Ford jumps into scooter-sharing with Spin acquisition | Leadership

Ford Just Bought One Of Those Electric Scooter Companies

Though Ford might be the newest entrant into the e-bike segment, it has hit the ground running, as it recently announced its Jelly e-scooter service across the Purdue University campus.

Ford has recently acquired a San Francisco based electric scooter sharing company- Spin for $40 million.

In an interview with Automotive News Sunny Madra, head of Ford X, the company's mobility incubation arm, stated Spin, under Ford's wing, will launch in around 100 cities over the next 18 months.

In a blog post on Medium, Sunny Madra, vice president of ideas incubator Ford X, said the purchase comes at a time of increased mobility choice around the United States that has inspired Ford to create a diverse micro-mobility portfolio. "This is our play in addressing the micro mobility business". At Ford, the products and services we offer need to reflect these changes.

Ford's purchase comes after the founding of the "Ford X" division.

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The US automaker will invest about $200 million in Spin, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous source. "Scooters allow cities to offer an equitable last mile solution to their residents thanks to the relative affordability". Customers can download an app, locate a scooter, scan a code and ride. Thanks to Spin and rivals like Bird and Lime, people are increasingly considering scooters for those trips.

"That showed us there was a significant market", said Madra, who came to the company from Autonomic, a startup that Ford Smart Mobility bought in January.

Many complaints and abandoned scooters later, the city banned all scooter sharing outfits before finally granting permits to two companies in August 2018.

Unlike many other scooter operators like Lime or Jump that have garnered a less-than-stellar reputation for their rogue operations, Spin prides itself on working with municipalities to establish policies before it launches.

"They do not launch without permission; they share usage data with cities; and they work with local officials and university campuses to design educational tools around parking and riding rules", Madra said in a blog post expected to go up Thursday.


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