General Motors (GM) recently announced its new, all-electric concept car, the Chevy EN-V, which stands for Electric Networked-Vehicle, is geared to meet the growing demand for zero-emissions, environmentally-friendly personal transportation for short distances. Last year, GM showcased several earlier models of these small personal-mobility pods at the Shanghai Auto Show.
The company has stated that by 2030, more than 60 percent of the world’s 8 billion people will reside in densely populated cities, where this new vehicle is expected to be most utilized. The award-winning Chevrolet EN-V, is a two-seat, urban concept car that will be all-electric and powered by lithium-ion batteries. Thus, this car will be recharged from conventional wall outlets using convenient household power. Each charge will allow the EN-V to travel at least 25 miles, which is acceptable for small to medium size cities but not for driving across larger cities such as Tokyo or Berlin. Due to its limited distance, it offers a challenge and opportunity for the plethora of battery manufacturers to find ways to extend its range, along with other similar cars and hybrids, amid shakeup and consolidation in the battery market due to overambitious expectations for growth of electric vehicles globally.
Nonetheless, the EN-V can be driven manually or autonomously by combining GPS with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies. In autonomous mode, this car offers mobility, by leveraging wireless communications, as it allows drivers and passengers to communicate hands-free with friends or business associates, while also navigating itself by joining a “train” of other EN-Vs en route to the same or nearby location. What’s more, due to its small size of only five by five feet, four or more these concept cars can easily fit in the average parking space. Needless to say, it more than meets the upcoming heightened fuel efficiency and carbon emissions standards in the U.S.
This technology platform of electric propulsion, sensors, wireless communications and GPS-based navigation is an interesting concept for the future of safer, cleaner vehicles. However, in the mean time, it is a splash for GM, as it strives to transform its image.
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