Lyft has been forced to remove its new electric bikes from the streets of San Francisco after a number of them caught fire.
This is the second failed attempt by the firm to roll out its line of 1,000 pink bikes, dubbed Bay Wheels, to complement their non-electric ones.
The first round in April was terminated after dozens of riders were injured by the bikes’ stronger-than-expected brakes.
Now, the latest fleet, deployed in June, appears to be plagued by exploding batteries, with at least two reports of incinerated bikes, forcing Lyft’s Bay Wheels to admit defeat once more.
The first known report of a burned bike came from a Twitter user, Zach Rutta, on July 27, who found the battery incinerated and exposed.
The next was on July 31, reported by San Francisco resident Joan House, who said she saw a bike burst into flames across the street from her house.
‘I saw a bunch of white smoke,’ House told ABC.
Lyft’s Bay Wheels, which was originally named Ford GoBikes, said it will not rule out the possibility that the incidents, reported by passers-by rather than riders, was caused by vandalism.
‘Because the safety of our riders is our number one concern, we are temporarily making the e-bike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology,’ Bay Wheels said in a tweet.
‘Thanks to our riders for their patience and we look forward to making e-bikes available again soon.’
The debacle comes amid a legal tussle between Lyft, San Francisco, and Uber, as Lyft tries to fight for exclusive rights to man the city’s streets with bikes.
The company claims it has a 10-year docking deal with San Francisco, that should prevent Uber’s Jump Bikes and other competitors from vying for road space.
This is just one strand of Lyft’s $250 million nationwide e-bike project.
The firm bought New York City-based bike operator Motivate last year, with plans to control the largest bike-share systems in North America, including: