Meet the Chevrolet EN-V: progressing towards production
October 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
General Motors has started work on the next-generation EN-V concept – which will be badged as a Chevrolet. Pilot demonstration programmes will be launched in ‘mega-cities’ around the world to assess its practicality for real-life motoring. Chris Perry, VP for Chevrolet marketing and strategy, explains that Chevrolet is about “accessible and affordable” technology, and that “by 2030, more than 60 percent of the world’s 8billion people will live in urban areas. The Chevrolet EN-V represents a possible solution for global customers living in markets where alternative transportation solutions are needed.” A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co. Ltd., and trials will also take place in the US and other regions.
The EN-V – Electric Networked Vehicle – was first seen at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. It’s a two-seat EV with a 40km range – enough for urban journeys – and can be recharged from a domestic socket. Its autonomous driving capability and connectivity will be retained in the next-generation version, says GM, such as car-to-car communications, distance-sensing tech and wireless communications, though it will have a ‘manual’ mode and override; GM sees a role for it as transport for people who would perhaps otherwise be unable to drive a car. The communications tech will allow for navigation with congestion-avoidance, location of free parking spaces and other such conveniences, all of which are likely to make it into GM’s more mainstream cars. It will gain practical features including storage spaces and climate control in the next phase, too.
“The Chevrolet EN-V has the potential to reinvent transportation in key markets by creating a new vehicle DNA through the convergence of electrification and connectivity,” says 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.” More from GM here. Oh, and the Spark (formerly known as Daewoo Matiz) EV has been confirmed for production, too, in the next-gen 2013 range.
In other news:
- The first privately-funded EV charging network was launched today: Chargemaster’s Polar scheme is to install 4000 charging points in 100 towns and cities by the end of 2012. Members will pay a monthly subscription (initially £24.50) and 90p per usage; business tariffs will also be available and charging points can be installed at members’ homes for £95. Members get a swipe card for access, parking discounts and other incentives, plus a smartphone app to find a vacant charging point and monitor their car’s state of charge.
- Full story’s out on the Green Car Design 12.grn.hrs challenge – part one here, part two here, where you can vote for your favourite. The winning Solo, a modular three-wheeler, is pretty smart, but am liking the Ec0-Bomb concept as well.
- EVs and plug-in hybrids with small batteries are more environmentally-friendly than those with big battery packs, according to a study from Carnegie Mellon University, and are also more cost-effective per mile travelled. Though the larger-batteried vehicles have a greater range, there’s a weight penalty, their battery capacity is under-utilised for much low-daily driving, they require more charging infrastructure (because they go further) and they produce more emissions during their manufacture, claims the report. More at Edmunds AutoObserver.
- Honda’s working on a new-generation NSX supercar – and it could be a plug-in hybrid, says Motor Trend, which cites the DualNote concept of 2001 as an inspiration. A successor to the Beat mini-sportster is also on the way, apparently.
- The Edison2 eVLC (Very Light Car) has returned a quite astonishing 245mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) in US tests. Full story at AutoblogGreen. It returned a range of 114 miles and was fully recharged in six hours from a domestic socket. Next, it needs to go through crash tests.
- Nissan engineers and a team from Kansai University have developed a fast-charging system that can juice up a Leaf in just ten minutes, thanks to new capacitor materials. It could be ten years off production, however (Green Car Reports).
- And more on the npower fast-charger: developed by sister company RWE Effizienz, the ‘combi-station juice point’ gives AC and DC current, has a capacity of up to 22kW and 50kW respectively, and is six or 12 times faster than a domestic socket (next green car).
- Another glimpse of the robo-car future: the Wildcat autonomous car (story and video at the BBC). The professor leading the project says that in heavy traffic, “why can’t I watch the show I missed last night, Skype with the kids, read a book or send that last email,and elect the car to handle the drudgery of the trip for me?”. Now, when you put it like that…