The American transport company Lime, known for its free-floating e-scooters and bikes, has posted strong growth of 33% in 2022. The San Francisco-based company recorded a turnover of 466 million dollars (+33% year-on-year), with a gross operating surplus of 4 million dollars at the end, a first for the company.
“2022 was our best and most profitable year ever,” said CEO Wayne Ting. “We broke even in almost all our markets and expect to multiply rides in 2023.”
The company, which has postponed its initial public offerings of 2022, did not give further details of its financial results. Its free cash flow should become positive in 2023 or 2024, Ting said. Lime raised more than 500 million dollars in late 2021.
1,5 million new users
Lime, one of the leaders in micro-mobility with Bolt and TIER, rents out dockless e-scooters and bikes in 250 cities, including 4 500 vehicles in Brussels and Antwerp, and nearly 30 countries.
The company, with Uber as one of its investors, completed 120 million rides in 2022, bringing its total rides to 400 million. This included 1,5 million new users, with monthly active users exceeding the 4 million mark for the first time.
“One of the things that made the difference was our equipment, which we designed in-house and to be last,” says Wayne Ting. “We are increasing the usage rate of every e-scooter. Much of our growth in 2023 will come from cities where we already have a presence after years of expansion.”
Of course, the company, in 2021 listed by Time Magazine as one of the Time Most Influential Companies, also continues to target new cities or areas, such as neighborhoods in New York that are opening up to e-scooters, or in France in the Metropolis of Lille.
‘The electric car is a lie’
Wayne Ting will soon return to Paris to defend the place of e-scooters in the street, which are put to a referendum in April by the city. The city council criticizes them for littering the pavement and thus endangering pedestrians.
“People are still in the process of adopting micro-mobility, it takes time for them to change their minds,” he says. “Cities are asking us to do better, and we are investing a lot to do so.”
However, there needs to be “fair competition” between modes of transport. “Sometimes expectations are higher on micro-mobility, but I am proud of our efforts to replace car journeys around the world with more sustainable alternatives,” notes Wayne Ting.
In an interview with the newspaper La Libre Belgique, Ting elaborates on Lime’s growth opportunities and his view on the electric car, which he calls a lie. “With 466 million dollars, Lime represents only 0,1% of the mobility market.
“Are we capable of reaching 1%? Or 5%? My dream would be to generalize systems as you see in Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where the bicycle is the main mode of transport. I want to be part of this system that would allow more people to get away from their cars.”
“We know that transport is one of the main causes of global warming, particularly via individual cars. One of the big lies about this is that people think that switching from a combustion car to an electric one will solve the problem.”
“If cars consume so much, it’s because they are heavy and electric cars are even heavier. When you use a two-ton car to transport an 80 kg human, the energy is actually used to move the car. The only way to effectively reduce emissions, and we see this in Nordic cities, is to lighten vehicles and increase public transport.”
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