By on February 14, 2019

Last November, the world learned that both General Motors and Ford planned to enter the field of two-wheeled transportation as part of their new identity as “mobility” companies. Ford chose to purchase electric scooter startup Spin, whereas GM wanted to mass produce two e-bikes intended for direct sale. However, not much was known about the actual product, where they would be made available, or what the company intended to call them.

That changed Thursday, when GM announced its electric bicycles will carry the brand name “Ariv” (styled as ARĪV by the company) and commence sales within Europe in the second quarter of 2019. Customers have a choice between a compact e-bike and an even smaller, foldable one for a little more money.

Considering how much the authors on this website like to rag on rental scooters (which are an unholy menace), we’re glad to see General Motors take this route. Love or hate them, bicycles are better solutions for urban transport than standing scooters, and encouraging people to own them means fewer e-vehicles littering the sidewalk. 

(What’s in that couple’s ridiculous jar? – Ed.)

Designed and engineered at GM’s facilities in Michigan and Ontario, both bikes offer a claimed 64 kilometers (about 40 miles) of ride time on a single charge. However, the manufacturer didn’t make it clear how much pedal power that entails. Since these are e-bikes and not scooters, owners will have to be willing to exert themselves physically even before the battery is depleted.

That said, GM promises a 3.5-hour recharge time at a normal wall plug and an electric motor delivering “top-of-segment power and torque for its size.” Both bikes possess a top speed of 15 mph, which is roughly on par with your average Bird scooter.

Ariv models can also connect to a proprietary app using your Bluetooth, allowing your phone to display speed, distance, remaining battery level, motor assist level (which there are four), distance traveled, and more. GM says it intends to add features, including a mode that uses an algorithm to “help riders arrive at their destination sweat-free.” There’s a phone mount to make that easier and an integrated USB port to charge it.

If you’re into cycling, it actually sounds halfway decent. If you’re not, then you can brush this off as more mobility nonsense from an automaker that’s made pushing future tech its primary mission. But this isn’t nearly as ominous feeling as GM’s Marketplace or data sharing plans. Ariv is much more in line with GM’s roots of selling transportation directly to the people who need it.

Launching first in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands (due to the popularity of e-bikes in those areas), the compact Ariv Meld will cost 2,800 euros ($3,160) while the collapsable Merge will be 3,400 euros ($3,840). Pre-orders are already being accepted.

[Images: General Motors]

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47 Comments on “General Motors Starts Taking Orders for Electric Bicycles...”

  • avatar

    In the jar – “Scented and Apple Flavored K-Y Jelly”. A GM option for buyers of their products that eases the purchase and ownership experience.

  • avatar

    “Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands”

    Those places all have real winter. I could see these in Florida and California maybe….or Spain and the south of France.

    • 0 avatar

      Go to Amsterdam. See the bikes. See the people on the bikes.
      Winter or no winter bikes abound. A veritable ocean of bikes.
      But bikes should only be in year round warm climates. Yeah… …ok.

    • 0 avatar

      There was snow most part of the year in the town where I lived in Russia before moving to California and people rode bicycles all year round riding to work, shopping, picnic or just for fun. I did too. Did not see anything like that in sunny California.

  • avatar

    i guess Mary had to find new and more inventive ways to sink her ship.

  • avatar

    After D.I.C. sticker, destination and delivery it should go for $8,000.
    What be my note?

  • avatar

    Alfred Sloan, this is what it has come to. Its good you aren’t here to see it.

    • 0 avatar
      Menar Fromarz

      There are different versions and price points up the Sloan ladder, and a GMC version ARIV Denali that will make the ROI on this puppy eye watering for GM. Mind you the trim and switchgear will be the same as the low rent branding, but who notices such trifles. And with 84 month notes offered, with GM employee pricing, who can say no? Get me one and add the Tru-Coat!

      • 0 avatar

        “Say, ya want one in Burnt Umber?! You’re darn tootin’ I can getcha one!”

        There’s gotta be a small ensemble from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing “Nearer My God To Thee” in the RenCen lobby by now!

  • avatar

    As a long time cyclist, professional bicycle mechanic with close to 50 years experience, regular bicycle commuter, and someone who has a hobby/business restoring antique bicycles, these bikes look rather good. However, $31-3800.00? Normal price for a perfectly good e-bike found in your local bikes shops today usually range between $15-2500.00, with the vast majority selling for $2000.00 and under. And I’m going to be difficult to convince that GM makes a better bicycle than Raleigh or Trek.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. The foldable option is nice I guess but there are a lot better options with full size tires out there now. Like the supercommuter+ by trek with racks and a bosch motor.

      • 0 avatar

        Despite my using a 16″ wheel Dahon and an around the area shuttle on trips, and I’ve got a vintage Raleigh Twenty that I enjoy riding, I’m looking at a 26″ wheel converted mountain bike later this summer when I build my own electric bike. I figure that’s the best way to get up to speed on this new technology.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing all the money goes towards lithium batteries and range. I have a 36v 750w scooter I built for under $200 that’s good for about 5 miles (at 25mph), and that’s with about 15 lbs of sealed lead-acid batteries.

  • avatar

    Why not? Given the limited prospects of GM ever building a better Honda Civic, it might as well take a shot at reinventing itself in other transportation-related areas.

    When Bell Canada saw the writing on the wall for the landline phone industry, it made billions creating and spinning off a technology subsidiary before ultimately reinventing itself as an ISP, mobile service provider, satellite TV provider and mass media conglomerate. Today they have a lock on Canada’s fake news industry, and the shareholders couldn’t be happier.

  • avatar

    I had to look to see if April 1 came early. This is Segway deja vu, Dean Kaman’s “revolutionary idea that would reshape the urban environment” or some such blather. Sooo, how many Segways do the neighbors own? How many do you see on your morning commute? How many have you seen EVER? Electric bikes have been done already and they’re as popular as Segways.

    What GM needs to do is build better cars. Cars people want to buy. Pimping electric bikes isn’t the solution to their market erosion.

    • 0 avatar

      “Electric bikes have been done already and they’re as popular as Segways.”

      Who needs the clunky bulk of either when those little scooters abound?

      Anything riding with you will be strapped on your back in any of those cases.

  • avatar

    Well since they can’t build automobiles people actually want to buy this makes sense.

    Maybe they should also try skateboards, mopeds, roller blades, wing suits, zip lines, parachutes, baby strollers, wagons, Heely shoes or even stagecoaches?

    The sky is the limit Mary, be BOLD!!

  • avatar

    Why bother with the increased complexity, weight and size if a Bird-type scooter will do? Those who want to bicycle will buy a much cheaper conventional bike, no?

    • 0 avatar

      The bicycle will have a higher top speed, longer range (I’m talking in terms of riding comfort, not necessarily battery life), and ability to haul things. Don’t underestimate what you can carry on a bicycle, or one pulling a small, light weight trailer. I’ve been on and off bicycle commuting since 1969, and have no problem carrying anything up to a week’s groceries on a bike. And I’m not necessarily talking something ultra modern. My favorite commuter is a British Raleigh Tourist roadster. You’ve seen these bikes if you watched Downton Abbey, same design as what the residents in the village were riding.

      And if you’ve got any doubts what you can do with a bicycle, keep in mind that the French were defeated at Dien Bin Phu (sp?) in 1953 by the Vietnamese, who hauled all their equipment in via bicycle. Including artillery.

      Those little electric scooters are good for half a mile or so, and that’s about it. Nice for fast travel over thirty blocks or so, but beyond that, their effectiveness drops off rapidly. Especially if you’re carrying something that can’t fit in a backpack.

      • 0 avatar

        “…the Vietnamese, who hauled all their equipment in via bicycle. Including artillery.”

        I think you’re conflating DBP with the WWII Japanese bicycle advance down the Malayan peninsula to attack Singapore.

        As I’ve understood it, the Viet Minh’s outstanding achievement was to carry with them their artillery as they climbed up or tunneled through the back slopes of the hills ringing the French airbase.

    • 0 avatar

      What you’re talking here is not an electric moped-type vehicle where you turn it on and twist/push the throttle and go buzzing down the road. To be an e-bike, you still have to pedal.and the battery, motor and controlling electronics provide “light pedal assist”. Stop pedaling, and the electric motor stops and you glide to a halt. Start pedaling again and the motor kicks in.

      it’s not unlike pedals up a hill and having a gentle push on your back adding to you effort. My understanding is they cut down on sweaty clothes big time.

      • 0 avatar

        Completely correct, except the gentle push is not so gentle you can’t get up a long steep hill without breaking sweat. Totally fragrance-free cycling and no lycra costume required, much to the chagrin of the mamils!

  • avatar

    Bikes are a great mobility solution in cities, as long as you’re riding some POS from Wal-Mart or Target. Thieves can recognize an expensive bike, so be prepared for your new thousand+ dollar bike to be “repurposed” by the time you leave the Whole Foods.

    Anyway, this reminds me of all those photos I used to see of China and the third world, with hundreds of people on bikes waiting at busy city intersections. Then they all bought cars. Once again, GM leads America into the future, by leading us into the past.

    • 0 avatar

      “by leading us into the past.”

      Tongue in cheek here but:

      Inflation-adjusted the Runabout would be $3900. So $100 more than the collapsible version of the GM bicycle.

  • avatar

    Are they going to make Cadillac of bicycles? Cannot wait to see how German will over-engineer bicycles with glitches and how Japanese bicycles will be considered as the most reliable and capable of riding up to million miles without oil change and repairs.

    • 0 avatar

      That Japanese did that by the late 70’s, when they effectively killed off the European bicycle industry (and then Schwinn). As with cameras, motorcycles and cars, the bikes were better built, better engineered components, better finished, and cost less.

      Then Tawian got into the act and by the early 90’s had taken the Japanese out of the mainstream. And now the Chinese are turning out bikes as good as the Taiwanese.

      • 0 avatar

        “That Japanese did that by the late 70’s”

        Indeed they did. I built a Ron Kitching criterium framed road bike in the mid ’70s. Hard riding on public roads but loved how responsive and precise it felt. The only Euro parts other than the frame was a Cinelli seat, bars and stem tube and Mavic rims. Most of the rest was Shimano Dura-Ace and Sun Tour Cyclone when both were at the top of their game. The U.S. had lots of mfrs like Weyless and Specialized back then. No idea who makes what these days. Still have it and am thinking of refurbing for nostalgia sake but recognize that it’s an antique that the cycling world has passed by.

  • avatar

    Down here in Mexico lots of people ride bikes for transportation. And quite a number of those bikes are electric. Electric bikes here are mostly the moped type. Twist the throttle and go. Pedal if you want but it is not necessary. I was thinking about an electric bike but instead bought a used Honda 80cc scooter. Being in my mid seventies I don’t need to be pedaling too much. Stand up scooters are not practical down here as they don’t do well on cobblestone roads. One thing about here is the perfect weather. Eighty degrees for the next few days and no rain until June. Perfect for riding and walking.

    • 0 avatar

      In Ensenada, BC, Old Mexico, I did notice a number of Vespa-style scooters, each time that I have stayed there.

      And you are right, the weather there is perfect for that mode of transport much of the year.

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    I am sure GM’s next step will be to build an autonomous bicycle…

  • avatar

    Fire Her!

  • avatar

    Gee… how exciting!

  • avatar

    Hilarious. The B&B score again with either their lack of historical knowledge or intentional ignorance of it, but many automobile manufacturers have offered bikes. Off to the top of my head, Audi and Ford come to mind.

    Speaking of Ford, they just introduced a bed with sheets on a conveyor belt so your partner doesn’t steal the blankets from you during the night. Good job! Fixing the PowerShift transmissions? No way, far too complicated. Where’s the satirical post on TTAC for this? No, let’s get some clicks and bash GM some more! Talk about firing up the base…

    The bikes look like many other good ebikes you can buy on the market, with about the same features. The price isn’t too bad, but pricing has been coming down on these bikes. Check out EBR (Electric Bike Review)(and others) on YouTube for reviews and on good quality ebikes.

    I can’t predict what the take rate will be in the US, but I really can’t imagine it will make much of a splash in our society.

    • 0 avatar

      I know that Volkswagen had a Trek version back in the day. I don’t view that with any equivalency to the situation with GM. VW was upsettng the industry with well-engineered cars that (most of) the domestic industry couldn’t equal. The Trek idea was a marketing exercise and showed they understood the market they were targeting and they had good product to back it up. I don’t see that same coherence from GM.

      My family had 4 GM cars and all of them were unsatisfying one way or another if not downright junk. The experiences with them made you feel as if GM hated their customers. I had a 3/4 ton Chevy P/U that was rugged and as unsophisticated as an anvil, a good beast for my use case, but it must have started rusting on the assembly line. Then Mazda and Honda came along and showed us (the family) how cars should work.

      I want GM to get their mojo back. I want them to give me good reasons to buy their cars again. I want to see a string of long-term winners. I want them to show me they’re really trying and hitting the mark. So far I’m not getting that vibe (no pun intended) from them. What I do see is this sideshow that has no relevance to repairing their reputation and it leaves me cold.

      I’m not anti-domestic; the ’88 Horizon withstood 175k of hard miles and never let me down. My 2002 F-150 has been even more reliable than the Civics and I’ll keep that marriage till rust do us part.


      /rant off

  • avatar

    Can I get one with a banana seat & streamers on the handlebars?

  • avatar

    FINALLY. Another Rear Wheel Drive product from the general that’s not a truck or a coupe. With as open a greenhouse as possible. No DLO-Fail on this one. And it won’t cost a mint to insure.

    No backup camera, no “infotainment” nonsense, no touch screen, but it’ll still charge your phone. And yes, for the works-for-a-living crowd, all controls are operable with gloves.

    Easy to service drive train. Efficient plug-in hybrid electric power. (C’mon. It’ll run on TACOS if you want.)


  • avatar

    I live in a city, about 4 miles from my office. I used to commute by bike or by car, maybe a 15-20 minute trip in either vehicle. A couple of years ago my bike was stolen and I got an e-bike. I bought a Raleigh, about $2000 – I wouldn’t buy the GM bike because it’s too expensive and I don’t like small wheel bikes because they are too unstable. I rarely take the car these days. The e-bike is the perfect mode of transport for my commute. My commute is about 5 mins quicker which is not a big deal, but I’m saving money on fuel, I’m not congesting the roads or polluting the air, and I get some exercise. I probably get more exercise using the e-bike than the normal bike simply because I use it more.

    I would not ride it in the US unless there was a bike trail all the way because it would be too dangerous with the standard of driving I’ve observed there. Here in Scotland it’s fine in the city.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Probably turn out to be a two wheeled Vega.

  • avatar

    No mention of the fact that GM has already been selling bikes for 15 years?? GM selling bikes is nothing new, selling electric bikes IS new.

    Seriously, I’ve had a GMC bike for more than 10 years.

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