Ford Acquires Electric Scooter Start-Up

Ford has acquired a San Francisco electric scooter-sharing start-up.

Spin, the start-up in question, positions itself as a provider of ‘first-mile’ and ‘last-mile’ transportation services “in 13 cities and campuses across the US”, and Ford claims to be buying it as it realizes the market for such services is growing. It also purports to wish to develop “a mobility portfolio to help customers get places more easily, more quickly, and less expensively”.

Ford also claims Spin’s electric scooters can “help reduce urban traffic congestion … and pollution”. In a blog post announcing the move, Ford X vice-president Sunny Madra characterized the acquisition as a logical extension of his unit’s scooter joint venture with Purdue University, Jelly. He cited a Populus study that found nearly 50% of all trips made in the US were three miles or less as evidence for his claim that the vehicle-sharing sector of which Spin is part represents a substantial commercial “opportunity” for Ford.

Madra added that the acquisition coincided with Spin’s launch in Detroit and reaffirmed Ford’s commitment to launching autonomous vehicles by 2021 and developing connected vehicle software. The announcement came as Seat announced a pilot collaboration with Segway on scooter-sharing services in Spanish cities.


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