CES and Detroit 2012 Motor Show: new EN-V, Spnkix electric roller skates and “million dollar Segway PT”

General Motors has unveiled its 2nd generation EN-V concept at the Detroit 2012 Motor Show. This new shell – built on top of a drivetrain developed at Segway, Inc.’s Bedford, NH factory –  features air conditioning and storage space absent from earlier concepts (and the Segway P.U.M.A prototype on which the EN-V was first based).

In a recent post we said: “Prepare to be astounded, and watch this 3 minute video of three real EN-V prototypes in action plus animation of what more can be done (all with technology that already exists today).” Search our archives for our other coverage on the EN-V and P.U.M.A. (as well as other Segway Advanced Technology initiatives).

At Detroit this year it was interesting to observe is that the motoring press now understands the intrinsic benefits of two-wheeled self-balancing transport are all about. For an industry welded to four wheels for more than a century, this is a milestone. For example:

When TheChargingPoint.com had a go in General Motors’ amazing little EN-V last year, we initially thought it had the fairy-dust sheen of a pure concept – brilliantly thought-provoking, a great opportunity for young engineers to strut their stuff and a demonstration that ol’ man GM is getting down with the EV zeitgeist.

[A]fter a drive around a huge exhibition hall, we thought, hang on, this is actually rather smart….[H]ere’s the bit where the story goes all Buck Rogers: GM envisions the city of the future where EN-Vs operate autonomously, where the operator simply enters an address much as you would in a conventional sat-nav, and the vehicle takes you to the destination whilst you sit back and read the paper. The concept extends to V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication, which means the cars would never collide, traffic flow could be much better managed in real time and cars could even travel in tightly spaced convoys, known as ‘platooning’.

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A gold plated Segway PT purported to be worth a million dollars was spied cruising the floor at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. Also featured at CES was the Solowheel, which you can buy from Segway New Zealand today ($3,595).

Another personal transportation product on show was the Spnkix (or “spin kicks”) – electric roller skates controlled by hand-held remotes. If rings on your fingers and bells on your toes ain’t enough, let us know if you’re a little bit interested in being first in NZ to have a pair of these.

Here’s some great coverage of the Spnkix by BBC (includes video of device in use and an interview with the inventor).

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