Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) said that the future mobility subsidiary has purchased Spin, a San Francisco based scooter sharing company.
It's the latest in a number of moves that Ford has made to expand its presence in "mobility" offers that go far beyond the core business by selling cars and trucks. Ford Purchases Spin: About the Agreement
Ford said that Ford Smart Mobility, LLC, has purchased Spin, a two-year San Francisco launch that offers short-term rental of electric scooters via a smartphone app.
Spins scooters are "dockless" , which means they must not be returned to a particular location. The company has so far focused on offering its scooters in urban environments and colleges. It currently operates in nine US cities, including Washington, D.C., Denver and Detroit, and in five university areas.
Reuters reported that Ford will invest around $ 200 million in Spin.
Spin is a business?
Spin is one of several companies that have entered the moving micro mobility area, a sector that has only begun to be significant in recent months. In short, Spin offers short-term rental of "e-scooters" in urban areas. (What is an "e-scooter"? Imagine a child's Razor scooter with an electric motor, a battery and a wireless internet connection. It's an easy way to get around faster than walking.)
Some of Spin's rivals has already taken investments on high valuations. Lime was valued at over $ 4 billion in its last round, and its investors include rival giant Uber Technologies and Alphabet s Google Ventures. Bird, which has a strong presence in Los Angeles, was recently valued at $ 2 billion and expects venture capital heavyweights Greycroft Partners and Sequoia Capital among its investors.
Why the big interest? The possibility could be great: A recent report from Populus showed that almost half of all trips made in the US are three kilometers or less – a distance that can be operated by electric scooters in some situations.
Ford wants a scooter rental company?
Ford sees itself from a traditional car manufacturer to a "mobility provider" offering everything from short-term rental of bicycles (and now scooters), to buses that run on crowdsourced routes, to (eventually) a variety of ways to Use motor cars on, including via a subscription service called Canvas. Ford Smart Mobility is the subsidiary that Ford established in 2016 to own and operate these businesses.
Sunny Madra is a Ford Smart Mobility Vice President. In a medium post that announced the Spin acquisition, he said that Ford's plan is to offer a complete set of transport options that include – and goes beyond – Ford's traditional business.
Ford focuses on delivering good products and services across the mobility range, and seeks to increase the freedom of movement by building smart cars to a smart, connected world. This still means developing world-class cars, including more hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. It also involves the further development of self-propelled vehicles we plan to launch on a large scale by 2021. Another critical part of our mobility strategy is to develop a comprehensive set of software and services designed to better enable car connectivity and utilization, new mobility experiences and multimodal transport solutions.
By combining our automotive and automotive power with our commitment to connected and autonomous vehicles and our new software business, we expand our portfolio of scalable mobility solutions that will ensure a seamless transport experience for the modern consumer.
Expect more car manufacturers to jump into the micromobility pool
Ford is not the only car manufacturer to explore micro-mobility business. General Motors (NYSE: GM) said last week that it will launch a new line of electrified bicycles next year, although it is not clear whether GM plans to run a rental business or sell bicycles to others .
It is obvious to investors that there is a room to look at. Since the idea of micro mobility continues to gain traction, you expect more interest from automakers and traditional tech investors – and more offers like this.