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. pic.twitter.com/xDO8O4j6P2
— 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.
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.
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- 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.