LimeBike wants to make that uphill ride home a little less terrible.
The dockless bike-share startup announced Monday at CES that it will roll out between 4,000 and 5,000 electric-assist bicycles to its fleet this year. Called Lime-E, the bikes will be available starting this month in existing LimeBike markets, including Seattle; Miami; Scottsdale, Arizona; Southern California; and greater San Francisco Bay Area.
LimeBike is one of an emerging crop of bike-sharing services, which use your phone and GPS tracking to sprinkle cities with bikes available to hop on wherever the last rider left one. Unlike bike-share programs that require you to rent and return your bike a docking station, LimeBike bicycles can be located by a smartphone app, unlocked by scanning a QR code on the bike and then parked anywhere when you're done, ready for the next rider to track down and borrow. Rides cost only $1 per half-hour rental.
LimeBike, which launched in June, already has traditional bicycles in one-, three- and eight-speed models on the roads. Adding Lime-E electric-assist bikes opens up the possibility of luring new riders who want to go longer distance, take uphill routes or need to arrive at their destination in less of a sweaty mess.
The extra firepower costs a little more. Lime-E bikes will cost $1 to unlock and an additional $1 per every 10 minutes of riding time. The bikes have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, and the power adjusts to adapt to the users' natural pedaling.
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