Sure, it’s fun to coast down the city streets, wind sweeping through your hair, on a small electric scooter. But it’s not so cool when the transportation device catches on fire. Last night, Lime admitted that a few of its scooters may have had a defect that could have caused them to go up in flames.
The company claims no Lime users were hurt as a result of this manufacturing issue. “At no time were riders or members of the public put at risk,” the company wrote in a blog post.
According to the Washington Post, who was investigating this issue and presented its findings to Lime, the fire department had been called to a Lake Tahoe manufacturing facility last August after a scooter caught on fire. There had reportedly been other occasions when employees felt the devices were unsafe. The company says it has recalled 2,000 devices–it adds that only a small fraction of those were at risk.
The problem, Lime says in its post, came from one of the batteries the company used in earlier scooter models; “in several isolated instances, a manufacturing defect could result in the battery smoldering or, in some cases, catching fire.” Anonymous employees told the Post that they are worried the company is ignoring safety risks to keep up with its rapid growth plans.
Though those older batteries are no longer being used, Lime says it’s also looking into another potential hazard. The company explains that it has “recently received an unconfirmed report that another Segway Ninebot scooter model may also be vulnerable to battery failure, which we are currently investigating.” It didn’t go into the details about what this vulnerability could be. The company says that it’s ensuring these batteries are safe by having them only charged in their own facilities for the time being. Additionally, the company is implementing a new diagnostic testing program.
Lime has been rapidly expanding, including new international markets like Vienna and Israel. It’s raised over $467 million to date–and is a large component of the new scooter transportation trend sweeping across the world. Still, these new startups–which include Lime, Bird, Skip, and others–haven’t been without critics. Reports of out-of-control teens terrorizing sidewalks atop an electronic scooter have frightened many a neighborhood. Other safety and privacy concerns have been presented, which the companies reportedly have tried to ignore.
This recall, along with the Post’s reporting, brings into question the issue of the devices themselves being potentially hazardous–and not just the people riding them.