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Uber/Lyft

Lyft’s New E-Bikes Catch Fire, Pulled Off S.F. Streets

Lyft says it is halting its new electric bike rental service in the Bay Area after two bikes caught fire in the last few days.

It’s not a great look considering the ride-hailing firm recently won rights to deploy the e-bikes in the city, cutting into a business targeted by Uber-owned Jump bikes. Lyft told TechCrunch it is pulling the bikes off the roads “while we investigate and update our battery technology.”

This should sound another cautionary note in the micromobility trend. While e-bikes have become popular as a fast, sweat-free way to get around cities, the vehicles are powered by fragile batteries that can become unstable (and catch on fire) if they are dented, jostled or get wet.

Companies like Lyft (and the bike-share firm it bought, Motivate) are pretty new to running electric vehicle fleets.  There have been reports of scooter startups Lime and Skip catching on fire, too. There should be more scrutiny on the quality of battery manufacturers that these companies are selecting as well as the operations of these scooter and bike firms.

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