- Dockless bike-sharing company LimeBike has launched its first electric-assist bike (e-bike) fleet in Seattle.
- The Lime-E bikes can reach maximum speeds of 14.8 mph and will cost an additional 10 cents per minute to ride, on top of the standard $1 unlocking fee.
- The company says this is the largest e-bike release to date in the United States, and Seattle will have more e-bikes than any other U.S. city.
The dockless bike-sharing scene blew up last summer as multiple businesses simultaneously became licensed for pilot programs in U.S. cities. In addition to traditional bikes, some cities like Washington, DC also introduced e-bikes, although that style is still far less prevalent. While some cities are licensing e-bike system operators, such as Jump, another tactic being used in San Francisco is to incorporate e-bikes into its existing, station-centric bike-sharing program.
Lime-E bikes use electric power to give riders a zero-emissions boost with a 250-watt motor. They are a way to provide a more equitable service model and to address different customers' needs, and also offer riders some assistance on longer trips or on difficult terrain.
Hills are one major area where e-bikes are lauded for helping riders. That makes Seattle a perfect launching ground for Lime-E, considering that the city has a lot of steep hills that make biking difficult. In fact, the city's hilly topography is one of the factors that is blamed for the failure of Seattle's original bike-share program.
Lime-E plans to expand service to other markets throughout the year, including parts of California.