Electric-assist Lime bikes will be available in London for the first time from Friday. A fleet of 1,000 Lime e-bikes is to be placed throughout the boroughs of Brent and Ealing, where they can be hired and unlocked via a smartphone app.
The dockless bikes cost £1 to unlock and 15p per minute of ride time.
The US start-up said that, because they are equipped with a 250-watt motor which enables a maximum assist speed of nearly 15mph, the bikes are suitable for any age or fitness level.
The London rollout follows the introduction of the bikes in Milton Keynes last month. See story here.
Lime’s UK general manager, Jaanaki Momaya, said: “We are delighted to bring Lime to one of the most innovative and exciting cities in the world.
“We believe our emission-free, affordable, accessible and convenient e-bikes will revolutionise transport around London, offering people a simple and fun way to move around the capital. Over the coming months, we will also be looking at ways to further expand our offering in the UK.
“At Lime, we pride ourselves on sustainability and through this launch, want to empower Londoners to counteract the emissions produced and create a healthier society for all.”
Lime’s bikes do not use docking stations, and instead can be parked anywhere, with the company encouraging users to park bikes responsibly.
The company, which also makes electric scooters, has previously been met with a backlash in some parts, however, with residents and local authorities in cities such as San Francisco clashing with a range of different start-ups who flooded streets with mobility options that were labelled a nuisance.
Lime said its London team will comprise “locally-hired staff” whose local knowledge will help with the rollout of the new fleet.The firm said it would work closely with local authorities to ensure the “fair and respectful distribution of the service” in the two new areas.
Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “We’re delighted that Lime is launching its dockless electric-assist bike service in Ealing. We’ve long supported cycling and cyclists, and are pleased Lime’s e-bikes will provide a new way to get even more people on to bikes across the borough.
“A greater range of convenient, zero-emission, transport options like e-bikes are a vital part of our strategy for reducing emissions, improving air quality and protecting the environment.”
Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt said the borough was proud to be one of the first in London to “offer our residents the opportunity to access this new, innovative, and environmentally friendly service”.
The bikes, which also come with self-activating locks, are already in use in several other European cities, including Madrid, Paris and Warsaw, as well as in the US.