GM's New E-Bike Brand Will Be Called ARĪV, Launch in Europe First

General Motors claims the two bike models, Merge and Meld (huh?), will feature automotive-grade engineering.

General Motors

General Motors announced a new e-bike brand in November 2018, as well as a crowdsourcing campaign to name it. The name the crowd chose is ARĪV (as in "arrive"). The bikes will launch in Europe later this year, according to a GM press release.

GM will initially offer two models: Merge and Meld. As with other e-bikes, the rider pedals with assistance from an electric motor. Both bikes have a top speed of 25 kph (15.5 mph) with four levels of electric assist, according to GM. The onboard battery pack takes 3.5 hours to charge, and provides up to 64 km (39 miles) of range, the automaker said.

The bikes also include integrated, rechargeable front and rear LED safety lights, USB phone charger, and what GM calls "oversized" brake rotors. All cabling is routed through the frame to give the bikes a cleaner look. The bikes can be folded when not in use, and feature a "walk mode" that engages the electric motor when walking the bikes up hills. When riding, an algorithm adjusts the amount of motor assist for the easiest-possible ride, according to GM.

ARĪV bikes will launch first in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands, as these countries have the most robust demand for e-bikes, according to GM. Deliveries begin in the second quarter of 2019, but GM is taking preorders through BikeExchange.com. The automaker hasn't announced a timeline for a U.S. launch.

Why is one of the world's largest automakers building bicycles? GM claims it can leverage its automotive engineering experience to design better bikes. A bike brand is also another way for GM to diversify beyond selling cars, joining projects like the company's Maven car-sharing brand and Marketplace, which allows drivers to buy things through their dashboards. Efforts like these ostensibly represent the future of GM and other automakers, but in the short term, GM continues to make deep cuts to staff and its vehicle lineup.