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Say goodbye, GM kills off its short-lived electric bicycle

GM has officially announced that it is ending its ARIV electric bicycle program, blaming the decision largely on the havoc wreaked upon its balance sheets by COVID-19.

GM’s Ariv electric bicycle program was announced in late 2018 with a flashy contest that allowed the public to name the e-bike.

The winner received $10,000 and the name Ariv stuck, being officially announced in February 2019.

It would be another few months before European riders finally got the chance to receive the new e-bike.

But no one knew at the time that the first Ariv riders would be the last, as GM’s decision closes the door on the short-lived electric bicycle program.

Despite ending the Ariv program, GM still believes it wasn’t all for nothing. “Ariv has generated significant insights about micromobility for General Motors, and we plan to use those insights to benefit future innovation,” explained GM’s director of global innovation Brian Tossan in a statement to the Verge.

The Ariv had originally been available in two versions. The Ariv Meld was a compact electric bicycle, while the Ariv Merge was a similar design with a folding function.

The Ariv electric bicycles were designed to meet Europe’s strict e-bike regulations. That meant a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and no hand throttle — instead having four levels of pedal-assist to choose from.

In the lowest power mode, the Ariv battery was capable of providing a range of 64 km (40 mi).

The mid-drive motor was developed in-house by GM and rated at 250W. The e-bikes had integrated LED lights that were powered by the main battery and offered hydraulic disc brakes.

These weren’t entry-level e-bikes, but rather offered a quality level that you’d expect from a major automaker.

Of course the price wasn’t entry-level either. The Ariv Meld was priced at €2,800 In Belgium and the Netherlands, where the folding Ariv Merge was priced at €3,400. In Germany, the Ariv Meld cost €2,750 and the Ariv Merge cost €3,350.

While GM might have lost its gamble on electric bicycles, other automotive companies are still placing their bets. Jeep’s 1.5kW electric bicycle debuted earlier this year, though with a price loftier than GM’s attempt.

BMW has a few electric bikes and scooters in the works, as does Skoda. Spanish automaker Seat recently launched their own micromobility offerings as well.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

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