Spin plans rapid expansion as it becomes part of the Ford empire

Ford has acquired Spin, an dock-free electric scooter sharing service operating in 14 locations across the United States.

Neither company has commented on the cost of the purchase, but sources have told Axios it is around US$100 million ($141 million).

In an interview with Automotive News Sunny Madra, head of Ford X, the company's mobility incubation arm, stated Spin, under Ford's wing, will launch in around 100 cities over the next 18 months.

Spin will keep its name, and continue to operate primarily as an autonomous unit within the automaker.

Founded in 2016 in San Francisco, Spin was one of a few companies which began offering scooter services in the city before gaining full government permission.

Many complaints and abandoned scooters later, the city banned all scooter sharing outfits before finally granting permits to two companies in August 2018.

Since its failure in its home city, the company has promised to work with local governments and university boards, including gaining their full permission before commencing operations, and sharing all collected usage data.

Above: Spin's founders Euwyn Poon, Derrick Ko and Zaizhuang Cheng.

Spin currently operates in nine US cities: Long Beach, California; Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Jefferson City, Montana; Coral Gables, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; Washington, DC; and Detroit, Michigan.

It also is available in five university campuses: UC San Diego, California; Northern Arizona University; Troy University, Alabama; Duke University, North Carolina; and University of Kentucky.

Spin's electric scooters cost US$1 ($1.41) to unlock via a smartphone app, and are US$0.15 ($0.21) per minute to ride.

Ford's purchase of Spin is the latest in a series of moves by automakers as they seek to become "mobility companies". Recently GM announced it will launch two electric bikes in 2019, and Toyota confirmed it will begin a subscription service in Japan next year.