Is General Motors Planning To Get Into The Electric Bicycle Business?9
On August 7th, 2017, General Motors filed to register two trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Merge and Maven Merge. This is par for course for any multinational such as GM, which files various trademark filings during the course of a year. But these filings were no regular filings due to the goods and services category in which they were filed.
Specifically, the filings state that the standard character marks will be used to name goods and services in the following categories:
- Bicycles, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles, and structural parts thereof
- Motors for bicycles, and
- Electric conversion kits for bicycles comprised of motors for bicycles and electric handlebar motor controls
By contrast, typical GM trademark filings typically cite the goods and services category of “automobiles, cars and motor vehicles”, or some combination thereof. So, the question is — what is GM doing registering trademarks for bicycles and electric bikes? More specifically, is The General planning on expanding its business into other forms of transportation?
Some logical thinking would lead us to believe that GM could expand its Maven car sharing service by adding other transportation forms such as bikes and e-bikes. In many ways, such a solution would deliver what is often referred to as the “last mile” of transportation — the one that takes place after a customer (such as one driving a Maven car) has parked the car at the designated drop-off location, but still has a three-mile walk to his or her home or meeting place.
For this, most large cities already have bike sharing services, where customers can rent bikes with a credit card by the hour or day. Meanwhile, many bicycle makers — including Giant and Trek — are already offering e-bikes with pedal assist, which help the rider pedal faster for longer distances, minimizing fatigue.
If GM is actually planning on entering the bike/e-bike sharing business, the move raises more questions than we have answers. For instance, will the firm source the bikes from someone else, or design and manufacture its own? Given that the trademarks’ focus is on motorized and electric bikes, and that GM is one of the leading experts in electrified transportation thanks to such vehicles as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, we think that The General could very well leverage its electric vehicle tech for use in electric bikes.
Only time will tell how or even if GM will actually follow through in completing the registration of the Merge and Maven Merge trademarks, or if it will introduce a real-world product or service as described in the trademark filings. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to GM Authority as we follow this story, along with all other General Motors news.
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is the electric bike sharing industry remotely profitable?
so after driving to a central parking lot, you think people will want to hop on a bike and ride for three miles or so? what if it is raining? what if it is hot and muggy? what if i’m carrying groceries? what if i’m handicapped? who wants to risk their lives sharing the road inattentive drivers?
i thought this was about convenience.
“Who wants to share the road with inattentive drivers?”
Nicky Hayden, an American World Champion in MotoGP. Made America great, and earned himself an amazing reputation as a moral figure in sport.
And, as a motorcycle racer, he had to train to keep fit. On a bicycle, which is absolutely necessary for this sport. In fact, most Olympic and Boxing/MMA sports people train on bicycles because it’s the only way to get peak cardio-vascular fitness without drugs.
Bob Wollek also died this way. Paul Newman was heartbroken about the loss of his friend.
So if you are going to be inattentive and cause trouble, I hope the recipient is training to face Jon Jones…
what if it is raining? – go to work. (Electric bikes are water-resistant, and unbelievably, human skin is too).
what if it is hot and muggy? – go to work. (like everyone else).
what if i’m carrying groceries? – take them home in a bag or basket. (I can’t believe I have to explain that.)
what if i’m handicapped? – often their powerchairs are part of their long-range vehicle’s interior anyway, also there are three/four-wheelers with the same electric power, and we could always invent a little blue pass with a symbolic chair that allows them special access methods. Oh, that’s already been invented? That’s handy, Captain!
Rain, groceries, handicapped, big hills, increased safety or even carrying a passenger? No problem.
The ELF, over 4 million miles traveled.
“Who wants to risk their lives sharing the road [with] inattentive drivers?”
Yeah! Obviously, the answer is to ban bicycles. Then drivers can continue being as inattentive as they like, right? Oh dear, then we will have to ban walking, because pedestrians shouldn’t bother these incredibly-important-inattentive-drivers, right? And roadside buildings, they’ll have to go. Lane markings are also just an imposition on these important people. These incredibly-important-inattentive-drivers have important things to do for their importance, so there is absolutely no way that they are responsible for their inattentiveness, right?
How about this instead? To qualify for a driver’s license, the applicant will need to demonstrate 3-years of bicycle riding, on public roads, with a minimum of 20 miles per week.
That would fix the inattentiveness real quick. The only difference being, of course, that INATTENTIVENESS IS THE RESPONSIBLITY OF THE INATTENTIVE!
Convenience? Go get a teleworking job and see what Marissa Mayer has to say about that. Real work? Needs workers to arrive on the job, and as workers get where they’re going, they look out for each other along the way.
who said anything about banning bicycles? i’d love to ride a bicycle but the streets of most american cities are not made to accommodate cyclists.
in response to a previous posting, the moderator said this was about convenience which i didn’t buy. this is more a pr stunt than anything. it is a message to the hipsters out there that gm is “cool”.
I saw that post, and I told you then that for many people car ownership is becoming prohibitively expensive. It has nothing to do with hipsters (all of whom are dead now), and has everything to do with convenience and cost effectiveness.
Insurance, refueling, maintaince, and parking. 4 ugly strikes against car ownership that are unattractive to younger people. It isn’t ‘hip’ for GM anymore than it is ‘hip’ for Toyota or BMW, as all 4 are costs that demand money and time that few people have interest in devoting themselves too. Why pay for them if there are better options?
If more and more people are living in cities, the population density will increase, the value of the land that belongs to the city will also increase.
Because of this increase in cities population, the importance of city planners will change too. They will be less likely to approve or allow major highways if the same land could be used for housing or commercial space. A single car uses almost 350 square feet, and for a building developer, that’s a lot of wasted space used for parking cars that could otherwise be used to house rent paying tenants or to be sold as condo units.
Naturally, with the increased residential population density would come the need for commercial interests who would also need to scale their “plan of attack” accordingly. If they consumers have no for a car because your business is 500m away from their house, the business doesn’t need to pay out hundreds or thousands on the property tax for a parking lot.
What does this mean for GM? I’ve said it before that GM shouldn’t present itself as a car company, and instead should present itself as a transportation company. It means their focus will have to change as well. Cars, as we know them, won’t be the primary means of getting around a city, and how people travel longer distances will also need to be met.
Finally, if you’re think of this as an EV vs. ICE thing, you might want think about how much space a recharging EV takes up in comparison to how much space a gas station takes up. The city collects tax money on the square footage of both, but the gas station has a greater difficulty offsetting its fixed costs. Considering how much square footage a gas station uses, there are plenty of cities in North America that would love see those sites become developed into residential units.
Then they might not even need EV cars, and could probably do just fine on bike.
Hmmm. Doesn’t sound it has anything to do with the “Core Business”. They dumped many parts of GM because it had been labeled as not a part of the “Core Business”. What’s this???????? Bicycles
“They dumped many parts of GM because it had been labeled as not a part of the “Core Business”. What’s this???????? Bicycles”
GM’s core business is transportation.