05 April 2013

Urban Mobility Concept

When you visited the newly redesigned Test Track, you may have noticed a car suspended in pieces towards the beginning of the queue. Then again, with all the automotive eye candy about, it may very well have slipped your attention. There is actually an assembled version of this vehicle with the broken apart vehicle displayed behind it. This two-seater is known as the EN-V. Say it real fast, it’ll come together for you.

When GM started exploring what the typical landscape would be in 2030, they found that approximately 60% of the world’s population would be living in urban areas. From that, and in partnership with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group, they began to see what problems currently vehicles endure and what the future would look like for them. They found that on average, today’s vehicles take up about 32 square feet when parked, and they are parked 90% of the time. Add to this the fact that in megacities a vehicles wastes up to 30% of its fuel while a driver is looking for parking, and that in all metropolitan areas 85% of vehicles have only one occupant, and you can see the damage and personal costs piling up quickly. GM and SAIC decided it was time to find a new solution.

One possible answer was the EN-V, which was first unveiled at the Shanghai Expo in 2010 in three models: Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic), and Xiao (Laugh). As for EN-V itself, what does it stand for? Electric Networked-Vehicle. The two passenger, two-wheeled, and electric powered vehicle can be driven manually or, in urban spaces that adopt a grid system, autonomously with a drive by wire system. Think of the ride vehicles in Ellen’s Energy Adventure and you have an idea of how this works. It’s top speed is only 40 miles-per-hour, but it also only takes up 1/6th of the space required by the average car today. Obviously, the EN-V isn’t the answer for everyone, but with more and more of the populace living in urban areas and traveling less than 3 miles to work or other destinations, it is one possible remedy.

Having the EN-V in the queue of the new Test Track reminds of the concept car displays that were a crucial component of World of Motion’s TransCenter. While many of those vehicles didn’t make it out of the concept phase, this car has the potential to finally see use down the road. Although, the autonomous driving will need city with massive changes to its infrastructure or a heck of a GPS upgrade.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Amazing! I want one!

It's be neat if they could have something like this at the WDW resorts; I'm sure a lot of people would prefer them to buses.