Ever since Disney bowed to guest pressure over not-acknowledging the closure of Test Track on their website and decided to toss everyone a bone by putting the world’s vaguest piece of concept art it has been mulled over by thousands of eyes. Here it is again for one more look:
Do you see what we see? Well, perhaps it’s a matter of context and knowing what you’re looking for.. and stalking the new pavilion sponsor – Chevrolet – obsessively for indicators of which way the wind is blowing internally. The important bit we’ll be discussing today is this:
That is a concept/prototype car from GM known as the EN-V being assembled in a workshop as interpreted by someone from Walt Disney Imagineering in this particular piece of art. Don’t believe us? Well here’s the real EN-V concept as it appeared in 2011:
The concept has since been re-branded internally by GM to be a Chevrolet product – much like how Test track itself is being re-branded to Chevrolet – and most recently advertised with some design tweaks as the EN-V 2.0 as of yesterday at Auto Show China 2012. It essentially got some structural redesign and some additional wheels – ones not depicted in the earlier Test Track concept art.
So why might this unassuming little egg shaped vehicle be the envy of Future World? Well, because it represents a return to futurism and futuristic concepts that once permeated Epcot and Future World. The EN-V concept has been in development for a number of years as a solution to modern urban development and personal transportation. Think of it sort of the Segway Personal Transporter, if the Segway wasn’t a silly thing people rolled around on just to be more-pretensiously-geeky-than-thou.Let’s start with the official blurb:
General Motors showed the company’s vision of the Chevrolet EN-V 2.0 concept at Auto China 2012 today. It is an evolved design of the company’s revolutionary mobility concept revealed at World Expo 2010 Shanghai.
“Our designers and engineers are exploring a range of options for turning the EN-V concept into a reality,” said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group. “The EN-V 2.0 concept would use technologies such as the mobility Internet, electrification and telematics to help change the automotive landscape and ensure a sustainable future for our industry,”
The original EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept was a centerpiece of the SAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai. The two-seat electric vehicle pioneered a new automobile DNA based on the convergence of electrification and connectivity. It was developed to show the possibilities for alleviating concerns surrounding traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability for tomorrow’s cities.
The EN-V 2.0 concept adds features that consumers demand such as in-vehicle climate control and personal storage space. In addition, it would be capable of driving in all weather and city road conditions.
GM expects to use EN-V 2.0 prototype models in pilot studies throughout China.
That sound much more like old EPCOT Center than Epcot we know today doesn’t it? And it’s true. “EN-V” in the EN-V program actually stands for Electric Networked Vehicle. Aka: “Smart Vehicles.” All those rumors of the heavy “TRON-esque” network influence and the electric glow of a million points of data.. We can tell which way the wind is blowing now.
If you want to learn more about the development of the EN-V vehicles and get a glimpse of where this all seems to be going and maybe even where GM and Chevrolet’s interests are heading, feel free to check out these videos about their vision regarding the project: