If you've been in a city recently, chances are you've seen a Lime Scooter or two scattered around the streets; Electric scooters are quickly taking over many cityscapes around the US and the world. Lime is marketed as a cutting-edge and sustainable company providing a new, easy method of transportation, but are they are they are hyped up to be? I argue yes, Lime is the real deal. Beyond simply being an electric vehicle service, Lime is wholly committed to sustainability in all facets and is very transparent about it, being on track to be carbon negative as a whole by 2025. In addition, and very importantly, Lime Scooters are an inherently accessible product- they are affordable and anyone with a smartphone is able to ride the scooters, being equitably distributed through city streets, instead of specific docking stations which historically can benefit more affluent neighborhoods. Lime Scooters have a base fee of $1 USD plus $.35 USD per minute. To do some quick math, this means if you were to go about two miles, which would take you about ten minutes at the 11 miles per hour max speed, it would cost you approximately $4.50 USD. This is comparable (yet maybe a bit more expensive) to bus or train rides, but more flexible as you are able to go to any location you need. Lime is most definitely committed to making our cities sustainable, equitable, and electric, and are paving a new way for how society views transportation as a whole.
I encourage all to ride Lime in lieu of driving or taking an Uber in the future- make an impact while zooming around the city!
While there have been doubts about the sustainability of the materials that make up electric scooters, especially as Lime scooters can many times be found broken and disfigured on the streets, Lime seems to be very committed to limiting the negative impact of its parts. One essential segment of the scooter, its lithium-ion battery, is notoriously controversial, as the mining of lithium has noted environmental and human welfare consequences. Despite this, lithium-ion batteries have still been cited to be be less environmentally harmful than the competing leads batteries, lasting longer and being easier to recycle. Lime also actively promotes a circular design model to mitigate the negative consequences of lithium mining. It does this by reusing its batteries and other modular parts to give the scooters “second lives”. So never fear, many of the unusable scooters that you might see along the streets are actually repaired and not all gone to waste! After the pieces are no longer able to be reused, Lime states it recycles nearly 100% of its hardware and 70% of its batteries. While this is not perfect, it illustrates Lime’s dedication to a circular economy and product.
Lime scooters undoubtedly have low emissions while being used due to being electric, but how do they scale up environmentally when being manufactured? Lime seems to be dedicated to offsetting the negative impact of manufacturing its parts. Lime states it is “decarbonizing its supply chain“, committing to being carbon negative by 2025, across all aspects of the company and supply chain through carbon removals. They are holding themselves accountable as well, stating their carbon reductions will be annually validated and reported on through the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), which sets targets for ambitious corporate climate action.
Lime Scooters and their operations are powered by 100% renewable energy, emitting no greenhouse gases during their use. All factories and offices are powered by renewable power sourced from wind, solar, and hydropower, citing partnerships with numerous local renewable energy companies. In addition, Lime’s operations fleet, which is responsible for the charging and repairing of the scooters, will be zero emissions entirely by 2023 through entirely electric vehicles and bikes, meeting this benchmark in European cities even sooner by this year, 2021.
Lime’s mission since its debut in 2017 has been wholly devoted to sustainability as well as equitability and accessibility. They have signed on to countless external agreements and partnerships to demonstrate this, including joining the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, Drawdown Labs, and We Are All In and signing onto the Global Climate Group’s EV100 (see links in the sources section to learn about these initiatives). They also have a prominent partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), working to educate communities on the carbon impact of transportation and advocate as the grassroots level for city solutions to promote more sustainable urban mobility. These numerous commitments reveal that Lime’s mission is creditable and science-based.