General Motors is eyeing its hometown of Detroit [as a place] to test its so-called EN-V personal mobility concept.
In a speech last week to Michigan business and civic leaders, GM North America President Mark Reuss called Detroit a "perfect" spot to test the futuristic machines.
EN-V, which stands for Electric Networked Vehicle, is GM's answer to improving transportation systems in congestion-choked cities such as Beijing. The EN-V was unveiled in 2010 at the Shanghai auto show. It is a battery-powered, enclosed two-wheeled vehicle that seats two, based on the two-wheeled Segway scooter. It reaches speeds of 25 mph and can drive itself and communicate wirelessly with other EN-Vs to avoid crashes.
In April, Chris Borroni-Bird, director of GM's EN-V program, said the automaker is exploring potential sites for a broad pilot. He mentioned military bases and senior-living communities as possibilities but did not give a time frame.
Reuss acknowledged that GM's hometown, with its abandoned buildings and declining population, has the opposite problem of the dense cities that the EN-V is meant to help.
He said the timing is right because the infrastructure for the EN-V could be installed alongside a light-rail line and a possible high-speed rail connection that has been proposed for Detroit.
Reuss made clear that GM has no firm plans to test the vehicle there. And the company would enlist corporate and government help if it proceeds.
He said: "It would take unprecedented effort with unheard-of levels of cooperation between business and government."
(Source: Automotive News)