The Ford-owned scooter company Spin has revealed it is expanding to Europe, with plans to launch in Germany and other European cities before the end of the year.
The car manufacturer acquired the San Francisco-based start-up back in November 2018 for an expected $100 million (£77 million) – though Spin won’t confirm the figure – as part of a push into mobility services, including another San Francisco-based company named Chariot, which operates a shuttle service in the city.
Now Ford is ready to take Spin global, and will be launching its first international fleet of scooters in Cologne in spring, with other German cities set to follow. The company will join the likes of Lime, Tier, Voi and Circ which all offer scooter-sharing services across the country.
In addition, Spin says it will be applying for a Paris e-scooter permit in March and hopes to get a slice of the UK’s pending e-scooter share trials, following a government consolation, which is expected next month. (At the moment, it's illegal to ride electric scooters on the road, cycle lanes or pavement in the UK.)
Speaking about the expansion plans, Spin’s co-founder and president Euwyn Pool said: “Last year we increased the number of US cities in which we operate by 600 per cent. We look forward to working collaboratively with cities and universities throughout Europe to bring the joyful, safe and seamless Spin experience to the international community.”
Since Ford acquired the company, Spin says it has been invited in product and infrastructure projects to make scooter sharing more sustainable. This includes installing charging hubs, which encourage people to park their scooters in a specific zone, a bit like London’s Boris bikes docking stations, thus reducing scooter clutter and improving the accessibility of the vehicles. It’s also been able to grow the team from 24 employees to over 600. This figure will increase as the company moves into Europe.
The electric scooter market is heating up across the world. According to PitchBook, investors put more than $25 billion (£19 million) into mobility start-ups in the first nine months of 2019. As the UK government gets closer to launching a consultation on the vehicles’ usage on UK roads, the start-ups are preparing their expansion plans. Swedish-based Voi has called for regulation on scooters and has pledged to work with the government in the eventuality of a review.
London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita is a fan of the vehicles and says they should be legalised in order to cut car use in the city.
It looks the battle for scooter supremacy in the UK is only getting started.