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GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V

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On: Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 11:41AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Prepares To Launch Chevy EN-V

I remember the sheer shock and anger I felt when one of GM's first moves after securing public bailout money in 2009 was revealing the P.U.M.A electric pod concept. I could hardly believe that GM chose to partner with Segway—not exactly a successful powerhouse in the transportation segment—for a concept after just getting billions of dollars in public funding. And the vehicle they released was so damn ridiculous that it actually made the Segway look cool.

Since that time, the GM-Segway team-up has only gotten more ridiculous, moving from a lightweight, open-air design to a big, awkward, fully enclosed pile of not-selling-many. And again I'm filled with shock and a little anger knowing that GM, still a company beholden to the American public, is moving ahead with plans of building this thing. In fact, it has given the EN-V a home in the Chevy line.

Chevy plans to launch the EN-V, which was originally debuted as a concept by GM, Segway, and Shanghai Auto at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, in large cities around the world, including the United States. The EN-V was designed as a solution to the problems posed by urban transportation where growing population, dense traffic, poor air quality, and limited space threaten to create never-ending dirty gridlock. The EN-V is about 60 inches long and weighs about 1,100 lbs., making it far easier to maneuver through tight city streets and park in crowded lots than the average car or truck.

Designed to "meet the growing demand for safe, connected, zero-emissions personal transportation," the EN-V features a lithium-ion-powered electric motor in each of its two wheels, providing up to 25 miles of range.

My problem with vehicles like this is in the time and money invested in trying to "reinvent transportation" as said by a Chevy spokesman. Remember when Segway promised to reinvent transportation and subsequently failed to do anything but provide a big, clunky punchline? Why would GM join teams with that sinking ship?

We already have plenty of solutions for clean, lightweight, zero emissions driving that seem far superior to big, goofy vehicles like the EN-V; think electric scooters, electric motorcycles and bicycles, for instance. Why do we need to develop a whole separate industry of odd vehicles with questionable value and utility, outside of helping big (publicly supported) corporations pretend they're doing something innovative? Something innovative would be to invest in companies that already build better urban mobility solutions.


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