One of the largest names in the automotive industry is getting into the e-bike business, and with it comes some homegrown ingenuity.
General Motors is preparing for an electric future in a few different ways, and of those involves the release of two new models of pedal-assist e-bikes. One model is collapsable while the other is a normal compact. Neither model has an official name—there is a naming contest for them running right now—but they are slated to be available to the public in 2019, and this is the first time GM has delved into the bicycle world.
These new models use proprietary technology engineered completely within the company’s Oshawa, Ontario development centre (dubbed Urban Mobility Solutions), and the overall process to create these new e-bikes began back in 2015. Back then, GM hired staff from the bike industry to better understand what consumers would want form an e-bike. This included Hannah Parish, who previously served as the Cycling Sports Group’s marketing director for North America. Parish is now the director of the Urban Mobility Solutions division.
“We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create our e-bikes,” she told Forbes.
The e-bikes look to built from aluminum and use an electric motor designed completely in-house “from the ground up” by GM’s Oshawa team.
“We’ve been developing drivetrain technology for more than a hundred years, and some of the same engineers that [today] work on automotive motors are now dedicated to making an awesome motor for our e-bikes,” marketing and innovation manager Jenni Cathcart said in a Forbes interview.
There’s a chance this e-bike could join the fleet of GM’s car sharing platform, Maven, which launched in Toronto earlier this year. This kind of move would reaffirm GM’s goals to bring more electric vehicles into their fleets while also offering more transportation options to those in urban areas looking to easily get around.