9 January 2011

The EN-V – Is this the Car of the Future?

There is an old joke about small cars which has travelled (changed to various manufacturers and models according to geography) around the world.  The joke goes that a small animal, let’s say a rabit, in involved in a collision with one of them.  The punch line goes that the rabbit gets up, brushes himself down and goes about his business: the car is a write off.

Perhaps the same joke will be levelled at the EN-V (or the Electric-Networked Vehicle) if you prefer the longer version. You can certainly take a second or two as time out to shudder at the prospect of being in one of these wedges between two pickup trucks.  However, that aside, the EN-V may well revolutionise the way we travel, particularly in urban areas.

For starters the two-seater car has twin electric motors and something called dynamic stabilization technology.  This allows them to turn on a penny.  They can also be charged up from a conventional wall outlet.  Take in to account their integrated GPS system which allows them to operate autonomously and if they don’t attract the motoring fan they may just be a magnet for those not too shy to reveal their inner geek.

The EN-V may offer the solution for which drivers have been waiting for decades.  If adopted, lack of parking and traffic jams could become a thing of the past.  Not only that, its design takes in to account three things which pre-occupy many drivers; affordability, how much energy it consumes and what damage the vehicle might do to our already fragile environment.

The GM version of the EN-V can rotate through 360 degrees and be driven, if necessary, without a driver.  It will keep running for around 25 miles and goes up to 25 miles per hour.  This is expected to improve, however.  When it comes to being remote controlled, however, this would mean that cities would have to create areas that would be only used by EN-Vs, something we see in science fiction movies but is possibly unlikely in our lifetimes.

Yet could it be that GM – of all possible companies – might be able to persuade the gas guzzling public to go electric.  Certainly the three two seater models which have recently made their debut are turning heads, both in the design and the driving world.

There are currently three models, Laugh, Pride and and Magic.  All three names could do with a little work, to be perfectly honest.In our pictures, the red EN-V is Pride (not to be confused with one of the seven deadly sins or an annual LGBT event) and Magic is the black model.  Laugh (possibly in you're having a...) is the blue one.

The design is one of those which people will either love or hate.  Brightly colored and worryingly reminiscent of the a motorcycle helmet, it will take time to convince many people that the EN-V is the way forward – if indeed they can ever be convinced.

Please don’t get too excited just yet, however. The shame of all of this is that there is no timeframe for when the EN-V will be available to purchase.