Lime has taken some of its electric scooters off the streets of Los Angeles, San Diego and Tahoe after thousands were found to go up in smoke or flames.
The scooter and bike startup said Wednesday it made the decision after it learned in August of an issue with the batteries in its scooters.
Lime said the issue originated from the batteries made by Ninebot, the parent company of Segway.
‘The issue arose in one of the two batteries housed on early versions of the scooter; in several isolated instances, a manufacturing defect could result in the battery smoldering or, in some cases, catching fire,’ Lime said in a statement.
Lime estimates that the defect impacted less than 0.01 percent of its scooter fleet.
It has since created a software program to identify potentially affected batteries, as well as another software to make sure no ‘potentially faulty scooters’ were in operation.
‘When an affected battery was identified – with a red code – we promptly deactivated the scooter so that no members of the public could ride or charge it,’ the company said.
The statement came after the Washington Post found Lime employees had alerted the company about safety issues and felt they hadn’t been adequately addressed.
In one case, the fire department showed up at Lime’s Lake Tahoe office in August after a scooter caught fire, the Post said.
Lime, which has millions of riders, also told the Post that a total of about 2,000 scooters were recalled.
‘All vulnerable scooters were quickly removed from circulation, minimally impacting service to our Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe markets,’ Lime said.
‘At no time were riders or members of the public put at risk.’
That said, Lime noted that it has received another report that some Segway Ninebot scooters are vulnerable to battery failure.
‘Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we’ve recently received an unconfirmed report that another Segway Ninebot scooter model may also be vulnerable to battery failure, which we are currently investigating,’ the firm said.
The company has also faced issues with its scooter manufacturer, Okai.
Baseboards on the Okai scooter have been found to crack or break when ‘subjected to repeated abuse,’ it said.
The issues seem to occur often when the scooters are ridden off a curb at high speed.
‘We are currently studying this issue and incorporating these learnings into our design process,’ Lime said.
It’s unclear whether or not Lime will continue working with either Ninebot or Okai.
The firm said it will introduce new safety initiatives in the coming weeks.
‘Lime takes full responsibility for our scooters,’ the company wrote.
‘The safety of our riders, Juicers, and community is our highest priority, and we will continue to hold our equipment manufacturers and ourselves to the highest possible standard.’