EN-V impresses UK’s Auto Express

The EN-V concept car that was created in a joint venture between General Motors and Segway that utilizes the latter’s ‘Smart Motion’ self-balancing technology has continued to attract headlines throughout 2010. Three concept vehicles were on display for six months at Shanghai’s World Expo which closed last month. As the year progressed media coverage became more insightful as journalists gained a deeper understanding of the benefits of dynamic stablization when applied to a small car application. Previously, these benefits were lost on some commentators – in much the same way that many reporters were ignorant of the key advantages of the PT (usually, such views are held only by people who have never experienced half an hour on a Segway PT and discovered its incredible capabilities).

There is a link to an excellent article about why a dynamically stablized city micro-car brings benefits over a four wheeled configuration in the last paragraph of our earlier News post here. Today we bring you two new photos of the EN-V in action during a test drive by UK’s Auto Express. (this article continues below photos)

General Motors sees no end to road with new mobility solutions, according to a recent article in Gulf News:

EN-V, which is short for Electric Networked-Vehicle, maintains the core principle of personal mobility — freedom — while helping remove the motor vehicle from the environmental debate. The EN-V is a two-seat electric vehicle that was designed to alleviate concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities.

“The vehicle needs to be tailored for urban applications,” Borroni-Bird said. “The main thing is connection, meaning that the vehicle operates in a network together with others to reduce congestion and accidents and to make parking easier.”

This need to tailor a vehicle for 21st century urban situations was a primary design principle for Segway engineers when they were developing the Segway PT as a revolution in personal mobility. So it is of little surprise that the defining aspect of the PT – dynamic stabilization – is now beginning to find its way into the design of future city cars.

It is interesting to consider that none of the other personal mobility solutions currently in use were designed to integrate tightly in busy urban environments. Think about that last sentence for a moment. The 19th century bicycle cannot not meet the needs of any but a small percentage (probably less than 10%) of commuters in 21st century cities. The 20th century contenders – small electric tandem-wheeled scooters and mobility scooters – are either fast, unsafe and uncomfortable, or slow, heavy and uncomfortable (primarily as a consequence of the small diameter of their wheels). Both designs are hampered by long wheelbases and poor maneuverability, making them a poor fit in pedestrian spaces.

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