Lime already offers app-based bike and scooter rental in 88 locations in 27 U.S. states, and 17 cities in 10 other countries, and this week it’s adding cars to its fleet.
As you might expect for such a move, Lime has chosen to launch its carsharing service in tentative fashion, starting off in just one city: Seattle, Washington.
Folks there will find 50 “LimePod” cars — essentially four-seat Fiat 500 vehicles with Lime branding — dotted about the city. Another 450 are expected to join the fleet by the end of 2018, with a further 1,000 hitting the streets of Seattle next year, according to Bloomberg.
The cars cost a dollar to unlock — via Lime’s smartphone app — and then 40 cents per minute to drive, with extras such as gas and insurance all covered.
Once your trip is over, you have a fair amount of freedom as to where you park the car; in other words, you’re not required to leave it in a specific location as you do with some similar services.
Lime’s new carsharing service goes up against Car2go and ReachNow, each of which operates around 700 vehicles in Seattle, so customers will be watching to see if the new player has any effect on pricing or perks among Lime’s competitors.
But why, you may ask, has Lime decided to start dealing with the very vehicles that we thought it was aiming to replace with its two-wheelers? Well, the company sees all of its transportation options as working together as part of an integrated mobility service, so you might, for example, hop on one of Lime’s electric scooters to reach one of its cars for a longer journey across town or to run an errand. And on rainy or bitterly cold days, a car will certainly seem like a much more attractive option than an ebike or escooter.
“Lime’s [cars] offer a convenient, affordable, weather-resistant mobility solution for communities,” the company told Digital Trends, adding, “The ease of use of finding, unlocking, and paying for cars will be consistent with how riders use Lime scooters and ebikes today.”
Lime is looking to take its carsharing service to more locations in the U.S., and is reportedly in talks with officials in a California city, though it’s so far declined to say which one.
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