LimePod: New Car Share Option
UPDATE: It looks like LimePod is shutting down operations at the end of 2019.
Lime, the company behind the divisive scooters and bikes, has introduced a new product: LimePod. LimePod is a new free floating car sharing option; a direct competitor to newly partnered Car2Go and ReachNow. As of March, 2019, LimePod car share is available only in Seattle.
The new service is very similar to Car2Go and ReachNow. The cars are free floating, meaning you can start and end the rental in any legal on-street parking spot within the service area. Parking is free. Insurance and gas are included. You can read all about various car share options in this post.
However, there are some key differences between LimePod and the competition:
Cars: Car2Go is owned by Daimler AG and offers various Mercedes made cars including the Mercedes-Benz GLA SUV and CLA sedan. ReachNow is owned by BMW and offers the BMW X1 SUV, 3 series sedan, i3 electric, and MINI Coopers. LimePod, on the other hand, is not owned by an auto manufacturer. Therefore, they have had to find a supplier for their vehicles. Currently, LimePod uses the small Fiat 500 painted in bright Lime branding.
No Reservations: Users are unable to reserve a LimePod vehicle. Car2Go and ReachNow allow users to reserve a vehicle through the app for up to 30 minutes. LimePod has a similar app but currently reservations are not accepted. You must walk to the vehicle (and hope no one snatched it up), scan the QR code on the car with your mobile phone app to unlock and start your rental.
Price: LimePods are cheaper. Users pay $1 to start the rental and $0.40 per minute. Car2Go and ReachNow have the same $1 start fee, but charge $0.45 per minute and a 20% tax. It doesn’t appear that LimePod is currently charging tax on rentals.
However, if you are going to use the car for a longer drive, Car2Go and ReachNow offer price caps. For example, with Car2Go you can rent a car for 30 minutes for $9 which brings the price down to $0.30 per minute.
Sign Up Fee: There is no membership or sign up fee to use LimePod. However, you are charged a $15 background check when signing up (and photographing your drivers license). That $15 is added as a credit to your account for future rentals. ReachNow currently has a similar sign up promotion (pay $15 and get $15 credit) while Car2Go currently charges just $5 to sign up and gives you a $10 driving credit.
I have taken a few rides in LimePod and so far I have been impressed. The cars are new and cleaned regularly. Starting a rental is quicker than the multiple step process of the competition. I do wish you could make reservations but I am guessing that may come in the future.
With the recent marriage of Car2Go and ReachNow, it is nice to see a new player that offers competition in the world of car sharing. I hope to see LimePod survive and expand to other cities.
Have you used LimePod? What did you think?