General Motors and Segway have teamed up on Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), a two-wheeled city vehicle capable of reaching speeds up to 35 miles per hour, and going 35 miles on a single charge at a cost of 35 cents per charge.
Aside from the promise of nimble, inexpensive transportation, the press release says, “The vehicle also enables design creativity, fashion, fun and social networking.” Ah yes, social networking: the ultimate feature to distract the driver of a rotor-less personal street helicopter with two wheels and no doors.
Although the details of the vehicle’s connectedness haven’t been fully revealed, it’s been indicated that the PUMA will leverage GM’s OnStar system to relay the locations of your friends and family who happen to be tooling around town in their own PUMAs at the same time as you.
As for the vehicle itself:
“It combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway, including electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilization (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking. Those technologies integrate in Project P.U.M.A. to increase mobility freedom, while also enabling energy efficiency, zero emissions, enhanced safety, seamless connectivity and reduced congestion in cities.”
This is actually not a terrible idea for people living in cramped cities provided that the price is right and it can be driven in the winter. A rendered image shows an all-enclosed version (see below) but there’s no telling if those wheels will be able to handle snow, ice, and slush. Pricing hasn’t been revealed, either, although it’s promised to be “one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today’s automobile.”
- G.M. and Segway Build an EV Only Woz Could Love (wired.com)
- Wheels: G.M. Conjures a People-Moving Pod (wheels.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Personal Urban Mobility And Accessibility Project (ubergizmo.com)
- GM and Segway Look Ahead…To An Electric Rickshaw? (blogs.thecarconnection.com)
- GM sees an electric, 2-wheel future (money.cnn.com)
- GM and Segway create new vehicle (news.bbc.co.uk)