General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) has entered the electronic bike business. However, it does not have a name for the new product. So, it has decided to go outside the company to name the electronic bike and offered $10,000 to the winner of the naming competition.
GM’s new eBike, as it is called, is a very small part of the manufacturer’s effort to get into the burgeoning electronic vehicle market. Unlike a car, it only carries one person. And, the owner can make one of the two versions of the bike much smaller. The portable version of the bike folds up for storage. The other version is “compact” which means it is already small enough to be stored in an area about the dimensions of a big suitcase. GM calls the engineering behind the bikes “flexible electrification technologies.”
The new eBike is aimed primarily at consumers who do not want to drive a car through heavy traffic. As an additional benefit, GM says the bike will allow workers to show up at work “sweat-free.” Hannah Parish, director of General Motors Urban Mobility Solutions, described the thought process behind how the company wants to find a name: “We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents and automotive-grade testing with great minds from the bike industry to create our eBikes. Now we want to expand our thinking beyond the company walls and hear from people who like to move and have rad ideas.”
What does GM want? Its qualifications include a name which people will recognize around the world because GM plans to offer the eBike in markets outside the U.S. GM also want a name that reflects the “simple, smart and bold concepts” which will be hallmarks of the product’s appeal to consumers. The name also has to be aimed at people who travel in cities. And, it has to reflect how the eBike will “improve and organize their lives.”
GM has created a website where people can get details about the contest and also enter the name they think will reflect GM’s goals. The site, labeled eBikeBrandChallenge.com, will allow people to submit names starting immediately and vote through 10 a.m. EST Monday, November 26. GM will judge the names from November 26 to December 7. On January 31 it will “reveal” ten winners. Nine runner-ups will get $1,000 each. The winner will get $10,000.
The contest will give GM the chance to get visibility for its electronic vehicle initiative. It is in a race with companies ranging from Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) to BMW to Ford Motor Company (NASDAQ: F). As the demand for fossil-fueled cars wanes the fight for market share in the segment will get more heated. The eBike product is a very small part of this effort, but it is likely to be one which gets GM a lot of publicity.