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Lime will launch its LimePod car shares in Seattle this week. (Lime Photo)

Shared bikes and scooters from transportation company Lime are already rolling across cities all over the U.S. But soon, the company will offer a higher-octane option, starting in Seattle: LimePods, a car-sharing service that is set to hit the city streets this week, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Users can rent a LimePod in the company’s app, similar to renting a bike or scooter share. (Lime Photo)

The company will launch with just 50 cars in its initial fleet, but plans to grow that number to 500 by the end of the year. By 2019, the company plans to have 1,500 free-floating cars available for rent in Seattle, making it the largest fleet of its kind in any U.S. city.

The LimePod cars are colorfully branded Fiat 500s, a small, two-door model from the Italian car maker. Users can find and rent the cars in the Lime app, then drive them around the city, much like other free-floating car share services.

Users pay $1 to unlock the car and an additional 40 cents per minute they drive. Competitor ReachNow, the free-floating car service from BMW, costs 49 cents per minute that the car is being used and 10 cents per minute that it is parked.

The company said insurance is included in the rental but did not provide details on that element of the service.

The new LimePods will face competition from car sharing services including Zipcar, BMW’s ReachNow and Daimler’s Car2Go. Car2Go and ReachNow combined forces in March to create a joint venture, bringing them under the same umbrella.

Seattle has emerged as something of a testing ground for these new free-floating car share services. ReachNow also initially launched in Seattle before expanding to Portland and Brooklyn, New York. In March, Daimler said Seattle was Car2Go’s largest U.S. market, with 113,000 members.

Lime initially applied for a car sharing permit in October, signaling its interest in the area. Although Lime operates its bike-sharing service in Seattle, it has faced a tougher reception in the city when it comes to its e-scooter program.

Seattle has banned free-floating e-scooter shares like Lime and competitor Bird, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped the companies from testing the scooters on Seattle’s streets.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct its description of ReachNow and Car2Go’s relationship. The two brands are part of a joint venture owned equally by BMW and Daimler. 

 

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