The move could counter GM and others expanding beyond cars. Ford might not sit idly by while other transportation companies expand beyond cars. Axios sources say the Blue Oval has agreed to buy e-scooter service Spin for roughly $40 million. It's not certain what Ford would do with the company or what would happen to its staff. We've asked Ford if it can comment on the report and will let you know if it has more to share. If accurate, it would be consistent with Ford's strategy. The company has spent years talking about moving beyond car ownership, and has even toyed with e-bikes of its own. This could be a logical extension that gives Ford a significant footing in car-free transportation, even if it's locked out of San Francisco for now. It's also a hedge against transportation rivals entering the space. In addition to GM's e-bikes, it has to worry about Uber and Lyft offering their own two-wheeled travel options. If Ford sits by the wayside, it risks ceding ground if bike and scooter continues to grow.
Ford is buying dockless electric scooter company Spin for $40 million, according to Axios. The acquisition cost roughly what Spin was valued at after its Series A funding last year. The deal isnt the first time Fords entered the e-scooter market; the company started conducting a test run of scooter rentals at Purdue University under the name Jelly last month. Ford has also been exploring new mobility solutions since it acquired San Francisco-based shuttle service Chariot in 2016, and its been running a docked bicycle-sharing program in the Bay Area called Ford GoBikes since 2013. Ironically, Motivate, the bike-sharing company Ford partnered with to launch GoBikes, has since been acquired by Lyft, which is also getting into the e-scooter game. Though Spin is an SF-based company, the city put a temporary hold on its scooters after a brief trial in March. Other electric scooter startups like Lime and Bird have paused operations in the city as well until permit applications can be processed. (Only competing startups Skip and Scoot are allowed in SF for the time being.) For now, Spin operates in nine cities, including Charlotte, Denver, Detroit, and Long Beach, as well as five college campuses. Todays acquisition by Ford will likely see the company bringing its scooters to more cities.