Ford Taking Electric Scooters for a Spin

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford taking electric scooters for a spin

We were wrong. There will be a new Ford-offered vehicle slotted below the EcoSport for the low-income/urban greenie crowd. It’s not very aerodynamic or powerful, but that won’t matter, as you’ll never own it.

Yes, it’s a scooter. A Spin scooter, to be clear, and it’s poised to mingle with Birds and Limes on a congested roadway or sidewalk near you. Ford Motor Company has agreed to buy the San Francisco-based startup for a healthy sum, all part of its efforts to break into the “micromobility” arena. A massive roll-out starts today.

First reported by Axios, Ford will allegedly pay up to $100 million for Spin, sources claim, though the company hasn’t disclosed the actual purchase price. Like its competitors, Spin allows users to rent the contraption for short periods of time — sometimes very short periods — to help get around a city. Think of “subway station to restaurant,” that kind of thing.

Ford, which recently announced the discontinuation of its low-priced passenger car models, claims e-scooters is the place it needs to be.

“We understand mobility is not just vehicles at this point,” Sunny Madra, vice president of Ford X, the company’s mobility nerve center, told Automotive News. “This is our play in addressing the micromobility business.”

Looking at the explosive growth in ridership at Spin’s rivals was all the evidence the automaker needed. “It became obvious to us we wanted to accelerate in this space,” Madra said.

While this isn’t Ford’s first attempt to break into micromobility (the company bought Bay-area bike-share startup GoBike last year), it is the largest. One hundred cities can expect to see Spin service over the next 18 months, with Detroit getting its announcement today. Currently, Spin operates in nine cities and on five university campuses.

Ford’s North American product communications manager had a message from the Big Guy ahead of the scooter’s e-Motor City launch:

HF approves.

— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) November 8, 2018

Are e-scooters the next car, or just a faster horse? We’ll let history decide.

If it seems like Ford’s getting crunchier than an undergrad in Burlington, it’s not alone. Just last week, rival General Motors sought out the public’s help on naming suggestions for its new e-bike brand. There’ll be two types of GM bikes produced, one of them a folding unit.

Ford-owned scooters, GM-built bikes. Enjoy your car’s climate control while you can.

[Image: Spin]

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4 of 14 comments
  • Phxmotor Phxmotor on Nov 08, 2018

    GM... Ford... for their own good... night want to do a year or so of market testing in the real world... under shell companies working under other shell companies... to fully HIDE who is behind it. Lest... it all becomes another ... Segway... Which it will.

    • See 1 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Nov 08, 2018

      Agreed on the Segway analogy. I had a brief stint with a Segway supplier in 2003. They eventually closed because of the over-promised sales by Segway of their transporter - a fate which befell many Segway suppliers. Segway never became more than a novelty in part because cities didn't know how to classify the machine and its riders for safety and regulatory purposes, so they were/are often banned.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 08, 2018

    I guess Ford and GM rationalized this investment as being part of being in the transportation business. To me its more like these companies saw Ford and GM as a cash out--get out while the going is good and if Ford and GM are suckers enough to buy in then so much the better. These scooters will most likely be made in China as will GM's bikes. What about making a vehicle that the millenniums can afford? Maybe this is the future being able to only afford a 10k electric scooter and bike.

  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.
  • El scotto Tesla has one team making EV's because that is all Tesla does. Farley -rolls eyes- decided to split Ford into two huge warring factions: ICE vs EV. Hey Jimbo, it says "FORD" on the buildings.Lord only knows what GM did internally because it's GM. I'm betting it's like Ford pitting ICE vs EVs. With GM being GM every existing division will be divided.Stellantis will keep building Challengers and Rams. Someday they may figure out that Jeep is the fugu fish of the automotive sushi world and unload to some Chinese. EV's? no, not really.If this site was The Truth About HVAC (TTAH) some on here would tell us that central heating and air causes unknown illnesses, will be bad, and cause a degradation of our nation's moral fiber. By golly they shoveled coal and carry ash buckets and that shouldn't change.