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Ford buys e-scooter startup Spin, plans major service expansion

It's one of the first carmakers to invest in the scooter craze.

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Ford bought Spin, which uses the Xioami M365 for its fleet.

Sean Hollister/CNET

Ford is rolling into the electric scooter war by purchasing Spin, a 2-year-old San Francisco-based startup.

Spin operates in 13 US cities and campuses, but Ford plans to expand it to more than 100 over the next 18 months. The scooters cost $1 to rent and an additional 15 cents per minute.

"As more people consider scooters to be a viable mobility option, now is the right time for Ford to work closely with Spin's highly experienced and dedicated team to help expand their service to more cities," wrote Sundeep Madra, vice president of the Ford X startup incubator, in a blog post.

The US automaker will invest about $200 million in Spin, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous source.

Watch this: What people really think about those electric scooters

Madra announced that Spin is launching in Detroit Thursday.

The deal is worth around $100 million, according to Axios (which also cited nameless sources) and makes Ford one of the first carmakers to enter the "micro-mobility" market currently led by Lime and Bird.

Electric scooters have become wildly popular in recent months thanks in part to a big uptick in funding, and cities have been struggling with them since.