GM prepares to launch eBikes in 2019

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News
General Motors Co.'s compact eBike.

General Motors Co. is preparing to launch two types of eBikes, which are set to go on sale next year.

The bikes will be equipped with electric motors that will allow bikers to ride, pedal or pedal up steep terrain with some assistance. The bikes will come in two types: a folding bike and a compact bike.

It's unclear whether the eBikes will be sold for personal ownership or launched in rental fleets similar to existing bike shares or the electric scooters that have recently grown in popularity.

Before the eBikes launch, GM is having a contest to come up with a brand name for the bikes. GM is taking submissions for the contest — in which the winner will receive $10,000 — at Winners will be announced in early 2019.

General Motors Co.'s eBike.

GM's foray into eBikes also builds on the company's public commitment to reducing emissions, calling for a future without fossil fuel pollution. The automaker is planning to introduce 20 electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles by 2023.

“We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create our eBikes," Hannah Parish, director of General Motors urban mobility solutions, said in a Friday statement. "Now we want to expand our thinking beyond the company walls and hear from people who like to move and have rad ideas.”

The eBikes will be the latest mobility brand for GM. The automaker's self-driving car unit GM Cruise LLC is planning to launch a driverless taxi service sometime next year. 

GM also launched its Maven car-sharing service in 2016. The brand started with traditional sharing options like hourly, daily or monthly urban car sharing, and later added a university campus program, Maven Gig for rideshare and delivery drivers and a limited peer-to-peer rental program.

Twitter: @NoraNaughton