Ford buying electric-scooter startup Spin

DETROIT: Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it will join the mushrooming micro-mobility movement with the acquisition of 2-year-old Spin, an electric scooter rental firm based in San Francisco.
The No. 2 US automaker, one of the first to enter the sector, will invest about $200 million in Spin, according to a source familiar with the acquisition.
The purchase price is dwarfed by investments in — and valuations awarded to — Lime and Bird, the US market leaders in a sector that only started to accelerate about eight months ago. In an interview, Marcy Klevorn, president of Ford’s mobility unit, said the acquisition of Spin “fills a gap in our mobility portfolio,” while providing “accessible and affordable transportation” in cities and on college campuses.
Spin and its rivals follow a simple business model. They buy e-scooters — think of a child’s kick-start scooter equipped with an electric motor and a wireless Internet connection — for $100-$300 each from manufacturers such as China’s Ninebot, then rent them for short distances and short periods of time via mobile phone apps, typically at a flat rate of $1 plus 15 cents a minute.
After launching in the Bay Area, e-scooters are beginning to roll out in many big cities across the United States.
— Reuters