You may see a new Lime product on the streets of Seattle this week as Lime prepares to launch another, more traditional vehicle share, and no, it’s not scooters. The newest offering actually goes in the other direction: Cars. Lime will test 50 cars starting this week. After the permit is approved, LimePods will be available to the public. The company plans to deploy 500 by the end of the year.
LimePods will be $1 to unlock and 40 cents a minute. Reachnow, Seattle’s other free-floating car share, costs 45 cents a minute.
Lime first announced the move to car-sharing at the JD Power Automotive Roundtable last month. In contrast to previous reporting that LimePods could be futuristic, low-speed, two-seat vehicles like the Renault Twinzy—almost like a hybrid of a golf cart and a car—the LimePods coming to Seattle are more traditional cars, albeit still ultra-compact.
All 500 cars listed on the permit are Fiat 500 Lounges, which, while not electric, are gas-efficient. While the cars have four seats, users hauling anything other than groceries may want to opt to fold the rear seats down. The cars are still at least somewhat pod-like in appearance, with at less than 140 inches long. (For comparison, a Prius is more than three feet longer—and a Mini Cooper is at least 150 inches long.) Those specs should make LimePods the smallest car-shares on the road, since Reachnow and Car2go joined forces and phased out Smartcars.
Lime has been operating a bike-share service in Seattle since Seattle first started a bike share pilot in July 2017—and, with other initial companies gone and long-term permits still pending, is the only bike-share company currently operating in Seattle. In February, Lime added electric bikes to its repertoire.
While Lime scooters have been taking over in other cities, Seattle has been cautious about allowing scooters in Seattle—and while Lime is ready to launch scooters whenever the city gives the green light, there are no immediate plans to allow them. Lime does, however, operate scooters in Tacoma.
A spokesperson for the Seattle Department of Transportation told Curbed Seattle that Lime’s car-share permit could be approved as soon as next week.
This article originally reported that Reachnow absorbed Car2go, when the two companies created a joint venture, and that it was related to the phasing out of Smartcars, which Car2go tells us is not the case. We regret the error.