GM has killed its first electric bike. The automakerâ€™s Ariv e-bikes, pronounced like â€œarriveâ€ and stylized as â€œARÄªV,â€ were released last year in a handful of countries in Europe. But thanks to COVID-19, the company said it has decided to wind down its e-bike production. The website where customers previously could place orders now redirects to GMâ€™s main site.
GM was the latest automaker to try leverage its experience in manufacturing, batteries, and powertrains to build an amazing electric bike. And early reviews suggested they may have done it. The Vergeâ€™s Thomas Ricker tested out both available models last year â€” the Ariv Meld and the foldable Merge â€” and came away impressed.
In a statement to The Verge, GM said the decision was the result of the company needing to take a hard look at its various business amid the coronavirus pandemic. â€œAriv has generated significant insights about micromobility for General Motors, and we plan to use those insights to benefit future innovation,â€ said Brian Tossan, GMâ€™s director of global innovation.
The COVID-19 outbreak has cut deeply into GMâ€™s business, costing the largest US automaker $1.4 billion before taxes during the first three months, according to its latest earnings report. Still, the company eked out a $294 million profit for the first quarter despite the crisis. GMâ€™s North American factories have been closed since mid-March, but the company recently informed workers it was planning to resume production on May 18th.
Ariv isnâ€™t GMâ€™s only casualty of COVID-19. The company also recently shut down Maven, the car-sharing service it first launched in 2016.
The decision to end GMâ€™s e-bike production may have seemed necessary, but e-bike sales in the US and Europe are actually growing during the shutdown. Several e-bike makers have reported record sales, following an initial dip in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
Fortunately, GM is not the only automaker dipping its toes into electric micromobility. BMW is making electric bikes and motorcycles. Audi is manufacturing electric mountain bikes. Ford recently acquired e-scooter startup Spin. Jeep recently unveiled a high-powered electric mountain bike. Even Harley-Davidson has unveiled a lightweight electric two-wheeler concept amid a drop in sales.