A Lyft is taking its pink electric bicycles off the streets of San Francisco, just two months after installing them, because some of them caught fire during use. The vehicles, officially labeled as Lyft bikes and accessible under the new Bay Wheels platform (formerly Ford GoBike), are one of the company's new mobility options, all operated by Motate, Lyft's bicycle rental company.
Lyft had already removed its electric bikes from the city streets in April, after a brake problem appeared. She then spent months working on redistributing the fleet to be able to support both attached, non-electric bicycles, and electric bicycles that can be parked anywhere within the coverage area or parked in public bike racks. The new bikes have also been operating in the city of San Jose since June and in Oakland since July 12, just before the San Francisco debut.
- Zach Rutta (@ zrutta44) July 27th, 2019
On July 27, a user named Zach Rutta posted a photo on Twitter of a carbonized Lyft bike and drew attention to the problem that was happening. It is unclear how many other reports of battery malfunctions or fires have occurred, but the San Francisco Examiner reports that a second case occurred this week, and that may have been the company's motivation to take immediate withdrawal action.
The company is removing bicycles to investigate the problem, and Lyft said it does not rule out possible acts of vandalism. "With great caution, we are temporarily making the e-bike fleet unavailable to users while we investigate and update our battery technology," said a spokesman. The bikes will also be removed from San Jose and Oakland.
Lyft is currently trying to argue that it has the exclusive right to deploy electric bicycles on the streets of San Francisco. The company sued the city in June to prevent San Francisco from seeking other third-party contracts. The city responded by saying that Lyft did not understand the terms of its contract with the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Street: The Verge