GM’s EN-V concept car is touted as a transportation solution for the future, and while it may not be as portable as a futuristic car seen on the Saturday morning cartoons, it might one day take a space in your living room. GM plans to show the vehicle at the Shanghai Expo, which opens on May 1 and runs through November.
Its name is pronounced “envy”, and it’s General Motors’ newest effort to rid itself of its old image as a creator of gas guzzlers, and showcase itself as an environmentally aware company. Among other companies, GM sees China (who it is partnering with on the EN-V) as a great place to test out these small cars. The EN-V looks almost like a vacuum cleaner, but it’s more than just a way to travel emissions-free.
The EN-V doesn’t have a trunk, and GM has dumped the gas engine in favor of one that is driven purely by electricity. Unlike other vehicles, this car is intended for city driving, and they take up just one-fifth the space of a regular car.
According to GM, there will be over a billion cars on Earth in 2040. Over half the world’s population will be living in cities. Countries like China, which already contains roughly one-fifth of the world’s population, will benefit from smaller vehicles like the EN-V as it will cut down on congestion, pollution, and parking issues.
Building on its earlier work with the Segway company, GM will use the same type of batteries from the same supplier in the EN-V. While it only has a top speed of 24 miles per hour, that’s more than enough to travel a congested city road (where the average speed is about 12 miles per hour). Reduced speed means less need for safety measures like crumple zones and air bags. This results in a very lightweight vehicle- the EN-V only weighs 880 lbs.
The Shanghai Expo will allow GM to introduce its “solution” to the vehicle crowding crisis that’s plaguing China and other countries. It remains to be seen, however, how well China’s drivers (who are fond of big cars and “creative” driving) will take to the EN-V. However, General Motors does have a track record of turning ideas into successful ventures- it’s been said that GM’s vision of a “superhighway” system- shown at the 1939 World’s Fair- inspired America’s current interstate highways.
Can you picture yourself driving one of these eco cars if made available or is it just to “Jetson-ish for you??