City living can be fun- lots to do, parties almost every night, bars and restaurants within walking distance, and food delivery options for days. Yet despite even the best public transportation, sometimes a car is necessary. However, high costs of living and outrageous monthly parking rates have often discouraged city dwellers from owning a car, forcing them to rely on the generosity of friends with cars.
Lime, the company known for their brightly-colored shared scooters and bikes, recently announced the addition of a fleet of “Lime Pods,” shared cars that will be unlocked with an app, much like their scooters and bikes. The first set of 50 is set to drop in Seattle later this month.
The idea of a “transit pod” was first floated around back in the summer, but seemed far more conceptual than concrete in nature. The design was simple: an enclosed, electric vehicle that could hold one or two people, resembling a smart car or a deluxe golf cart. Originally, it was not clear whether the pod would even have four wheels. After going through many iterations, the design was finalized this fall. The Lime Pods will take the form of a Lime-branded 2018 Fiat 500, a two-seater smart car with limited trunk space. The Lime pods are apparently safe and legal to drive on city streets, but with one major caveat- they only will reportedly go up to 40 mph, although this has not been officially confirmed.
However, despite being as easy to use as scooters and bikes, Lime Pods will have a significantly higher price point per minute of usage with a $1 unlock fee the car and 40 cents per minute of use. (Bikes are $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute while scooters are $1 to unlock and 15 center per minute of use.)
There is no word yet on how Lime plans to handle insurance claims in the event that an off-roading session goes wrong- or if one gets stuck under a semi or other larger vehicle (pretty much everything on the road).