Scooter-Renting Service Lime Debuts Car Sharing

Neutron Holdings Inc., known for its Lime-branded fleets of urban bicycles and scooters, is launching a car-sharing service in Seattle this week.

Dubbed LimePod, the plan initially will deploy 50 Fiat 500 two-door minicars. The service expects to expand to 500 cars by the end of this year and to 1,500 vehicles next spring. The unit will be run by Peter Dempster, who joined Lime in July from BMW’s similar ReachNow car service.

Users will access cars using a smartphone app, paying $1 to unlock the vehicle and 40 cents per minute to use it. Insurance is included. Customers will be able to pick up and drop off a car at any legal parking spot in Seattle, thanks to Lime’s prepaid permits with the city.

The company told Bloomberg News in May that its ultimate goal is to use its own specially designed electric runabouts, which would resemble enclosed golf carts.

LimePod joins two other so-called free-floating car services already running in Seattle. Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s ReachNow have a combined fleet of 1,500 on-demand cars in operation there. The two carmakers confirmed in March that they will merge their operations, which operate some 20,000 cars in 31 cities worldwide.