out in Berlin.
Lime scooter G3 specifications
Lime G3 has increased wheel size (8inch to 10 inches) to improve stability. Suspension and battery improvements in the G3 add to a much improved range and enhanced ride quality.
The G3 increases range to 40km on a 15.9Ah battery. Top speed remains at 26km per hour. The introduction of geofencing to restrict speed, and also in some areas enforced blocking of Lime Scooters using geo-fencing of the Lime scooter top speed, likely had Lime and Segway focus on range and ride quality rather than speed.
The Lime G3 gains a little weight jumping to 22.5kg over the G2.5 17kg, mainly due to an extra 20 battery cells. As the battery pack on the Lime G3 is now in the base-board, the new scooter also enjoys a lower centre of gravity. The feel of the Lime G3 is lighter and more nimble as a consequence of shifting the battery under the feet of the rider.
The new display on the Lime G3 also indicates to the rider when they are forcibly slowed down when in a geo-fenced area.
The Lime G3 adds a 2.8 inch color screen with rider safety and parking notifications. Maybe at some point this screen could provide turn-by-turn navigation.
An important re-design aspect removes any exposed wiring or cabling. Limes have suffered from vandalism previously, having wiring and cabling cut. With internally routed wiring and cabling, the Lime is much more resistant to vandalism. With the average lifespan of a scooter being a low 3 months a lot of design emphasis is being placed on longevity as well as safety.
Not everyone is happy with the updated Lime G3, some Juicers (gig-economy rechargers) have complained of the increased weight and hidden reduced reward for charging due to the higher capacity of the battery cells. The increased battery capacity will prolong the life expectancy of the new Lime scooters as the batteries age, the extra 20% extra capacity when new will come in useful as the battery ages.
How do I know if Lime Scooters are available in my City
Lime maintain a world map at https://www.li.me/locations this list all the Cities and Campuses where Lime scooters are deployed. The same map allows you to vote to bring Lime to your City or Campus.
Why would I use a Lime Scooter
Lime scooters are geared for that last mile (1.6km) of your commute. Filling the gap between where commuters disembark from the bus, train or ferry and the workplace. For inner-city dwellers, Lime offers a convenient way to move around the City. Though City-dwellers may well be financially better off buying a scooter outright.
Many university campuses are home to Lime scooters, though some have elected to geo-fence their campus, effectively banning their use on campus.
What is the range of a Lime Scooter
Battery range of the Lime G2.5 was in the region of 20km. The new Lime G3 increases the range to 40km by adding 20 cells to the battery pack.
Range is limited by geofencing to prevent use outside of the area Lime deploys the scooters. Riders are fined/charged if they leave the scooters in a ‘red zone’.
How much do Lime Scooters cost to hire
Lime scooters cost $1 to unlock and then $0.15 per minute. Nearby scooters available for hire show up on the lime app. Simply scanning the QR code or entering the scooter id number into the app unlocks the scooter to you.
Lime are significantly cheaper and convenient to use than say Uber or a taxi. Whether you could manage your airport to hotel ride is questionable though!
How do Lime Scooters get recharged
An army of Juicers collects Lime scooters overnight to restore the charge in the scooters for payment. Often teams of Juicers will work together and Juicing (recharging and re-deploying) Lime scooters is quite lucrative.
The nature of night-time collections reduces the number of Lime scooters within the City at night. Not wholly a bad thing as drinking and scootering can be a recipe for disaster. As Juicers target the most lucrative Limes, we still find enough around at night.
Can I make money with Lime Scooters
Juicing is arguably an excellent way to earn money through lime scooters. With the right vehicle to collect a good amount of scooters in one trip, a reasonable amount can be made.
During the day, only Limes with less than 16% charge appear on the Juicers map for collection. During the night the map lights up with any Lime scooters with less than 60% charge.
Each Lime recharged and dropped off earns around $5, and relocating a scooter left out of area gains around a $4 bounty. Some Juicers have traded in their cars for UTEs or vans to maximise pick-up capacity. It’s worth doing some conservative maths before venturing deeply committing financially as a Juicer.
Tips for making money as a Lime Juicing
Local knowledge is essential; it is also worth studying the Lime maps each evening for a few weeks. Limes are likely to be left in different locations Friday-Sunday than Monday through Thursday.
Be strategic, not following the crowds to the obvious location can work to your advantage. Keep an eye out for seasonal changes too, summer and winter can have different commuter behaviour.
Team up, running solo to collect Lime scooters is slow and inefficient. Also, at night, there is the element of safety in numbers.
Honour your reservations, if reserving scooters for recharge collection, then collect.
Some Juicers have their favourite collection spots, either close to their charging station/home/garage or where they can collect the most Limes in a short amount of time. Sometimes it’s not worth reserving collections in highly sought after areas.
Work out if the scooters left out of the area with an additional relocation bonus/bounty are worth the extra effort.
Are Lime Scooters Safe
Lime has faced a number of prominent articles and concerns over safety. Some can be attributed to failings in the scooters, such as a few cases of brakes engaging.
A more significant number have been through rider behaviour. A relatively high speed, small wheels, pedestrian and traffic congestion, aren’t a good mix. Some cities have worked with Lime to geo-fence high risk (or high complaint) areas to either force speed reduction or prevent the scooters from entering the area.
Lime has introduced a number of ‘first ride’ programmes and launch events to help ensure new riders can pick up the right technique and mindset to be a safe and promote good community rider mindset.
Riding whilst drunk or riding beyond your own capability or conditions comprises a safe ride. Within 48 hours of the launch of 200 Lime-S scooters in Hamilton, New Zealand there had been one reported broken-leg (recorded early hours of the morning) and also reported of several Lime-S scooters having been purposefully thrown off an iconic bridge in Hamilton into the Waikato River.
29% of injured scooter riders reported consuming alcohol in the 12 hours before riding.Lime Scooters
Lime Scooters in the City
Lime are an efficient form of City and last-mile transport, encouraging commuters to use buses, trains or ferries to travel into the City. The speed and ease of travel are very appealing and unlike bikes or your own scooter, travelling with your bike or scooter isn’t a problem.
City design is still mostly car-centric; there is a strong argument that Lime scooters are shifting congestion from the roads to the causeway/pavement.
The top speed of Lime is under legal requirements in many countries. Limemhave the ability to further limit speed using geofencing. The new Lime-S G3 has additional feedback on the LED screen to advise riders when they are speed restricted as they travel through an Orange zone.
City design is largely car-centric, pavement/walkway space is limited. More modern city design is largely moving towards multi-modal transport that encourages a broader range of safe commuting options. Cities planners have realised that road-widening alone is unlikely to resolve long term congestion and pollution issues in busy cities.
Lime has a number of geofenced zones
- Red, no parking
- Dark Orange, no-go areas
- Light Orange, speed restricted zones
Unlike other renting schemes such as Uber, Lime scooters are space efficient and zero emission whilst being used. Total environmental impact needs to include manufacturing and battery disposal stages of life for the scooter.
A significant advantage of Lime scooters in busy Cities is the lack of parking space requirement. Parking is usually a scarce and premium commodity in the City.
Scooters aren’t immune from parking issues however, there are many vocal arguments that Limes scattered around the City streets is both unsightly and hazardous. Lime themselves publish parking guidelines.
Red-zone parking violation is detectable via GPs and can result in a rider fine and account suspension for repeated red-zone parking
- wheelchair ramps
- middle of bike or pedestrian pathways
- hospital entrances
- fire stations
- inside gated communities
- remote locations where phone service is not accessible.
- red no-parking zones
Lime has also introduced red-zones. Riders are prohibited from parking in a red-zone. Careless or inconsiderate parking of Lime Scooters is a common complaint from other commuters in the busy City. Abandoned, and in particular, scooters thrown on the ground become quite a hazard in bust streets.
In response to growing scooters numbers, some Cities have introduced road and street markings for designated scooter parking. This is enforced in some areas, with the Lime app requiring a photo of the parking to be submitted in order to confirm parking within the marked parking areas.
It’s good to see Lime working with City authorities and trying to come up with practical City advice and in-app technology to help Lime grow to be a good citizen.
Lime Group Ride
Lime has introduced Group Ride into a number of Cities. Over 20 predominantly European Cities have access to Group Ride. Update: Lime has now launched Group Ride into the United States
As well as introducing new riders to Lime, the Group ride feature is also partially a response to riders riding two-up after a trip to the pub. Though riding with a passenger isn’t allowed per Lime’s conditions of use, rider and passenger is a reasonably common sight late at night in the City.
Lime Group Ride allows a Lime user to become ‘host’ to up to five guest riders. Group Ride can be activated even if the host rider has already hired out their own ride.
Group Ride is a great option for an occasional family ride, though Lime states all riders must be at least 18 years old. Rental rates soon mount up with Group Ride. Hopefully Lime will introduce a Group Ride discount in future.