General Motors has been working on a personalised all-electric vehicle for some time now. Indeed, Pocket-lint previously revealed 2 years ago that it was working with Segway on the PUMA, a two-seater car designed for urban roads.
However, while that hasn't quite materialised, there's no doubt that it has inspired the manufacturer's EN-V, a concept car range that is now fully working, and was demoed at Showstoppers during CES 2011 in Las Vegas. Segway even continued to work and supply the drive train for the new models.
EN-V stands for Electric Networked-Vehicle and, while it looks like something dreamed up for a live-action version of The Jetsons, it's very much something that the company would like to see go into mass production.
There are three EN-V models available at present, the Jiao (meaning Pride), Xiao (Laugh) and Miao (Magic) - each of which being built in association with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. And it was the red Jiao that whizzed around eager guests on the carpets of the Wynn Hotel.
Fun though it may be at present, there is an ultimate goal for EN-V, and that is to provide personal mobility for an ever-increasing population in a more compact fashion. And be nicer to the environment, to boot.
The concept even details drive-over kinetic recharge points, automated parking stations (which seize your car from the streets and deposit them stacked in a row) and such intelligent collision detection that it will be feasible to negate the need for a steering wheel at all (à la I Robot). There are also plans, wacky or no, to have heads up video conferencing and social networking functionality on the widescreen as you travel.
We're also especially keen on the fact that, instead of a key, you will be able to use your smartphone to send a unique passcode to open the hinged door.
Obviously, this will all depend on everybody buying into the EN-V concept. It will only take one eejit in a four-by-four to plow through a lane divide to render the whole project useless. And, as the space-age vehicles are only currently capable of a top speed of 25MPH, we can't see Jeremy Clarkson jumping on board any time soon, regardless of whether it can go 25 miles on a single charge.
Definitely one to watch though.
Could you imagine swapping your petrol/diesel car for an electric personal mobility vehicle? Let us know in the comments below...