LimeBike launches electric bikes in Seattle, planning electric scooters soon

SEATTLE — You now have an easier bike-share option to get from Pioneer Square up to Capitol Hill or from Ballard up to Phinney Ridge.

LimeBike launched its electric bikes, the Lime E, with 300 electric bikes now available to rent by the minute.

Robin Randels took advantage of the new option on Monday in downtown Seattle.

“Getting started on the uphill is a lot easier with the assist,” said Randels, who lives on top of Phinney Ridge.

“I tested it out the other day and it got up the big hill, which is good. And it's great for something like this because the distance from Pioneer Square to Pike Market where I'm going is a little bit for walking and I'm in a time crunch.”

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The traditional LimeBike costs $1 every 30 minutes. The Lime E is $1 to unlock, and 10 cents/minute after that. It'll cost $1.50 to $2 to get around town.

LimeBike founding team member Caen Conte told KIRO 7 they chose Seattle to launch the Lime E because of its bike culture and the many hills.

“Ultimately this allows us to say Seattle has the largest, shared electric mobility program in the country,” Conte said.

“And ultimately LimeBike is becoming the largest shared, electric fleet operator in the country as well.”

The bikes go a maximum 14.8 miles per hour and can travel 72 miles on one charge. When the lithium batteries get low enough you won't find them available, and a LimeBike worker will swap the battery.

The way the technology works is the less you peddle, the more the electric motor kicks in. For now, LimeBike is the only electric bike in Seattle. As for its competitors, Spin recently announced an electric bike. But it's not coming to Seattle. Mainly to college campuses.

“I think you'll see that ride-share, which has been solely for cars, now will include bikes,” Conte said.

“And bike-share and ride-share will merge in a way where ultimately, it's just one easy form for you to get around the city in the most convenient, accessible, and affordable way.”

Conte also broke the news that LimeBike will also soon launch electric scooters in Seattle. There’s no time frame yet.

Randels said the electric power gives her a new option to get to her house on top of Phinney Ridge.

“Cheaper than the bus,” She said. “Cheaper than an Uber.”