Lime's new platform lets you rent other companies' e-scooters

Wheels is the first partner in Lime's grander plan.

Lime’s bid to become a one-stop shop for transportation now includes the option of renting vehicles from other companies. The company is launching a micromobility platform that promises more choices for rides, starting with Wheels. You can hire the new partner’s “unique” e-scooter (above) from inside the Lime app. Effectively, it’s a complement to Lime’s more conventional two-wheelers.

You can still use the Wheels app.

The platform will be ready this winter, when you’ll find Wheels rides initially available in Austin, Berlin, Miami and Seattle.

The move could help Lime corner short-range transportation by making it the go-to company for anyone who wants to offer bikes and scooters for rent. It’s not clear how that might help competition. A platform like this could give smaller outfits a chance to grow quickly, but might also reduce the diversity of apps and services.

It may be helpful for travellers, though. Those fewer apps could make it easier to find a ride, and you might have a better sense of your available choices in a given area. Of course, this also presumes rivals don’t follow suit — it may get confusing if you have to guess which app controls the scooter you want to use.