Lime e-scooters, a scooter sharing service in California, has been cautioning riders about malfunctioning batteries in some of their machines. Previously, they've had trouble with various cities that don't want the scooters in their streets.
The so-called manufacturing defects included batteries that smoldered and a few instances of scooters catching fire, although the faulty scooters were quickly pulled. The malfunction seems to be due to a welding issue that causes the batteries to short-circuit. Cities that were affected included Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe in California.
A fire though in Bloomington, Indiana was blamed on a Lime electric scooter by the city's fire department, after it was left in a dumpster. The scooter's battery caught fire.
Electric scooters have grown popular across cities in the United States, as riders flock to the new commuting option which charges small micro fees depending on how far someone rides. Companies that are running e-scooter businesses include Bird, Jump and of course Lime, attracting investments from brands like Uber and Lyft.
Initially, Lime attempted to place the blame on Segway Ninebot scooters, the model that makes up most of the company's little fleets. When the battery reports first came in, Lime worked with Segway Ninebot to monitor their scooters and bring faulty models in for analysis. However, Lime recently announced that Segway Ninebot reported another one of their models to have similar battery issues.
Many cities are pushing back against electric scooters, claiming them unsafe for pedestrians and riders alikeiStock
Segway then pushed back — the company stated that they stand behind their technology and that Lime's explanation of battery malfunction was "not based on a good understanding of battery technology." If anything, a welding problem would lead to a battery's inability to charge, not to short-circuit. The issue could be continued abuse of Lime's scooters by the general population.
Lime also pointed fingers at scooters made by Chinese company Okai Vehicles, when some users found the baseboard they stood on would crack and occasionally break. Okai also pushed back calling the claims "groundless," in a statement.
Lime updated its safety policies and procedures, which now includes daily diagnostic readings on all its scooters.
We proactively take our scooters off the streets for maintenance and inspection," said the company. "Vehicles that don't meet our standards are quickly removed by our trained mechanics for repair."