Shared micro mobility giant Lime is piloting electric motorbikes in Long Beach, California.
Lime has been teasing a new form factor to cater to use cases outside of scooters and bikes for a while, so it’s no surprise to see the company test out a vehicle that’s sturdy and comfortable like a bike but easy to ride like a scooter.
The new vehicle, named Citra, also comes a few months after Lime quietly killed off its shared moped programs in New York City and Washington D.C. Lime had started to introduce mopeds to the mix in January 2021 as a vehicle that riders could tap for longer trips, but has settled for the moment on vehicles that are fit for the bike lane, according to a Lime spokesperson.
The Citra does come with some upgraded features. For example, it rides more like a tiny, lightweight moped, and as such has no pedals and only moves forward with a throttle on the handlebars. The new vehicle also has a headlight, taillight, front and rear turn signals, a horn and a sealable rear compartment for storage.
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Lime’s new vehicle, Citra, is built with a rear, sealable storage compartment.
“We’re hoping with the new vehicle to get more women riders, as well,” Russell Murphy, senior director of corporate communications, told TechCrunch. “We want women to see this as something that’s for them in a way that they might not with scooters. There are various components like the fact that it’s seated, it’s a bit lower to the ground, it appears visually a bit safer because you have this more robust vehicle under you, but it’s not as heavy as a moped.”
Providing form factors that suit women isn’t a bad way to increase ridership, especially considering that 79% of women reported not feeling safe using e-scooters, according to recent research from UK non-profit Women in Transport and micromobility company Voi.
Lime has also been testing its new batteries for the past six months in San Francisco, Antwerp and Le Havre, according to the company.
“We saw from riders who gave end-of-trip ratings that ratings were higher on vehicles that used the new battery,” said Murphy, noting this was especially true for trips that started with battery power under 30% that managed to not die mid-ride.