SAN FRANCISCO — Ford Motor Co. is leaping far beyond offering conventional vehicles such as the Ford Mustang and F-150, announcing on Tuesday that its Smart Mobility transportation program will include car-sharing and a new electric bike.
"Ford Smart Mobility is the company's plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data," said Ford in a statement at its technology conference here.
The Dearborn automaker said it is focusing on two strategic areas — flexible use and ownership of vehicles and multimodal urban travel solutions.
Ford Motor Credit Company is launching a pilot program that will let a select group of car owners rent their vehicle to a pre-screened group of drivers.
The program's intent is to help car owners offset monthly ownership costs.
"What we are doing is providing our customers the opportunity to rent their vehicles to others for short-term use," Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, told reporters. "That way they can save and they can earn some money."
The pilot program, called Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing, will operate in six U.S. cities and London. Ford has contacted approximately 14,000 U.S. car owners and 12,000 in London. All financed their vehicles through Ford Credit.
U.S. owners have until July 31 to decide whether they will participate in the program. The deadline is August 1 for car owners in London.
The U.S. pilot program will be offered in Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon and Oakland and Berkeley, California. The pilot program ends in November.
Fields said the automaker studied Gen Y and Gen Z car owners.
"They see the sharing economy as an opportunity to save money," he said. "They are really practical. More than half say saving money is the best advantage to sharing goods and services.
"Forty percent of them say it is an opportunity to try new products and a third say having access to more options is a good thing because they want variety in life."
The U.S. program will be operated by Getaround Inc., a ride-share company. Car insurance during rental periods will be provided by the ride-share company. Prices start from $5 an hour, according to the company's Web site.
Meg Murray, head of community for Getaround, told Edmunds each car owner will decide how many days per month their car will be available as a rental. Each car on average is expected to be rented two or three days a week.
Murray said the car owner will earn 60 percent of the rental fee. Getaround will receive the remaining portion, which is used for insurance, roadside assistance, pre-screening drivers and customer support. Ford Credit does not receive any money.
The car owner determines how many miles the renter can put on the vehicle per day. If the renter exceeds the daily limit, there is a per-mile penalty.
As part of the new transportation push, Ford also rolled out a new electric bike and a prototype smartphone app that makes using the eBike easier for urban commutes.
MoDe:Flex is Ford's third eBike. The bike folds and stores inside any Ford vehicle, where it can be charged while stowed.
"My great-grandfather helped put the world on wheels so everyone could enjoy the benefits of mobility," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. "Our vision today is to expand that same thinking using advanced technology and new business models, and addressing the mobility challenges people face around the world."
Edmunds says: Ford is envisioning a wide range of transportation options for consumers.