Designed at MIT and on display at the Denso booth at CES 2016 this week, the PEV is something of a thought experiment. It combines three things that research scientists Kent Larson and Michael Lin think the new generation of urban vehicles need: ability to share, an electric powertrain, and autonomous drive. As the PEV's information plaque puts it: "Taking an initial step towards autonomous cars, MIT and DENSO partnered to evaluate current technology capabilities on a persuasive electric vehicle. This vehicle is intended to give the user a glimpse into fully autonomous vehicles in urban environments."
The idea is that this vehicle looks and acts harmless. It moves through the city in bike lanes. It can help itself in a bike-sharing program by moving itself to the places where demand is highest. It can also be used to deliver things through a city. But, while all of these aspects sound nice, the truth is that the PEV is a fanciful project for now. There are no specs for battery capacity or range that anyone at the Denso booth wanted to share with us. Still, as one more way to introduce people to self-driving EVs, it's got that special something. See more in the video below that features some of the underlying tech without the special white covering.