21st July 2020
Powering Lime UK with 100% green energy
Eloise Moench, Octopus Energy for Business
Lime UK is propelling a new vision for sustainable cities. We keep their mission fully charged, supplying Lime’s e-bikes with 100% clean, green energy.
Lime UK provides easy, green, electrified transport for tomorrow's cities, helping us to move away from cars by offering another green, socially distant alternative to standard public transport. Lime currently provides e-bikes throughout London and Milton Keynes, with the goal of expanding into more UK cities. In fact, it was recently announced that further e-scooter trials were fast tracked to June 2020, with Lime poised to be a big player in that space too.
We've been supplying Lime with 100% renewable power since April 2019.
Riders have cycled over 1.3 million miles on Lime’s statement green e-bikes since we began powering them with renewable energy. That means Lime has saved nearly 282 tonnes of carbon since then – which is the equivalent of planting 140,000 trees!
I'm Eloise, part of the dynamic Octo-team who look after the UK businesses we power. I recently caught up with Florence Milner, General Manager for Lime UK, to discuss all things Octopus and Lime, and how we can help get people back to business in safe and sustainable ways post-lockdown.
Wondering what a Lime e-Bike looks like? Here's General Manager Florence Milner taking one for a spin!
Eloise: Can you tell me a little about Lime’s founding vision?
Florence: Lime aims to reimagine urban life through the wonder of mobility, helping to create people-first cities. Lime e-bikes and e-scooters can transform city life, making way for a cleaner, healthier planet by revolutionizing urban transport.
Our founders, Brad Bao and Toby Sun, initially focused on getting e-bikes on the streets and ready to ride, yet e-scooter technology was also rapidly evolving. Lime now has scooter and bike sharing fleets serving over 120 cities globally in 30 countries across 5 continents.
We are driven by the simple belief that city life is a beautiful life. We believe we can positively impact cities by connecting people and communities around the world.
Eloise: How has Lime UK grown so far, and what are your future plans?
Florence: Lime UK launched in Milton Keynes in November 2018, quickly followed by a London launch in December 2018. Our e-bikes are now available in 4 London boroughs: Camden, Islington, Brent and Ealing.
We position ourselves as ‘Dockless 2.0’. So far, we have proven that we can make e-bikes work in the cities and are now very excited to launch e-scooters as part of Government trials starting as early as July 2020. We will confirm locations for e-scooter trials over the coming weeks, ready to accelerate into 2021 with a new vision of UK urban mobility!
The prospect of e-scooters is very exciting for Lime UK. Some people fundamentally don’t think of themselves as cyclists, so e-scooters have the potential to open up a whole new customer base.
Eloise: What about Lime UK’s commitment to sustainability?
Florence: Sustainability is at the heart of what we do and we are dedicated to providing transport opportunities for all without impacting our environment.
Lime has signed an agreement with 75 other international companies, pledging to have a 100% electric fleet running all our operations by 2030 - but we aim to do so well in advance. We are also achieving sustainability by streamlining our charging operations and establishing a robust repair and reuse program to extend the life cycle of products.
At least 97% of our old bikes and scooters are recycled. In the UK we are currently achieving around 99%, reusing as many previous bike parts as possible.
And, of course, all of our UK e-bikes are supplied with 100% renewable energy from Octopus Energy. By being on a green supply we can ensure every part of a Lime ride is beneficial for both the rider and the environment.
Eloise: Why did you choose Octopus Energy as your supplier?
Florence: We chose Octopus Energy because it has the flexibility and the mindset to fully support our growth.
A supplier that understands we don’t have all the answers to begin with is critical for Lime’s success. Lime is continually evolving: our operations now look completely different to where they were six months ago. When we have e-scooters on the streets, it's going to be a completely different story once again.
We couldn't be with a provider that stuck us on the same tariff for a year, this is not where we are in terms of learning and evolution. Octopus has grown alongside us, continuing to support us as we’ve scaled up. We have really gotten to know the team, they check in every few months to analyse our usage data and offer us the tariffs that will truly work alongside our evolving business needs.
A large proportion of our customers choose Lime because they want a carbon neutral journey, using e-bikes to get to work rather than car or public transport. This is something we really prioritised and so being on a green supplier like Octopus is key.
Eloise: Could you tell me a little bit about why it’s so important to power electric transport with renewable energy?
Florence: Using electric transport is obviously great, but this is also only one part of the whole supply chain. It is all well and good riding an e-scooter or driving an electric car, but if you are supplying it with brown energy, then the overall impact needs to be considered. Yes, you are improving immediate air quality by mitigating exhaust fumes, but you are having a negative impact by charging with dirty energy.
We need to consider the whole lifecycle of our transport, and the power that we use to charge has a big part to play.
We’re happy to say that Lime’s global fleet is backed by 100% renewable energy and that Octopus Energy helps play an important role in that effort.
Eloise: Is there anything you’ve learnt from the impact of lockdown on your operations over the last few months?
Florence: Even though lockdown happened for obviously awful reasons, it has given people the chance to see a different vision of cities, and rethink their ride as they adapt to the ‘new normal.’
People have been walking and biking so much more. I have seen parents cycling through central London with their children, which would never have happened pre-lockdown because of the amount of cars on the street.
This has been a suspended moment in time, and it’s critical going forward that we take some positives out of all the negatives coronavirus has brought.
Electric bikes and scooters can be a great way to sustain change; they open the world up outside of a car. People become a lot more connected to their cities when they are cycling through them in the open air.
In terms of the economic recovery, having friendly city landscapes populated with bikes and scooters can really draw people back to high streets, bars and cafes. A recent study by TFL showed that pedestrians, cyclists and those using public transport spend 40% more in local shops than motorists.
If we are genuinely going to ignite a green recovery and rebuild our economy and society after this incredibly difficult time, then changing the way we interact with our surroundings is essential. Allowing people to travel through cities in a way that has minimal impact on the environment can only be a positive.
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