Lime’s Car-Share Business Goes Sour

can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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Not everything Lime touches turns to green. The mobility company, best known for its bright-green fleet of shareable scooters, is closing down LimePod, the company’s pilot car-sharing program.

  • LimePod was Lime’s first entry into car sharing.
  • Users paid $15 to join, then $1 to unlock a LimePod vehicle, with 40 cents charged per mile of usage.
  • The service was only offered in Seattle, Washington.

Sorry, Lime fans, you’re going to have to get back on your bikes and e-scooters. As reported by Geekwire.com, the start-up mobility company announced that its pilot car-share service, called “LimePod,” will be shutting down by the end of the year. Only available in Seattle, LimePod relied on a fleet of Fiat 500 hatchbacks.

LimePod relied on Fiat 500 hatchbacks and operated only in Seattle, Washington. (Photo: Kris Krug/Lime)

The end is near

LimePod will officially come to an end on December 31, while new applications to the program will be halted in mid-October. In an official statement about the decision to discontinue LimePod, a company spokesperson hinted a similar service might be offered in the future, but with a fleet of electric vehicles.

“We deeply appreciate our partnership with the Seattle community and the opportunity to collaborate on our LimePod Pilot Program,” read Lime’s statement. “We are similarly committed to that goal and the information gained during our pilot will support the work necessary should we decide to expand and improve this service with an all-electric fleet in the future.”

LimePod charged users a one-time fee of $15 to join, plus a $1 fee to unlock a vehicle using their smartphone and QR code scanner. For each mile traveled, an additional 40 cents were charged, though fuel and insurance were included in the overall cost.

Once at their destination, or as close to it as possible, the LimePod driver would park at the nearest “legal metered and non-metered street spaces or residential permit zones,” according to the FAQs section of the LimePod website.

Lime has left the door open to coming back to the car-share business, but via a fleet of electric vehicles. (Photo: Kris Krug/Lime)

Strong competition doomed LimePod

The LimePod business model went up against strong competition that ranges from peer-to-peer car-sharing services, like RelayRides and Maven, along with larger ride-shares like ZipCar, which have dedicated parking locations. This isn’t the first car-share service that recently reached the end of the road in Seattle.

ReachNow, a ride-hailing and car-sharing service jointly backed by automotive giants BMW and Daimler, abruptly shut down its services this summer. The company was operating in Brooklyn, NY, along with Seattle and Portland, OR. The ReachNow service operated for approximately three years but, in the end, the venture was stopped with little warning, leaving frequent users with a sudden need to quickly realign their car-share allegiances.

The opportunity to make a fast profit is pushing the rapid expansion of many new mobility firms. Yet, this also leaves these companies open to make sudden changes and quick decisions to either enter, or leave, any given market. For those taking a chance on a new ride-share or car-share service in their city, the result could be a handy and reliable new means of transportation, or an endless wait for a ride that’s no longer coming.

As for Lime, it still remains one of the segment leaders when it comes to electric scooter and bike rentals. The company presently offers its micromobility solutions in roughly 90 cities and urban centers around the U.S.

However, the service has sometimes come under scrutiny over safety concerns and, in some cases, has been banned from operating in certain cities.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Not everything a red-hot mobility company touches will take off. In the case of Lime, an experiment in car-sharing comes to a sudden end in Seattle. However, Lime left the door open to a future car-share service using EVs.


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can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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