The heat is on in an apparent fight between two e-scooter companies after Lime said earlier this week that some of the batteries made by one of its manufacturers, Segway Ninebot, could catch fire. Now, Segway is squaring up against the allegation, suggesting instead that Lime doesn’t understand how batteries work.
Lime addressed the apparent issue in a statement on its website earlier this week, writing that it learned that there was a problem with some of the Ninebot scooter batteries used in its own e-scooters that could “result in the battery smouldering or, in some cases, catching fire.” Lime said that it worked with Segway to remove the issue by creating software programs to diagnosis potentially affected batteries and scooters and pull them from the streets of US cities Los Angeles, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe.
“At no time were riders or members of the public put at risk,” the company said. “Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we’ve recently received an unconfirmed report that another Segway Ninebot scooter model may also be vulnerable to battery failure, which we are currently investigating.”
In a statement to the Washington Post on Thursday, Segway hit back at the claims. The company claimed it’s sold “multiple millions” of products that used the same battery technology without any problems, adding: “We think the statement was not based on a good understanding of battery technology.”
Segway also released an additional statement Friday in which it doubled down on the defence of its products. While it did not mention Lime by name, Segway insinuated that it was perhaps the maintenance of the scooters that was to blame for any “operational hazards.”
[W]e have observed that operational hazards do rise from extreme abuse and vandalism of the vehicles in the scooter-sharing market. Considering the fact that the management and maintenance of shared scooters and the identification of damaged vehicles highly rely on the operators, we strongly recommend that operators strengthen their capability of fleet operation and maintenance to avoid potential safety problems caused by the improper use of damaged vehicles.
In a response to that statement, a Lime spokesman told the Post that the company “stand[s] by our decision and rationale” and that it looks “forward to working with Segway to rule out any safety issues and restore our confidence in their product.”