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Photo: Ford

America's two largest automakers are branching out beyond their traditional businesses: GM plans to launch a lineup of electrified bicycles and Ford just bought an electric scooter company.

Why it matters: By 2030, 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas, per the UN's World's Cities in 2016 report. As cities get more crowded, commuters are looking for alternative ways to complete their journeys, from ride-hailing to e-bikes to scooter-sharing — sometimes combining all three in a single trip.

What's new: Ford just paid close to $100 million to acquire Spin, an electric scooter-sharing company based in San Francisco with operations in 13 cities and campuses across the U.S.

  • Ford had already dipped its toes into scooters with the recent rollout of its Jelly service on the campus of Purdue University, which also happens to be Spin CEO Derrick Ko's alma mater.

What's next: GM will launch the e-bikes in 2019 under a new, as yet unnamed brand.

  • The first 2 products have been designed: one foldable, the other compact, both using a proprietary propulsion system developed by GM.
  • They'll be equipped with integrated safety features, including rechargeable front and rear LED lights.
  • The bikes will be "smart" and "connected," using telemetry inspired by GM's OnStar service
  • GM has launched a contest to name the new e-bike brand. The winner, to be announced in early 2019, gets $10,000.

What to watch: Amid a massive shift in transportation, automakers like GM and Ford will likely introduce more of these micro-mobility services as a way to hang on to customers who no longer feel the need to own a personal automobile.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."