[CES 2011] GM was demonstrating its EN-V electric vehicle (Electric-Networked electric vehicle). Although it won’t be fielded for many years or possibly a decade, this vehicle is part of a research project about the future of transportation in urban areas that will host much more population than they do today. With a single stone (or car) GM tries to solve the issues of pollution, congestion and accidents at the same time.How can they do that? First, the electric vehicle doesn’t emit CO2 and pollutants. It doesn’t completely solve the “pollution” issue (there’s the question of how much the battery disposal will pollute). Secondly, it is networked, so it can communicate with other cars, and that should help tremendously to synchronize movements and avoid accidents. Lane merges should be much more efficient (and less dangerous), and cars could drive closer to one another because they talk to each other and react immediately if there a speed change. This makes it possible to have more cars on the road, thus solving congestion.
So, how is it to ride one? GM would not let me drive it, but the ride was great. Of course, there aren’t a whole lot of bumps on the carpet of the Wynn hotel, but the car maneuverability is amazing. Because it has only two wheels (think of it as a giant Segway), it can rotate on itself, so parking is super-easy. Because it is an electric vehicle, the acceleration is sharp. The car will probably never be on the street in its current form, but it was definitely worth trying it.