E-Bikes Go Mainstream

General Motors makes a splash, and wants you to name it

In EV news, another sign that big auto giants are investing in electrics. General Motors introduced two new electric bikes November 2, slated for release in early 2019, along with a democratic surprise. Emblematic that major car companies are serious about investing in electric vehicles, this move in particular highlights the EV market’s alternative offshoot branch, upon which e-bikes reign supreme but is beginning to encompass more and more viable options like Segways, motorized scooters, and motorcycles. GM said it is manufacturing two varieties: a foldable option and a compact model.

Specs are not aplenty on the GM products yet, but we do have pictures. An aerodynamic-looking black and white design boasts a halogen headlight and a raised set of handlebars. There is currently no information on price, size, weight, or distance range…a huge downer until you realize you can have a say. In maybe the most inventive aspect of this product release, GM is launching a crowdsourcing campaign offering a grand prize of $10,000 to whoever comes up with the best name for the e-bikes, per Daily Mail UK’s Ariel Zilber. There will also be nine $1,000 runner up prizes, and the name-reveal process dictates the release for more spec details. Once the final candidates for names are chosen for the e-bikes, GM will reveal more information as to its specifications.

By 2023, it is estimated that sales of e-bikes will reach 40 million units, according to Statista.com. Projections vary in almost all areas of electric vehicles, but rapid growth is becoming almost a certainty. GM’s arrival on the scene will likely present a threat to startups that built the foundation of the industry, but could also propel the rise of others. Ride-sharing companies might also be affronted (both Lyft and Uber bought e-bike companies within the past year), and it remains to be seen whether GM plans to integrate its new product into the bike-sharing industry (it’s probable) that has ballooned in popularity in cities.

In related news, other alternative electric vehicles are seeing a bump in investment from the big fish, too: Ford announced this week it will enter the electric scooter market with the acquisition of Spin. The deal is worth close to $100 million, according to two sources, though another earlier put the price tag in the range of $40 million, which is around where Spin was valued after its Series A funding last year, according to Axios.

Looks like the EV-wave is coming.

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