Yes, I haven’t fixed my bike. With that I present the Lime: A Razer scooter for adults.
Lime is one of the California companies behind the E-scooter craze that has taken over the world in the last couple of years. A mix of Tech-bubble investing in Wall Street, improved battery tech, and a great infrastructure known as GPS and celular towers make these scooters possible.
In order to get going, you approach it, pay a 10MXN unlocking fee, and take it. The electric motor doesn’t kick in from stand still, you need to get the scooter going before hitting the accelerator.
The Lime-S is front-wheel drive and carries all of the batteries in the post, as opposed to other E-scooters like the Razors, which hid the battery and motor on the board. This may seem counterintuitive, but it makes carrying the Lime-S much easier, which is good... because you’ll have to carry it a lot.
The lime has a range of 20km under optimal conditions and it can take me, a 220lb grown-ass-adult, to a top speed of 30km/h in about 5 seconds. It has a regenerative braking system in the front wheel and a friction brake on the rear wheel; neither are very effective and panic stops on a lime scooter from the insane top speed are... panicky.
The small wheels and limited suspension make for an uncomfortable and challenging ride; groves on concrete roads that would be unperceetable in a bicycle make your eyes shake on the Lime-S.
These small wheels are a big issue for this scooter, small obstacles like potholes, manhole covers, speed humps or raised curbs upset the balance easily and make for a very unstable vehicles. The steering is very quick and precise, but coupled with the shitty brakes, it’s almost like an accident waiting to happen. So you need to carry it across most obstacles, making it significantly slower.
But not all is bad. The Lime-S is very fast. I know that 30km/h sounds underwhelming but the average speed of a car in Mexico City at rush hour is a pathetic 12...twelve! The very heavy mobikes and eco-bicis won’t break 20km/h;even the sacred BRT can only travel at 40km/h on average. This means that the Lime-S is the fastest way to move around in many of the areas it has coverage on.
The Lime-S does suffer a strategic issue, particularly in Mexico City: Cost. You could half expect this to happen. The GDP of San Francisco, the city where Lime is based, is 86,000 dollars a year, whereas Mexico City’s is... ahem...26,000. The scooters are best for short distance, fast mobility despite their 10MXN unlocking fee. This is the cost curve:
Charging by minute rather than distance seems like an abusive policy considering it encourages people to ride faster, and it’s not correlated strongly to battery consumption... at least not as much as distance is.
Riding for 3.5km cost me 42MXN. While it is cheaper than many cars on the same route considering parking and gas, it’s magnitudes more expensive than the 50MXN/month mobikes or the 430mxn/year ecobicis. However, it’s worth noting that the Lime-S is twice as fast as a car during the rush hour... and still somewhat faster than the Mobike. But also much more uncomfortable.
In conclusion, the Lime-S is an
expensive, unsafe, fast method of transportation toy for the few adults who could pay the exhorbitant cost. The high costs and limited mobility of Lime makes it an unlikely, facetious competitor in the growing, and highly competitive last-mile-transport sector of Mexico City.