Phoebe Wall Howard
Detroit Free Press
Published 1:59 PM EST Nov 8, 2018
Ford Motor is acquiring electric-scooter startup Spin for more than $40 million as traditional automakers continue investing in alternative modes of transportation.
This is all about Ford’s comprehensive strategy to provide options for customers to buy, lease, taxi and — now — scooter a final mile or two to a destination.
Other automakers have made similar investments recently, such as General Motors’ announcement last week that it would begin selling two electric bicycles next year.
Ford, which refers to the Spin scooters as “micro-mobility” because they provide travel for an average distance of less than 3 miles, is targeting college campuses and urban areas.
In cities including New York and San Francisco, a person can sit in a car for an hour to travel just a few blocks. This is meant to be an antidote to that situation.
The San Francisco-based Spin is currently permitted in 13 U.S. cities and campuses, including Detroit, Denver, Long Beach and Coral Gables, Ford said.
A Spin scooter costs $1 to rent and 15 cents per minute, as is the case with competitors Bird and Lime. The scooters are left in public locations, also like Bird and Lime.
Ford says Spin does not launch without local permission, and the company shares use data with cities.
More: In the Scooter Wars of 2018, it’s not really about the scooters
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“Living in California, I’ve seen firsthand the electric scooter trend unfold and when I finally took a spin to try them out, I understood why they’re so popular,” said Sunny Madra, vice president, Ford X. “We are excited to work with the Spin team. The fast-paced, often experimental mobility sector requires businesses to keep up with agile and adaptable customers — and that’s what we intend to do.”
Spin aims to be in 100 markets over the next 18 months.
Follow Detroit Free Press reporter Phoebe Wall Howard on Twitter @phoebesaid.