Mobility startup Lime is looking to add electric motorbikes to its existing fleet of e-bikes and e-scooters. The company today launched a pilot program in Long Beach, California for its custom motorbike, which it is calling the Citra. Lime spokesperson Russell Murphy toldThe Verge that the company plans to release several hundred Citra bikes in the California city this summer, potentially topping up to 500 motorbikes if ridership is strong enough.
According to Lime’s description of the Citra, it’s built for longer distances and combines “the seated comfort of an e-bike with the effortlessness of an e-scooter.” At least aesthetically speaking, the Citra definitely resembles both. Similar to other Lime vehicles, the Citra also contains a swappable battery that gets charged by its local operation team. The motorbike is equipped with a few useful features such as storage space for groceries, a horn, front and rear turn signals and a phone mount.
Lime is hoping that customers will seek alternative methods of transportation like the Citra in light of this summer’s record-high gas prices. “Citra is the perfect way to save money on gas, avoid time wasted in traffic, and alleviate the headaches of hunting for parking this summer and we’re excited about its potential,” said Lime president Joe Kraus in a statement.
Mobility startups have struggled to prosper due to opposition from local legislatures, safety failures and a decline in ridership during the pandemic. Some have resorted to terminating staff or winding down operations in order to stay afloat. Back in 2020, Lime laid off a small chunk of its workforce and pulled out of Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, San Antonio and eight other cities outside the US. The company has made some strides since then — it raised a $523 million funding round last year and recently unveiled a Gen4 ebike.
But Lime and other mobility startups aren’t out of the woods yet. As Bloombergnoted, e-scooter ridership still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.