The two-wheel, two-seater EN-V, which looks something like an oversized vacuum cleaner, is not just about making vehicles small, lightweight and emission-free, the company says.
"What we're talking about here is completely redoing the automobile," says Michael Albano, director of product and technology communications at General Motors International Operations -- its global headquarters for international business in Shanghai.
With the trunk-less EN-V, GM has jettisoned the traditional "three box" system and gasoline-fueled engine in place of a pure-electric minivehicle meant strictly for city driving. Five fit in the parking space needed for one conventional vehicle, says Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM China Group.
"GM's vision with SAIC is petroleum-free, emission-free, accident-free and congestion-free," said Wale. "We think we can do that by combining the benefits of electricity and connectivity."
By 2040, GM says, there will be 1.2 billion cars on Earth, and 60 percent of humanity will be living in cities. For megacity countries like China, the explosion in use of conventional automobiles has already turned into a nightmare of smog, jammed roadways, and nonexistent parking.