Ford is joining the booming scooter rentals market

Ford, the company that pioneered the motor car and announced earlier this year that it would focus its US business on trucks and sports utility vehicles, has decided to embrace a far smaller mode of transport. The carmaker said yesterday that it was joining the race with Bird and Lime in the booming scooter rentals market, with a plan to deploy fleets of electric two wheelers in more than 100 cities by 2020. To accelerate its ambitions, Ford is buying Spin, one of several scooter rental start-ups to emerge in California over the past year. The deal makes Ford the first carmaker to enter the so-called “micro-mobility” market. The 115-year-old company has a lot of ground to make up if it wishes to catch up with Bird and Lime, each of which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and expanded to more than 100 cities worldwide… Keeping up with Bird and Lime could mean spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to buy, maintain and charge hundreds of scooters in each area. A raft of start-ups is also raising tens of millions of dollars in the hopes of challenging the early leaders… Spin, which rented out “dockless” bicycles before pivoting to scooters earlier this year, has dozens of bike-hire permits that… could be used for scooters.

Tim Bradshaw