Last November, General Motors said it would start making electric bicycles, and it announced a crowdsourcing campaign to come up with a brand name. Today, the automaker released the winning name — Ariv, pronounced like “arrive” — and said it would start taking orders in select countries in Europe.
the Meld, a compact e-bike, and the Merge, a folding e-bike
GM says it will manufacture two models under the new Ariv brand name: the Meld, a compact e-bike, and the Merge, a folding e-bike. GM is still keeping most of the specs under wraps, but it did say the bikes’ motors will enable speeds up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) with four levels of pedal-assisted power. Riders can charge their e-bike’s battery in approximately 3.5 hours and receive up to 64 kilometers (40 miles) of ride time on a single charge.
GM is launching the bikes in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where lithium-ion battery-powered e-bikes are popular. In Belgium and the Netherlands, the Ariv Meld starts at under $3,200, and the Ariv Merge is around $3,800, sales tax and shipping included, but prices will be slightly lower in Germany. GM expects to begin shipping to customers in the second quarter of this year. Preorders are available starting today via www.BikeExchange.com.
Those prices are on par with other high-end e-bikes like VanMoof. There are some more affordable models on the market, but with the expensive add-ons like batteries, Bluetooth, and high-tech software, it can be hard to find an e-bike for less than $1,500.
Both bikes connect to an app that provides riding metrics such as speed, distance, remaining battery level, motor assist level, and distance traveled. GM says additional features are planned for the app, including a mode that will use a “proprietary algorithm to help riders arrive at their destination sweat-free.” Both Merge and Meld e-bikes come equipped with a Quad Lock mount to securely attach a smartphone to the handlebars.
The e-bike is seen as GM’s attempt to arm itself against an uncertain future for cars
As for the crowdsourcing campaign, GM won’t reveal the people or persons behind the winning name. The automaker had promised $10,000 for the winning name, and $1,000 for nine runners-up. “The winner and runner-ups have been notified,” a spokesperson said. “We are in process of getting payments out. Everything is taking place according to the contract agreement.”
The e-bike is seen as GM’s attempt to arm itself against an uncertain future for cars. With electric-powered bikes and scooters lining the streets of most major cities across the globe, automakers are scrambling to capture a piece of the fast-growing micromobility sector. And as vehicle sales continue to slide, they will need to find ways to appeal to a younger, more urban demographic with transportation needs that are much different from previous generations.
Automakers, in general, are trying to leverage their experience in manufacturing, batteries, and powertrains in pursuit of more electric-powered two-wheelers, like motorcycles, bikes, and scooters. BMW is making electric bikes and motorcycles. Audi manufactures electric mountain bikes. Ford recently acquired e-scooter startup Spin after helping launch an electric scooter-sharing project at Purdue University. Even Harley-Davidson has unveiled a lightweight electric two-wheeler concept amid a drop in sales.