Ford Taking Electric Scooters for a Spin

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.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.