Meet GM’s EN-V Concept

  • Jiao - Pride. é GM Corp.
  • Xiao - Laugh. é GM Corp.
  • Miao - Magic. é GM Corp.
  • Interior shot of Xiao (Laugh). é GM Corp.
  • Miao - Magic. é GM Corp.
Date:31 March 2010 Tags:, , , , ,

By 2030, urban areas will be home to more than 60 per cent of the world’s 8 billion people. This will put tremendous pressure on a public infrastructure that is already struggling to meet the growing demand for transportation and basic services.

General Motors and its strategic partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC), share a common vision for addressing the need for personal mobility through a radical change in personal urban transportation. They are exploring several solutions for tomorrow’s drivers. 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 the core principle of personal mobility – freedom – while helping remove the motor vehicle from the environmental debate and redefining design leadership. EN-V is a two-seat electric vehicle that was designed to alleviate concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities.

Three EN-V models were unveiled today in Shanghai. They represent three different characteristics that emphasise the enjoyable nature of future transportation: (Pride), (Magic) and (Laugh). The concepts will be showcased from May 1 through October 31 at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai. Shanghai is expected to become one of the epicentres for the establishment of personal mobility solutions for the future.

“EN-V reinvents the automobile by creating a new vehicle DNA through the convergence of electrification and connectivity. It provides an ideal solution for urban mobility that enables future driving to be free 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
The EN-V concept was inspired by the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype, which was developed by GM in conjunction with Segway and debuted in April 2009. It is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. This is a technology that GM originally introduced on the Hy-wire concept at the 2006 Paris Motor Show. The motors not only provide power for acceleration but also control deceleration and stopping. Turning radius has been dramatically reduced compared to today’s conventional vehicles, enabling EN-V to “turn on a dime”.

Zero-emission power for the motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries. Recharging can be done by conventional conductive charging using household power, allowing EN-V to travel at least 40 km on a single charge. EN-V can also improve the efficiency of the public’s electric infrastructure since the vehicle has the capability of communicating with the electric grid to determine the best time to recharge based on overall usage.

By combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) with vehicle-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 reducing traffic congestion by allowing EN-V to automatically select the fastest route based on real-time traffic information. The concept also leverages wireless communications to enable a “social network” that can be used by drivers and occupants to communicate with friends or business associates while on the go.

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

The ability to communicate with other vehicles and with the infrastructure could dramatically reduce the number of vehicle accidents. Using vehicle-based sensor and camera systems, EN-V can “sense” what’s around it, allowing the vehicle to react quickly to obstacles or changes in driving conditions. For example, if a pedestrian steps out in front of the vehicle, EN-V will decelerate to a slower 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 Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This collaboration created “The Boss” Chevrolet Tahoe which brought autonomous vehicle operation to life in 2007. EN-V takes the lessons learned in “The Boss” and offers mobility to people who could not otherwise operate a vehicle.

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

EN-V has been designed for the speed and range of today’s urban drivers. It weighs less than 500 kg and is about 1,5 m in length. By comparison, today’s typical automobile weighs more than 1 500 kg and is three times as long. In addition, today’s automobiles require more than 10 square metres of parking space and are parked more than 90 per cent of the time. EN-V’s smaller size and greater manoeuvrability mean the same parking lot can accommodate five times as many EN-Vs as typical automobiles.

Smaller, smarter design
While EN-V leads the way in terms of efficiency and technology, it also sets a new benchmark for vehicle design. For its debut, GM had design teams around the world provide their vision of what future mobility will look like. (Laugh) was designed by GM Holden’s design team in Australia, while the look of (Pride) was penned by designers at GM Europe and (Magic) was designed at the General Motors Advanced Design Studio in California.

Each EN-V has a unique design theme to showcase the flexibility of the propulsion platform. The design gives each EN-V its own personality with a unique opening, elegant interior and innovative colour, lighting and seat technology. offers a more light-hearted appeal, with its “gumball blue” paint and nautical-inspired design. takes most of its design cues from the consumer electronics industry, as evidenced by its sleek, masculine looks. Designers also used to display innovative lighting solutions, including extensive use of LED accent lighting. With its clean lines and bright paintwork, takes its design influence from bullet trains and Chinese opera masks.

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

The body and canopy of EN-V are constructed from carbon fibre, custom-tinted Lexan and acrylic, materials that are more commonly used in race cars, military airplanes and spacecraft because of their strength and lightweight characteristics. The ability to work with such innovative materials provided a learning opportunity for GM’s design teams to study the feasibility of future traditional automotive applications.

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

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

Download:
* EN-V Fast Facts
* EN-V Concept Specification Sheet

Related material:
* Video: EN-V Concept: two-seat electric vehicle
* Blog: The incredible shrinking car – P.U.M.A.
* Video: P.U.M.A.

EN-V Fast Facts
Vehicle

* EN-V is short for Electric Networked Vehicle
* Leverages electrification and connectivity, creating a new class of personal urban mobility
* Connectivity separates EN-V from other electric vehicles
* Autonomous driving, parking and retrieval with advanced sensors and drive-by-wire systems
* Uses electricity supplied by a lithium-ion phosphate battery and can be recharged using ordinary outlets
* Maximum speed of 40 km/h and range of 40 km, which is more than required by the average urban commuter
* One-sixth the size of a regular passenger car and a 1,74-m turning radius
* Two-wheel drive, accommodates two passengers

Operating cost
* One-fifth to one-sixth the price of a conventional motor vehicle
* One-third to one-fourth the operating cost of a passenger car
* Can be driven 24 000 km for RMB 840 (based on current electricity rates in China)

Urbanisation facts
* There will be more than 1,2 billion cars on Earth in 30 years
* By 2030, 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas
* China’s estimated urban population will reach 1 billion by 2030
* In megacities, 30 per cent of fuel is wasted while drivers look for a parking spot and 70 per cent of vehicle owners have trouble finding parking at least once per day
* Today’s cars require more than 10 square metres of parking space and are parked more than 90 per cent of the time
* Half of all trips in metropolitan areas are 5 km or less and 28 per cent are 1,6 km or less
* In cities, more than 85 per cent of vehicles have one occupant

EN-V Concept Specification Sheet

Jiao (Pride) – 1,5 m (L) x 1,425 m (W) x 1,640 m (H)
Xiao (Laugh) – 1,540 m (L) x 1,420 m (W) x 1,770 m (H)
Miao (Magic) – 1,520 m (L) x 1,405 m (W) x 1,
 

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