General Motors largely exited the European new-car market in 2017, but it's now introduced a new brand that has nothing to do with traditional automobiles: ARIV.
The automaker's (or should we say bikemaker's) e-bike brand was unveiled last week and will be available in Meld and Merge models soon in Europe. Ironically, many global automakers—including GM's former European subsidiary Opel—got their start in the 19th century building bicycles before abandoning them in favor of cars.
Both e-bikes are compact for easy transportation, but the Merge is collapsible, which allows riders to fold the bicycle and walk it on two wheels even easier. No matter which model, the e-bikes feature a newly developed electric motor. GM said it tapped into its long engineering history with electric cars and plug-in hybrids to engineer the electric motor, which allows riders to ride at speeds up to 15 mph. The battery also underwent similar rigorous testing to GM's automotive sector and will provide power for up to 3.5 hours. Range is rated at about 40 miles per charge.
ARĪV eBike from General Motors
Other equipment includes front and rear LED safety lights and large brake rotors for better stopping power.
GM also touted the e-bikes' smart capabilities in the announcement. Both models feature an e-bike app that a rider's phone connects to via Bluetooth. From the app, riders can see their speed, distance, remaining range, motor assist level, and more. GM added it will soon add a new function that will calculate a route for riders to arrive at their destination without breaking a sweat. When riders encounter steep terrain, he or she can also engage a "Walk" mode that powers up the electric motor to assist to walking the eBike up a steep hill or other terrains.
Riders will also find a mount for his or her smartphone and a USB port to charge a phone while riding.
The e-bikes go on sale first in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands by the end of the second quarter this year. Prices start at $3,100 for the Meld and $3,800 for the Merge in Belgium and the Netherlands; the bikes will cost slightly less in Germany.