General Motors just revealed their highly anticipated EN-V all electric vehicle concept, and it's got some very interesting features that make it a greener, more convenient car for city dwellers. The antithesis of the oversized SUV (you can fit four EN-Vs into the same road space occupied by a standard family car!), the EN-V is an upright two-seat urban minicar that gets its nimbleness from the same type of mechanics that the Segway uses. Developed in partnership with Chinese company SAIC, the smartly designed concept car is being called GM's most significant concept since the Chevrolet Volt. Read on for more details about the EN-V like how it can turn 180 degrees within its own body length, park in the tiniest spots and even drop you off AND pick you up from work!
Currently, three versions of the EN-V exist – the Xiao, the Jiao and the Miao. Each one is based on the same mechanical platform and measures about six feet tall, four feet wide and four feet long. All three seat two passengers side by side with a wheel on either end of the center of the car hooked up to a 3KW electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack.
According to GM, the EN-V will be able to reach a top speed of 25mph and have a range of 25 miles. That might seem pretty weak, but it makes sense when you take into account that the car is meant for city life where energy efficiency, short trips, traffic jammed streets and agility are all factors.
Speaking of agility, one of the most noteworthy things about the EN-V is its basis on Segway mechanicals. Its propulsion system is very similar except for the fact that Segway riders are able to control forwards and backwards movement using their balance (interpreted by a series of gyroscopic sensors), while EN-V drivers drive and sit normally (not tilting back and forth), using a by-wire steering system, hand-operated accelerator and brake. Since the EN-V automatically shifts its weight front to rear by electrically adjusting the position of its body relative to the chassis below, it has the ability to instinctively and automatically balance on one axle like a man on a unicycle, making it worlds more maneuverable than a car with two axles. In fact, it can turn 180 degrees within its own body length, and be parked in the most restricted urban spaces.
If you thought that was cool, the EN-V is also capable of what is called ‘vehicle-to-vehicle’ and ‘vehicle-to-network’ communication, meaning it can read, interpret and understand its own location and the road ahead of it using a GPS system, transceivers and cameras on its body. The real clincher? The EN-V can even be ‘fully autonomous’ and drive you to work, drive itself home again and then drive back to pick you (and even a date) up later in the evening.