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GM EN-V Concept

The North American automaker has revealed the GM EN-V Concept today, which is a personal mobility vehicle that is address growing urbanization issues.

The GM EN-V Concept has been developed in three variants (Jiao, Miao and Xiao) with room for two occupants seating side by side, while power comes from two electric motors (3 kW each) that extract power from a lithium-ion battery pack.

With this powering system the GM EN-V Concept can reach a maximum speed of 25 mph and a 25 mile drive range. Also thanks to it's drive-by-wire technology the GM EN-V Concept can operate autonomously or under manual control.

In fully autonomous mode, thanks o the vehicle-to-network connectivity, the GM EN-V Concept could take you to work for example, then drive itself back home for recharge and then get back to collect you when you finish your job.

Extensive information regarding the new GM EN-V Concept is available in the official press release below.

 

GM press release :

Shanghai – By 2030, urban areas will be home to more than 60percent of the world’s 8 billion people.  This will put tremendouspressure on a public infrastructure that is already struggling to meetthe growing demand for transportation and basic services.

General Motors and its strategic partner, Shanghai AutomotiveIndustry Corp. Group (SAIC), share a common vision for addressing theneed for personal mobility through a radical change in personal urbantransportation.  They are exploring several solutions for tomorrow’sdrivers.  Among the most promising is a new vehicle form called EN-V.

A Promising Solution

EN-V, which is short for Electric Networked-Vehicle, maintains thecore principle of personal mobility – freedom – while helping removethe motor vehicle from the environmental debate and redefining designleadership.  EN-V is a two-seat electric vehicle that was designed toalleviate concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parkingavailability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities.

Three EN-V models were unveiled today in Shanghai.  They representthree different characteristics that emphasize the enjoyable nature offuture transportation: Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic) and Xiao (Laugh). The concepts will be showcased from May 1 through October 31 at theSAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai.  Shanghai is expected tobecome one of the epicenters for the establishment of personal mobilitysolutions for the future.

“EN-V reinvents the automobile by creating a new vehicle DNA throughthe convergence of electrification and connectivity.  It provides anideal solution for urban mobility that enables future driving to befree 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.

Breakthrough Technology

EN-V’s platform has evolved from the platform of the Personal UrbanMobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype that was developed bySegway and debuted in April 2009.  Segway has worked collaborativelywith GM to develop and deliver multiple copies of the drivetrainplatform that seamlessly connect to and power the various EN-Vs.

EN-V is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-modewheels.  Dynamic stabilization technology empowers EN-V, giving it theunique ability to carry two passengers and light cargo in a footprintthat’s about a third of a traditional vehicle.  It can literally “turnon a dime” within its own operating envelope.  In addition, everythingin EN-V is drive-by-wire, supporting its ability to operateautonomously or under manual control. The motors not only provide powerfor acceleration, but also bring the vehicle to a stop.

Power for the motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries thatproduce zero emissions. Recharging can occur from a conventional walloutlet using standard household power, allowing EN-V to travel at least40 kilometers on a single charge.  EN-V can also improve the efficiencyof the public electric infrastructure since the vehicle can communicatewith the electric grid to determine the best time to recharge based onoverall usage.

By combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) withvehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies,the EN-V concept can be driven both manually and autonomously.

Its autonomous operating capability offers the promise of reducingtraffic congestion by allowing EN-V to automatically select the fastestroute based on real-time traffic information.  The concept alsoleverages wireless communications to enable a “social network” that canbe used by drivers and occupants to communicate with friends orbusiness associates while on the go.

This combination of sensing technology, wireless communication andGPS-based navigation establishes a technology foundation, pieces ofwhich could migrate from the EN-V concept and potentially lead the wayto future advanced vehicle safety systems.

The ability to communicate with other vehicles and with theinfrastructure could dramatically reduce the number of vehicleaccidents.  Using vehicle-based sensor and camera systems, EN-V can“sense” what’s around it, allowing the vehicle to react quickly toobstacles or changes in driving conditions. For example, if apedestrian steps out in front of the vehicle, EN-V will decelerate to aslower and safer speed and stop sooner than today’s vehicles.

GM has been a leader in developing autonomous vehicle technology,having worked alongside students and faculty at Carnegie MellonUniversity in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thiscollaboration created “The Boss” Chevrolet Tahoe, which broughtautonomous vehicle operation to life in 2007.   EN-V takes the lessonslearned in “The Boss” and offers mobility to people who could nototherwise operate a vehicle.

“The EN-V concept represents a major breakthrough in the researchthat GM has been doing to bring vehicle autonomy to life,” said AlanTaub, Global Vice President of GM Research and Development.  “Thebuilding blocks that enable the autonomous capabilities found on theEN-V concept such as lane departure warning, blind zone detection andadaptive cruise control are being used in some GM vehicles on the roadtoday.”

EN-V has been designed for the speed and range of today’s urbandrivers.  It weighs less than 500 kilograms and is about 1.5 meters inlength.  By comparison, today’s typical automobile weighs more than1,500 kilograms and is three times as long.  In addition, today’sautomobiles require more than 10 square meters of parking space and areparked more than 90 percent of the time.  EN-V’s smaller size andgreater maneuverability mean the same parking lot can accommodate fivetimes as many EN-Vs as typical automobiles.

Smaller, Smarter Design

While EN-V leads the way in terms of efficiency and technology, italso sets a new benchmark for vehicle design.  For its debut, GM haddesign teams around the world provide their vision of what futuremobility will look like.  Xiao (Laugh) was designed by GM Holden’sdesign team in Australia, while the look of Jiao (Pride) was penned bydesigners at GM Europe and Miao (Magic) was designed at the GeneralMotors Advanced Design Studio in the U.S. state of California.

Each EN-V has a unique design theme to showcase the flexibility ofthe propulsion platform.  The design gives each EN-V its ownpersonality, with a unique opening, elegant interior and innovativecolor, lighting and seat technology.  Xiao offers a more lightheartedappeal, with its “gumball blue” paint and nautical-inspired design. Miao takes most of its design cues from the consumer electronicsindustry, as evidenced by its sleek, masculine looks.  Designers alsoused Miao to display innovative lighting solutions, including extensiveuse of LED accent lighting.   With its clean lines and brightpaintwork, Jiao takes its design influence from bullet trains andChinese opera masks.

"EN-V incorporates significant technology and material innovation,which has given the design team a whole new world to explore,” saidClay Dean, Director of Advanced Design for GM North America.  “Becauseof the lightweight structures, materials and integrated controls, wecreated unique surface forms not traditionally found in automotiveapplications.”

The body and canopy of EN-V are constructed from carbon fiber,custom-tinted Lexan and acrylic, materials that are more commonly usedin race cars, military airplanes and spacecraft because of theirstrength and lightweight characteristics.  The ability to work withsuch innovative materials provided a learning opportunity for GM’sdesign teams to study the feasibility of future traditional automotiveapplications.

EN-V’s compact size makes it ideal for use in densely populatedcities thanks to its use of advanced safety and propulsiontechnologies.  But good things come in small packages, as witnessed byEN-V’s innovative interior design, which provides maximum visibility tothe world outside.  A simple interface for activating Wi-Fi-basedtechnologies keeps occupants connected to the outside world.

“The future of how we move around in urban areas like Shanghai cancombine the best of personal mobility and public transit.  There is abetter solution and it is called EN-V.  It demonstrates that we haveboth the knowledge and the ability right now to create a way to movepeople that not only ensures a ‘better city’ but also offers people a‘better life,’” said Taub.

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