A GM executive suggested Tuesday a way for commuters to complete the last mile of their trip to work — and it has nothing to do with a car.
“What if your [OnStar] app had your reserved e-bike waiting at Union Station to scoot that last mile to the office. And you could fold up that bike and put it next to your desk ready for the ride home,” said Steve Carlisle, president of GM of Canada.
The company is thinking about multimodal transportation. Cars aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution for our transit needs, but one option on a menu. E-bikes offer the efficiency and eco-friendliness of a bicycle to traverse a gridlocked city, with the benefit of an electric motor to eliminate some of the work of pedaling.
Carlisle’s musing tweaks the typical model for bike-sharing services. Usually riders are encouraged to return their bikes to a station within a short time frame, so as to avoid extra fees. As GM is only at the concept phase, all of the details — including how long a bike would be used — remain unclear.
“We really need to innovate and do a better job tackling the nightmare known as the daily commute, an inefficiency that costs our economy dearly,” said Carlisle, speaking at the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Carlisle also mentioned the possibility for fleets of electric vehicles — perhaps even self-driving — to ferry commuters from their homes to train stations.
He said that work on GM’s electric bike is underway now in Ontario, and there will be more to announce in 2016.
In early October GM first mentioned it had a concept for an electric bike. The news came as GM chief executive Mary Barra said GM wanted to be a disruptor — not a victim of disruption — as transportation evolves.
GM isn’t the only traditional automaker looking at new avenues. Earlier this year Ford shared a prototype for an electric bike that includes a smartphone app to make riders aware of potholes, directions and weather.