Technology

Lime adds Wheels shared e-bikes to its app as it seeks to become a one-stop shop for mobility

The subsequent time you open Lime’s smartphone app, you might even see a new kind of car that isn’t an electrical scooter. The San Francisco-based firm introduced in the present day that it is integrating Wheels, a shared electrical bike startup, into its app so clients can lease an e-bike from Wheels as simply as they might a scooter from Lime.

Lime plans to add extra shared mobility providers to its app within the coming months as it seeks to become each a supplier and platform for all two-wheeled electrical transport. The “ultimate goal,” a spokesperson mentioned, is to personal “all light electric vehicle trips under 5 miles.” It’s an formidable one, particularly contemplating that shared electrical bike and scooter corporations are nonetheless struggling to flip a revenue as COVID-19 upends supply chains and the transportation section globally.

Wheels’ e-bikes might be obtainable in Lime’s app beginning this winter in 4 cities: Austin, Miami, Seattle, and Berlin. To lease a Wheels bike, Lime clients will scan the QR code on the handlebar, simply as they might a scooter. Nearby automobiles will seem on the map together with pricing data robotically. Wheels automobiles can even proceed to be obtainable for use on the Wheels app.

Wheels is a Los Angeles-based startup that rents electric bikes in over a dozen cities. Its electric-powered car falls someplace in between a bike and scooter, with no pedals, a seat, small however thick wheels, and a distinctive, low-step body. Since it was based in 2019, the corporate has raised practically $100 million in venture capital to fund the enlargement of its rentable e-bike service. Its newest spherical was final October and was led by DBL Partners, an early investor in Tesla. The firm went through a round of layoffs in February and misplaced its vice chairman for operations.

Lime mentioned the partnership is just not a prelude to an acquisition. The firm says that by bringing different corporations onto its app, Lime can supply comfort and reliability to its clients. The concept is to develop Lime’s person base and retain current clients by providing extra choices with much less app-switching. On the enterprise facet, the corporate says it’s not entertaining any acquisitions proper now.

Wheels received’t be the primary e-bikes to be featured on Lime’s app. Lime began out as a bike-share firm, referred to as LimeBike, earlier than pivoting to scooters in 2018. That identical 12 months, Uber invested over $300 million in Lime in a deal that included integrating Lime’s scooters in Uber’s app. Earlier this 12 months, within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uber sold its money-losing bike-share division, Jump, to Lime in trade for a $170 million funding. Uber then scrapped tens of thousands of the bright-red Jump bikes; the remaining bikes started appearing on Lime’s app beginning in May.

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