Lime is adding electric mopeds to its range of rentable vehicles. The company, best known for scooters and bicycles, will start with pilot schemes in Washington, DC and Paris, before expanding to “a handful of cities” sometime this spring. For now, there’s no word on cost or whether it will be covered under a Lime Pass subscription. We do know, however, that the vehicles are being supplied by Niu, a Chinese company that works with Revel, another micro mobility service, and has its own business selling mopeds direct to consumers. They’ll have a top speed of 28MPH and be able to take you 87 miles on a single charge, Lime claims.
Mopeds are faster than scooters and are, therefore, potentially more dangerous. In a blog post, Lime said it had “seen where others have fallen short,” no doubt referencing Revel, and “invested heavily” in safety procedures. Riders will be given a safety e-course, for instance, and must complete some kind of test — it’s not clear if that’s written or practical — before hitting the road. Lime will also provide free lessons for anyone that wants to learn how to safely ride a moped. Small groups will be taught all of the basics, such as braking, turning and parking, by instructors certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
But that’s not all. Mopeds will be limited to riders over the age of 21 in the US and 18 in Paris. You’ll also need a driver’s license and, to ensure you’re the license holder, be asked to take a photo before your first ride. Helmets are mandatory, too. You’ll need to take a photo of your head wearing one before every trip. If you take it off, an infrared sensor will notify Lime. “We’ve heard from officials in major cities that this was a priority, so we made it our priority to develop it,” the company said in a press release. The helmets will be manufactured by Moon in the US and Nikko in Europe, ensuring compliance with each region’s local regulations.
Mopeds could help Lime to differentiate from the swarm of other companies offering rentable scooters and bicycles. It will also support the company’s ambition to become a transportation platform. Last October, for instance, Lime updated its app so that riders could rent sit-down scooters supplied by Wheels.