Car companies rush to embrace scooters and bikes
Nov 08, 2018 MATT MCFARLAND
Car companies rush to embrace scooters and bikes
AFP/Getty Images via CNN
In this photo taken on June 21, 2018, a man rides an electric scooter on the
street of downtown Washington, D.C.
Ford buys scooter-sharing startup Spin
(CNN) - Car companies are betting on bikes and scooters to protect
themselves from disruption.
Ford announced Thursday it's acquiring the scooter-sharing startup Spin,
becoming the latest automaker to invest in electric scooters and bikes.
Ford plans an aggressive expansion into over 100 cities in the next 18
months, according to Sunny Madra, vice president of Ford X, its group that
develops new mobility services. Ford sees scooters as an affordable,
accessible way to move around cities without polluting, congesting traffic
or struggling to park.
"We're finding a really compelling need. The struggle is real as urban
populations grow," Marci Klevorn, president of mobility at Ford, told CNN
San Francisco-based Spin launched a dockless bikesharing service just over a
year ago, and pivoted to a scooter sharing business, which proved more
profitable. It now operates in 13 cities and college campuses, and launches
in Detroit Thursday. But it hasn't kept pace with rivals Bird and Lime,
which have rapidly expanded, raised hundreds of millions of dollars and
sometimes rankled cities with aggressive tactics.
Spin CEO Derrick Ko said joining Ford will allow it to play the long game,
rather than rushing to expand to secure another funding round.
For Ford, the acquisition may protect it from a wave of new mobility options
that threaten its core business of cars and trucks. It's not the only
automaker taking notice.
Earlier this week, GM said it will sell electric bikes next year. Daimler
will launch a scooter-sharing pilot in a Southern European city this year,
and expand into Germany next year, according to a spokesman. And last week
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his company might make an electric bike.
"Automakers are seeing that rideshare, bikeshare and scootershare is taking
the short trips, from zero to five miles," Horace Dediu, a tech analyst who
hosts a popular mobility conference, told CNN Business. "It's important for
them to get ahead of this game."
Bird and Lime have said they've completed 10 million rides each in the first
year of operation, growing far faster than Uber and Lyft did.
Now car companies, scooter startups and analysts are trying to figure out
how big the market is for micromobilty, a catch-all term for lightweight,
electric transportation options like bikes and scooters.
Nearly half of all vehicle trips in the United States are under three miles,
according to the US government's National Household Travel survey. Short
trips are ideal for micromobility, according to experts, whether it's an
electric bike, scooter, or a new option that hasn't arrived yet.
Ninebot, which supplies the scooters for Spin, Bird and Lime, plans to
unveil an electric moped and a tiny electric car next year, according to
Ninebot CEO Gao Lufeng.
"Consumers are demanding more personalized options," Lufeng said through an
interpreter. "There's a lot more room for imagination."
[© 2018 by CNN NewSource localnews8.com]
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(Juiced Marlboro-man sandwiched between City Hall l2 EVSE)
Marlboro juiced over electric car charging stations
The city was recently awarded a $6,219 grant through the Massachusetts
Electric Vehicle Incentive Program to help fund the purchase of two charging
stations to be installed in the municipal parking garage behind City Hall.
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