The Chinese company that manufactures some of electric scooter company Lime’s scooters is pushing back on claims that its model is behind the global recall of scooters that Lime announced this week.
News4 reported Monday that Lime would remove all scooters in its fleet made by Okai Vehicles because of reports that they could fall apart or break during use.
“We are actively looking into reports that scooters manufactured by Okai may break and are working cooperatively with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the relevant agencies internationally to get to the bottom of this,” Lime said in a statement.
But Okai is now lawyering up to challenge Lime’s claims.
“We consider these statements being arbitrary and groundless,” the company said in a statement to News4. “We do not believe our scooters can have cracks in the baseboard within days of being placed into use.”
Okai representatives said Lime never contacted Okai about issues with broken scooters or challenged its quality testing protocol.
According to Okai, the company supplied Lime with a total of 32,000 scooters in five orders, and conducted testing of more than 70 aspects of the scooters, in 15 categories, including a pressure test on the baseboard of scooters. Okai said it supplied the test results to Lime before delivering the scooters.
Okai claims the baseboards passed this static pressure test and passed the stress test on barriers like ladders and road curbs. That stress test included a simulation of rugged and uneven roads while carrying a 100 kilogram load at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.
“The testing reports were accepted by Lime representative, before Lime took delivery from Okai,” the company said.
Instead, the company says the broken scooters were produced by other manufacturers.
“Obviously, Lime has other suppliers, whose scooters broke,” Okai said. “We do not understand why Lime made statements on itself and to the media that the broken scooters were made by Okai, without even mentioning any other suppliers.”
In photographs provided to News4, the company highlighted design differences between the Lime scooter photographed in a Washington Post article and the scooters Okai photographed before sending to Lime.
The Post’s photo shows a scooter with two front-facing lights and three screws where the baseboard meets the vertical frame, while Okai’s photo shows a scooter with a single, large light bulb and two screws.
Still, the company acknowledged that the scooter is not meant to sustain “extreme abuse” and “vandalism.”
“It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure proper and prompt management and maintenance of the scooters it puts into the co-sharing market,” Okai said.