Last year, GM unveiled its EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept in three flavors conceived by design teams around the world. In an effort to ascertain the real-world practicality of the two-seat, electric urban mobility concept, GM has begun work on the next-generation EN-V concept vehicle which the company plans to test in pilot demonstration programs in megacities around the world. The new vehicle and future EN-V concepts will also now be part of the Chevrolet brand and carry a Chevrolet badge.
The next-gen EN-V concept, which will now be branded as a Chevrolet and carry a Chevrolet badge, will add climate control, personal storage space and all-weather and road condition operation, while retaining the pod-form factor of previous EN-V designs that provides a small footprint and the ability to turn on a dime. The new model will continue to be powered by lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged from a standard household outlet to provide a range of 40 km (25 miles) on a single charge.
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GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co. Ltd. (SSTEC) to integrate the next-gen EN-V into the Tianjin Eco-City for real-world testing. The Tianjin Eco-City is an ecologically friendly city to house around 350,000 residents being constructed about 150 km (93 miles) from Beijing in a collaboration between the Chinese and Singaporean governments.
Tying the vehicle into the power, communications and physical infrastructure of the Tianjin Eco-City will allow GM to test a number of the EN-V's features in a real-world environment. These include the vehicle's autonomous driving capabilities, which are enabled by combining GPS with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies, along with wireless communications capabilities that allows drivers and occupants to communicate hands-free with friends and business associates while on the go.
It's expected the EN-V's ability to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure could also help reduce crashes and traffic congestion and make it easier to find a vacant parking space or the fastest route based on real-time traffic information.
"This technology platform of electric propulsion, sensors, wireless communications and GPS-based navigation is likely to migrate from the EN-V concept to other automobiles and could lead the way to safer, cleaner vehicles in the future," said Chris Borroni-Bird, GM's director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Concepts. "It provides an ideal solution for petroleum- and emission-free urban transportation that is free from congestion and crashes, and more fun and fashionable than ever before."
Along with the Tianjin Eco-City trial, Chevrolet says it will also explore other locations around the world - including the U.S. - for potential pilot programs for the EN-V concept.
Here's some video featuring the original three EN-V designs and how they might work in the real-world.