24 Mar 2010, 11:11pm
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Suck in your knees, and meet the future

Electrick Networked Vehicle
Imagine puttering around on a barstool, bumping elbows with the person next to you and hugging the bumper of the car in front.

You’re in an Electric Networked Vehicle, a smart electric car that will be able to drive, brake and pack more cars into shorter stretches of road while keeping traffic moving.

General Motors will display three models at the World Expo in May.

The two-seaters, about a third the length of a regular car and made of lightweight plastic and carbon fiber, were designed by GM and sit on a power train developed by Segway.

The ENVs go just 25 mph and have a range of 25 miles, but sensors and wireless communication let them to talk to other cars and traffic systems so they can avoid tie-ups. Instead of a traffic jam crawling 5 mph, tight platoons can flow five times faster.

If you’ve seen a Segway seemingly floating along a city street or sidewalk, steered by the rider’s slight body movements, you can start to see how it might work.

You can also get a sense of what they’re thinking by checking out the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility prototype that GM and Segway showed off last year. This is another pod vehicle, more Segway than car, that has now evolved into the ENV.

This could be big … uh, I mean … you know.



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