STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Car companies rush to embrace scooters and bikes

Car companies are betting on bikes and scooters to protect themselves from disruption.Ford announced ...

Posted: Nov 8, 2018 10:38 AM
Updated: Nov 8, 2018 10:38 AM

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.

Automakers and manufacturing

Automotive industry

Bicycling

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Sports and recreation

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 Business.

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 are 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 81°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Oxford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
High pressure moves into our area and will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the next several days. This will mean drier weather in store for our area for several days. However, by this weekend, things could change as a tropical system threatens our area.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather