Pre­par­ing for peo­ple who share cars

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

A PRE­DIC­TION by an ex­pert on dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies and a roll-out in China took the rise of the elec­tric ve­hi­cle a step fur­ther this week.

Thomas Bart­man, a mem­ber of the Fo­rum for Growth and In­no­va­tion, a Har­vard Busi­ness School think-tank study­ing dis­rup­tive in­no­va­tion, pub­lished his view that low-speed elec­tric ve­hi­cles like golf carts and air­port ve­hi­cles will have a far greater im­pact on the fu­ture of trans­port than the likes of Tesla or BMW. His pre­dic­tion seems to be borne out of a two-year ve­hi­cle-shar­ing pi­lot pro­gramme rolled out this week by Gen­eral Mo­tors and the Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­sity (SJTU) in Shang­hai.

The pro­gramme fea­tures 16 tiny Chevrolet EN-V 2,0 elec­tric con­cept ve­hi­cles that will be in­te­grated into the mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion sys­tem at SJTU’s Min­hang cam­pus along­side bi­cy­cles, cars and shut­tle buses. They will help meet users’ “first mile, last mile” trans­porta­tion needs.

“This pro­gramme will al­low us to un­der­stand bet­ter how peo­ple could use an ur­ban mo­bil­ity ve­hi­cle such as Chevrolet EN-V 2,0 in a real-world set­ting and in a ve­hi­cle-shar­ing ar­range­ment,” said pres­i­dent of GM China Matt Tsien. “It rep­re­sents an im­por­tant step to­ward trans­form­ing GM’s vi­sion for sus­tain­able ur­ban mo­bil­ity into re­al­ity.”

El­i­gi­ble driv­ers se­lected from among qual­i­fied fac­ulty mem­bers and grad­u­ate stu­dents at SJTU will pre­pay a set membership fee to off­set the cost of us­ing the EN-V 2,0s. This will sup­port a sim­ple and seam­less lo­cat­ing, rent­ing and driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. GM en­gi­neers and SJTU staff and stu­dents will work to­gether to col­lect and an­a­lyse data from the ve­hi­cles’ op­er­a­tion and users’ in­put, and share find­ings on us­age pat­terns and ve­hi­cle re­quire­ments.

The Chevrolet EN-V 2,0 is the next gen­er­a­tion of GM’s orig­i­nal Elec­tric Net­worked-Ve­hi­cle (EN-V), which made its global de­but at Expo 2010 in Shang­hai. It can travel up to 40 kilo­me­tres on a sin­gle charge with a top speed of 30 km/h.

The ve­hi­cle works by com­bin­ing elec­tric drive with easy-swipe card ac­cess for en­try, fees and start­ing; cam­eras for a rear view; and GPS, On­Star and tablet­based smart­phone tech­nolo­gies.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Chevrolet is pre­par­ing for a world in which young peo­ple share ve­hi­cles, rather than own them, with a ride-shar­ing pi­lot pro­gramme at a Chi­nese uni­ver­sity.

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