Too tipsy or tired to drive yourself home? GM's Electric Networked Vehicle (EN-V) can help. The concept vehicle platform, an extension of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype that was developed by Segway last year, is like a personal form of public transportation.
EN-V, which is short for Electric Networked-Vehicle, maintains the core principle of personal mobility -– freedom –- while helping remove the motor vehicle from the environmental debate and redefining design leadership. EN-V is a two-seat electric vehicle that was designed to alleviate concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow's cities. "EN-V reinvents the automobile by creating a new vehicle DNA through the convergence of electrification and connectivity. It provides an ideal solution for urban mobility that enables future driving to be free from petroleum and emissions, free from congestion and accidents, and more fun and fashionable than ever before," said Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group.
EN-V is connected to the road, so it can drive either manually or autonomously. Its lithium-ion powered electric motors can be recharged from any standard wall outlet, and the system features vehicle-to-vehicle communications, distance-sensing, and GPS. That means crashes with pedestrians can easily be averted. At the same time, real-time traffic information can be leveraged to automatically select the fastest route to a destination, avoiding any potential traffic.
The vehicle isn't exactly meant for speedy transportation. It has a top speed of 25 mph and a range of just 25 miles. Still, that's far enough for most cities--according to GM, half of all trips in urban metro areas are three miles or less.
The major barrier with EN-V is, of course, to get cities to adopt the system, Having just one EN-V model puttering around New York City won't do much good--the city has to take the system on in bulk. And we're guessing that isn't a cheap proposition.