After battery fires, Lyft’s e-bikes are back in San Francisco

Just in time for Christmas, Lyft has brought back to San Francisco its pedal-assist e-bikes. The plan is to roll out hundreds of bikes each week until it hits 4,000 by the end of April 2020. This comes after Lyft had to pull its e-bikes in light of battery-related fires in July.

“After identifying the root cause of the battery issues, we made the decision to work with a different battery supplier,” Lyft wrote in a blog post last month. “We’re now receiving new batteries, testing them and reassembling ebikes.”

That announcement came along with Lyft reaching a four-year agreement with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to deploy 4,000 of its e-bikes. The resolution was the result of Lyft suing the city of San Francisco, which led to the court ordering Lyft and the SFMTA to negotiate under the “Right of First Offer” provision.

As part of the agreement, Lyft must provide reliable and redundant services, utilize modular design and pay $300,000 in fees to fund the installation of additional bike racks. If Lyft fails to do this, the SFMTA has the right to permit a second operator. For now, JUMP is still permitted to operate its 500 e-bikes, at least until March 1, 2020, as Lyft rolls out its full fleet.

Until March, Lyft will allow Bay Wheels members to access the e-bikes at no additional cost. Additional pricing will go into effect starting March 1, but Lyft says it’s “engaging our community partners and members to inform the best approach to pricing ebike rides so we can provide the best service possible, since ebikes have higher operational costs per ride than pedal bikes.”