General Motors Co. has strengthened its image as a supplier of non-polluting cars that would fit well with the crowded mega-cities of the future -- with its unveiling of a new electric concept car in China last Wednesday. The EN-V, or "Electric Networked-Vehicle" was displayed at a pavilion that it will soon share with its China joint venture partner, SAIC Motor Corp., at the World Expo from May through October in Shanghai.
How the two-seater EN-V avoids accidents and relieves traffic is that it communicates with other cars in crowded major cities like Shanghai. However, it is still at the conceptual stage. It won't arrive at showrooms within the next 10 or even 20 years. For it to be allowed in roads, it would also require regulatory changes.
The helmet-shaped EN-V serves to establish GM as a major player in cutting-edge, fuel-efficient vehicles. GM seeks to reinvent itself after having emerged from bankruptcy last July. In Shanghai, Alan Taub, GM's vice president for global research and development, told reporters that with the EN-V, the carmaker is boasting a new concept and a "reinvented vehicle experience for mega cities."
With just a single charge, the three versions of the EN-V powered by electric motors are able to run for 40 km (25 miles). The other leading carmakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor, have comparable zero-emission mobility concepts as they aim to comply with stricter fuel economy standards and a heightened consumer demand for greener models.
What's ironic is that GM's current focus on compact, low-emission vehicles is somewhat contrasting with GM's struggle to find a buyer for the Hummer brand, which is known for being a gas guzzler.