Everything you need to know about GM’s new electric bikes

General Motors announced last year it was getting into the electric bike business. But besides a crowdsourcing name competition and a few teasers, details were scant.

Now, GM has given this new brand a name — ARĪV — as well as names for its two electric bikes, and some information about its go-to-market plan. The name ARĪV was selected as part of a global crowdsourcing campaign announced in November 2018.

The bikes

GM is bringing two new electric “connected” bikes to market this year — one folding and one compact — as it makes a broader push into electrification and experiments with how to diversify its business of making and selling vehicles.

The compact electric bike is called Meld and the folding one is called Merge.

GM says it brought “automotive-grade capabilities” to its bikes. The company’s experience with EV motor software and controls greatly influenced the proprietary GM motor that was built for the electric bikes, GM said.

The motor enables speeds up to 25 kph with four levels of pedal-assisted power. The battery allows users to travel 64 km, about 40 miles, on a single charge. The battery charges in about 3.5 hours.

Both bikes, which were engineered and designed in GM facilities in Michigan and Oshawa, Ontario, come standard with safety components such as integrated, rechargeable front and rear LED safety lights and oversized brake rotors to increase stopping power.

Where to find and buy them

GM plans to launch first in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands because of “popularity of lithium-ion battery-powered ebikes in those markets.” GM has opened up a website www.BikeExchange.com where customers can pre-order.

The Meld will be cheaper than the Merge, and prices depend on the country.

In Belgium and the Netherlands, the ARĪV Meld is €2.800, or about $3,100, and the Merge is €3.400 ($3,800). In Germany, the ARĪV Meld is €2.750 and the Merge is €3.350.

ARĪV e-bikes are scheduled to begin shipping to customers in the second quarter of 2019.

The connected bits

GM calls these connected bikes and that can mean a lot of different things. In this case, it means the bikes can connect with an app via Bluetooth.

The app gives riders all kinds of metrics such as speed, distance, remaining battery level, motor assist level and distance traveled. The company plans to add more features, including a mode that will use a proprietary algorithm to help riders arrive at their destination sweat-free.

These bikes also come with what it calls a “Quad Lock mount,” a system to securely attach a smartphone to the bike. An integrated USB port allows riders to maintain their phone’s charge while on the go.