Lime to invest $50m in e-bike expansion

1 Mar 2021

Lime's new e-bike. Image: Lime

The micromobility outfit is growing the presence of its bikes globally to complement its fleet of e-scooters.

Micromobility company Lime is investing $50m in electric bikes and will expand its fleets in dozens of markets.

Lime is mostly known for its e-scooter rental services but the business actually began with bikes, under the name LimeBike, before shifting its attention to scooters a few years ago.

As the company has scaled rapidly in several global markets, it reintroduced bikes into its service. Last year, it also took over Jump, Uber’s e-bike arm.

The $50m will be invested in upgrading Lime’s fleets of bikes and entering new markets. Chief executive Wayne Ting said the company would be expanding e-bikes to 25 new cities in 2021 and launching a new model of e-bike with a battery that can be swapped with its latest e-scooters.

The bike can reach speeds of up to 20mph, depending on local rules, and comes with a revamped electronic locking system.

Services have been launched in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand to date, with more cities to be added during the summer months.

Ting said e-bikes will assist with the company’s ambitions to serve any trip under five miles, whether that’s with a bike or a scooter, especially as cycling has enjoyed a boom in popularity since last year as people seek alternatives to public transport during the pandemic.

“That’s why we’re making substantial investments to upgrade our world-class e-bike and bring it to more cities across the globe, giving riders a new and exciting way to leave the car behind,” Ting said.

“Shared micromobility is playing an essential role in getting cities moving again safely so we see this as a critical moment to double down on e-bikes as an open-air, socially-distanced transportation option.”

According to Lime, it achieved its “first full quarter of profitability in 2020”, though it did not provide any more details on when and how that profit was achieved. The company is rumoured to be planning a public listing through a SPAC.

Lime raised $170m last year in a round led by Uber. The multi-layered deal saw Uber take a stake in the company while also selling off its Jump e-bike unit to Lime. At the time, Uber was making several cuts to its business as the pandemic slashed its main ride-hailing operation.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin