Mobility

Ford subsidiary Spin bringing e-scooters that can park themselves out of the way to U.S.

Spin is a mobility-focused subsidiary of Ford.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Spin, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, has announced that it will bring remotely-operated e-scooters to cities in North American and Europe in 2021. These new e-scooters have one major benefit over the older variety: they can re-park themselves out of the pathway of pedestrians.

The new Spin S-200 that will be deployed is made possible because of a partnership with software company Tortoise. The new Tortoise Spin Valet platform make sit possible to remotely operate the e-scooters by combining front and rear-facing built-in cameras. According to a release, this technology will eventually make it possible for a rider to "hail" an e-scooter several blocks to a desired pick up location rather than going to find one.

Spin e-scooters will be deployed in Boise, Idaho this spring.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The first S-200 will deploy in Boise, Idaho this spring. The city will receive 300 of the models, which were co-developed with Segway-Ninebot and feature a three-wheeled setup. Spin says that the three-wheel setup can better withstand different road conditions due to its enhanced suspension. There are three independent braking systems on the e-scooter (regenerative rear brake, front and rear drum brakes) and turn signals (on handlebars and near the rear wheel).

"There has been a lot of fanfare around the potential of remote-controlled e-scooters, but this partnership marks a turning point in tangible operational plans to bring them to city streets," said Ben Bear, Chief Business Officer at Spin. "In addition to providing reliability to consumers and more order to city streets, this could significantly improve unit economics, help reduce carbon emissions and the operational work required to maintain and reposition fleets."

Back to that repositioning tech. Spin describes the process in which the maneuver occurs:

"After a ride is terminated by the individual riding the e-scooter, the remote operations team may reposition the scooter (at a low-speed - max 3 mph) if the vehicle is blocking the sidewalk, crosswalk, or a handicapped space. The same repositioning can take place if the vehicle is parked at a destination where it's unlikely to get another trip. Later this year, Spin will offer in-app "scooter hailing" that allows customers to request an e-scooter in advance or in real-time. Operations staff will remotely direct any S-200 to the desired location. Eventually, battery depleted scooters will also automatically go to the nearest Spin Hub for charging."

Over the next year, Spin will explore opportunities to bring S-200 to North American and European cities that are interested in remote-controlled operations and a more robust e-scooter model.

"We are thrilled to see our software come to life with Spin," said Dmitry Shevelenko, Co-Founder and President at Tortoise. "Spin has worked tirelessly to build trust with cities around the world, and our hope is that this technology only further improves and optimizes the way cities and operators can provide transportation together."

Co-developed by Spin and Segway-Ninebot, the S-200 is equipped with the latest computer vision, machine learning, and robotics technologies, featuring an advanced visual navigation system.

"Although this is a small step for Segway's robotic technology to power Spin's new generation of shared scooters, the S-200 for the first time," said Tony Ho, Segway's Vice President of Global Business Development, "we believe this is a significant development that marks the beginning of robotic technology that may unlock the full potential of micromobility, in practical and operational use. We look forward to seeing the real impact of the technology that this pilot program will bring."

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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