Car Industry

Lime will offer car sharing in Seattle, moving beyond bikes and scooters

Hopefully, renters won't also leave the cars tipped over on the sidewalk.

Lime

You might be familiar with Lime from its brightly branded dockless scooters and bikes littered across urban landscapes, but soon, you might also see its splash of color adorning actual, honest-to-goodness cars.

Lime intends to roll out a car sharing service in Seattle, GeekWire reports, citing confirmation from the Seattle Department of Transportation. Lime confirmed the move into car sharing in an emailed statement, although it did not comment on Seattle specifically. "Last week, Lime announced onstage at the JD Power Automotive Roundtable that the company is officially making a move into car sharing," Lime's emailed statement reads. "You can expect electric vehicles to be an additional micro-mobility option for Lime riders to choose from within the Lime app soon. More details on timing, specs of the vehicle, locations for the first rollout, etc. will be announced in the coming weeks."

Don't expect the first- and last-mile mobility company to stock streets with Lincoln Navigators or Mercedes-Benz S-Classes, though. Reports claim that Lime will rely on small, electric vehicles for its sharing service, including the two-seat Renault Twizy. A Lime spokesperson told GeekWire the cars would be available through Lime's app, just like its bikes and scooters. Currently, Lime users can find unused vehicles in the app, scan the QR code upon arrival and take right off. Odds are, its car sharing program will be equally seamless to access.

Is the Renault Twizy conventionally attractive as a vehicle? Heavens no. But, it's small and efficient, which is what short-term users will need more than some flashy body panels.

Renault

The news of Lime's possible foray into car sharing broke in June, when Axios obtained a confidential pitch deck that said the company intended to share cars in "one or two markets" as early as Q4 2018. The deck claims car sharing costs will start with a $1 charge, accruing an additional 40 cents per minute of use.

This could be beneficial to Lime's operations in Seattle, as electric scooter rentals are currently banned from Seattle's city streets, and that won't change until the city can establish a permit program. Seattle already has an established car sharing presence by way of BMW's ReachNow and Daimler's Car2Go. Relying on a fleet of small, electric cars could offer Lime users less reason to move beyond its app when it comes to longer trips that might be more difficult for scooters or bikes.