"Within the next year and a half, Ford said, it aims to expand the scooter operator to more than 100 USA cities, as part of a broader push by the Dearborn, Mich. -based auto maker to expand its urban transportation services", Mike Colias and Eliot Brown report for the Wall Street Journal.
Ford did not reveal the purchase price for Spin.
The idea is that in urban cities like NY and Chicago, where steep traffic can cause short-length trips to be time consuming, the scooters would help alleviate the travel time.
"Spin adds an exciting new offering to Ford's mobility portfolio as we try to help our customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensively", writes Madra. Customers can download an app, locate a scooter, scan a code and ride.
The scooter startup secured $8 million in funding last year, and it was one of the first scooter companies to bring the electric vehicles to San Francisco this year along with Bird and Lime. The scooters cost $1 to rent and an additional 15 cents per minute. By comparison, Madra said it took Uber three years to reach 3 million rides. "It became obvious to us we wanted to accelerate in this space".
Since its failure in its home city, the company has promised to work with local governments and university boards, including gaining their full permission before commencing operations, and sharing all collected usage data.
Many complaints and abandoned scooters later, the city banned all scooter sharing outfits before finally granting permits to two companies in August 2018.
On Thursday, the automaker announced it has acquired electric scooter startup Spin. "This approach aligns well with our values at Ford and with our ambition to be the world's most trusted company". Ford X has also partnered with Purdue University to launch its Jelly scooters in trial periods.
Ford sees the agreements Spin makes with cities as a possible precursor to rolling out self-driving vehicles. He declined to say whether Ford expects the business to be profitable, saying only that the company thinks "it represents a healthy business for us".