"At no time were riders or members of the public put at risk," Lime representatives wrote in a press release that attributed the fires to battery failure.
The models, which were removed from the streets of Los Angeles, San Diego and Lake Tahoe, California, were built by Chinese company Segway Ninebot, and until the battery issues have been resolved, Lime said it will only charge its e-scooters at Lime facilities, and not through so-called "Juicers"—independent contractors who charge the devices in their homes.
The problem may be more widespread, however, and according to Business Insider, Juicers in Washington, D.C.; Oxford, Ohio; and Raleigh, North Carolina, have reported that they are having difficulties finding available e-scooters to charge.
The story was originally reported by The Washington Post, which quoted Lime as saying that while the risk of smoking and smoldering e-scooters is real in a small fraction of its fleet, fire is an extremely rare occurrence. That may not be reassuring to people in Lake Tahoe, where firefighters were called to a Lime facility in August after a scooter burst into flames. There has been internal chatter at Lime for months about the safety of its products, according to The Post.
"I feel that these scoots, or the product as a whole, should be removed from the market until they are safe to handle and operate," said one Lime employee in an app chatroom. "I get that the scoots are expendable and replaceable, but are we now resigned to say the same for the safety of employees and customers?"