Ford Motor Co. expands its rollout of "smart mobility" alternatives to driving.
The company acquires Spin, a San Francisco-based electric scooter-sharing company that "provides customers an alternative for first- and last-mile transportation," Ford says in a release Thursday.
It's putting 300 scooters in downtown and Midtown Detroit and 100 in neighborhoods, according to Crain's Detroit Business, which adds:
Ford plans to roll out scooters in 100 cities over the next 18 months. . . .
Spin will not move to Ford's new mobility-centric operations in Detroit's Corktown, maintaining its San Francisco headquarters, [chief business officer] Ben Bear said.
A phone app lets Spin customers unlock the e-scooters for $1, plus 15 cents per minute of use.
"The acquisition of Spin is the latest strategic move by Ford in the mobility space, as the company builds a mobility portfolio to help customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensively," the company statement says. "Scooters allow cities to offer an equitable last mile solution to their residents thanks to the relative affordability. Combined with ease of use and electrified power, scooters can also help reduce urban traffic congestion, parking limitations and pollution."
Spin operates in 13 U.S. cities and campuses.
Other recent moves by Ford Smart Mobility, a 2016 spinoff from Ford Motor Co., include the creation of an electric scooter company named Jelly at Purdue University in Indiana.
A university announcement last month describes it as “a campus-wide research project on best practices for using e-scooters,” according to The Verge. "We look forward to learning more about scooters as a mobility solution," a Ford representative tells Andrew J. Hawkins of the news site, part of Vox Media. His article adds:
A team led by Darcy Bullock, a civil engineering professor and director of the university’s Joint Transportation Research Program, will study how “the oft-maligned e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment.”
All of this leads Jerry Paffendorf, co-founder and CEO of Loveland Technpologies in Detroit, to tweet: "Soon all the car companies may be racing to make the best yo-yo."