Not so smooth scooting for Lime.
Not so smooth scooting for Lime.

Image: Chesnot/Getty Images

E-scooter company Lime is cautioning riders and contract workers about malfunctioning batteries and other issues with some of its scooters.

Lime uses Segway Ninebot scooters in many of its cities, but after an August report about battery issues in “several” units, faulty scooters are being pulled from the fleet. What Lime calls a manufacturing defect sometimes led to smoldering batteries, which would then catch fire. Lime called these “isolated instances.”

Back in August, Lime worked with Segway Ninebot to digitally monitor batteries for faulty units, which would then prompt a scooter deactivation. Lime says this affected scooters in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe. 

Now, Lime says the company’s received an “unconfirmed report” about another Segway Ninebot scooter model that may have similar battery issues. Understandably, it’s prompted some immediate fixes.

Lime recently unveiled its Gen 3 scooter, which utilizes gear from other manufacturers. But since there are still Segway Ninebots out there, Lime is only allowing charging of those models in its own storage facilities, instead of having contract workers charge them. 

In a blog post this week, Lime said the battery problem affects .01 percent of its scooter fleet, but it’s still concerned about its riders’ safety and its network of chargers, called Juicers.

An email went out to Juicers on Wednesday summarizing the blog post and reiterating that all Segway Ninebot scooter home charging is temporarily suspended. The email went on to assure contract workers that the company is “grateful” for their support and “cares deeply” about their safety.  

Lime says it has a new daily diagnostic testing program in place for all its scooters’ batteries, no matter the manufacturer. At Lime storage facilities where scooters are being charged, 24-hour on-duty teams will keep an eye on the batteries.

A separate issue with Lime’s Okai-manufactured scooters was also revealed this week. When ridden off a curb at high speeds, the baseboard can crack or break. Lime said it’s “studying the issue,” which happens only when scooters are used improperly. It called the type of riding that leads to broken boards “repeated abuse.” 

Bird’s newest scooter also uses Okai. We reached out to Bird to see if its Okai scooters had experienced any issues.

Another scooter manufacturer, Xiaomi, reportedly has asked Lyft to stop using its scooters. In a letter obtained by TechCrunch, the Chinese scooter maker says Lyft never asked to use, modify, or reference the brand. The letter states “We also do not condone Lyft’s unauthorized modification or retrofitting of our electric scooters for general public use.”

It’s tough scooting these days.

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