GM And Segway Unveil Their Electric 2-Seater

GM & Segaway's PUMA Electric Vehicle

Yesterday, GM and Segway unveiled an electric-powered urban vehicle called the Puma. The Puma seats two people, and is said to reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour. The vehicle can go 35 miles before needing a recharge.

Larry Burns, vice president of research and development for GM, said it would cost about 35 cents to charge the Puma’s lithium ion battery system — essentially a larger version of the power system for the Segway Personal Transporter.The Puma balances on two large wheels while driving. For safety, it employs two sets of wheels in the front and back — similar to drag-racing vehicles — to prevent it from tipping over. When it parks, it rests on the front set of wheels.

GM and Segway's Puma Electric Car

Deploying the GM OnStar navigation systems and the latest in robot-driving technology, the Puma could potentially drive by itself and even receive messages from other cars to help it avoid potholes. It could drop you off at work, find a place to park and then pick you up at the end of the day at a designated time. The Internet connectivity would allow Web surfing and all the other features offered from portable handheld devices.

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Bill Mitchell, an urban-planning guru and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the time is ripe for new types of electric vehicles that can fit into tiny parking spaces and reduce smog — whether they come from GM or some other company.

“The need is enormous,” he commented. “Cities need small, convenient electric vehicles that reduce congestion. The technology to do that exists now.”

GM isn’t talking about a price for the Puma yet or providing sales targets, but it hopes to have a new prototype ready by the fall for display to the media

Comments

  1. thomas says

    It is certainly useful and not just a fad and potentially has mass appeal if the price is right. I think many people prefer this type of vehicle to a motorbike but if it’s going to be priced liked a micro car, I say forget it and let GM fail.

  2. chris says

    Sweet post, I had no idea this was in the works…
    It seems like a good alternative. It’s not for road use with other normal cars in traffic though is it?

  3. Alex says

    I am 100% behind the idea of electric vehicles being mass-produced and being used on a large scale, but I cannot for the life of me understand why GM, a company perilously close to bankruptcy, would chose a vehicle like this to help propel it towards a future.

    Besides the incredibly limited range and speed, it looks hideously uncomfortable, dangerous (virtually no side impact protection) and very exposed to the elements both in terms of traction and no windows. i.e. you can kiss goodbye to using this when there is even a hint of ice or snow around.

    I know this is designed as a commuter vehicle, but assuming you go out of town just once every so often, you will have to own an entirely separate vehicle to do so.

    Seriously GM, come up with something good-looking, and something which is not so limited to a niche market. You have gone from huge gas-guzzlers to granny-mobiles…find some midway ground because that’s where the market is!

  4. Joe says

    Did Segway not realize what a flop this type of product is? And now it’s clear that poor investment, forethought and planning is behind GM’s bankruptcy. There’s a reason that the first Segway bombed: it’s bulky, looks dorky, is unecessarily expensive and doesn’t really solve any problems outside of sheer laziness. There’s really no need for this type of product whatsoever.

    You know what’s more efficient? Walking. Biking would also be a good option. Yes, indeed, it may be a bit more effort, but the only fuel you’ll be burning is calories and that’s just positive for everyone. Seeing as how this vehicle doesn’t appear like it will come close to street legal, all it is replacing is healthy forms of transportation and isn’t really offering a viable, efficient model. Let’s not forget that non-lazy people who actually do walk would have to share the sidewalks with these clunky behemoths. I anticipate that this will go nowhere fast and become an even bigger flop than the Segway. And hopefully that will be the last that we’ll hear from them.

  5. Gustavo says

    What is this stupid obsession with Segway and their self balancing vehicle ?

    Very clever technology, good for you, but it doesn’t do anything that a simpler ( and cheaper) four or three wheeled vehicle would do.
    It is as absurd as a self opening ball point pen. It would still write the same way a conventional pen would. If Segway offered some performance advantage over a simpler vehicle then it might justify its enormous price tag.

  6. says

    I cant believe how narrow minded you all are!! dont u understand how technology develops! first u start off prototyping a concept then implement it on a limited scale then it evolves into something sophisticated and functional way beyond what you are now seeing here! -jeeze try somthing different for a change guys! segway self balancing technology is awesome and evolving from crawling on 4 legs like a baby!
    your stuck in the past- whats around the corner is too fast for you…

  7. says

    nice! i wonder, what this segwaychair does when the power goes off, or when it hits to something/one ? the wehicle will roll over itself several times! why there are no crash tests from these eguipments? 40 mph to the wall!

  8. Max says

    The whole point of capitalism is that bad ideas and bad companies fail–that the facilities, engineers, and tools get reused by someone with more horse sense. (I think that communism really failed because state run monopolies are never allowed to fail no matter how badly they’re run.) I have absolutely no need for a geekmobile like this one, and I think it false advertising to show a woman in the passenger seat on this.

  9. Vinod says

    All of you do not recognize the need for a compact vehicle like this. Probably you people do not think about emissions, combustion, pollution, environment etc., This is an eco friendly vehicle where it does not use much of lead (for paints), it does not use much of plastic and fibre, whereas other 4 wheelers use so much plastic and lead which is environmentally hazardous. Going by the looks of this vehicle, i am sure it only uses 50% of lead when compared to that of other regular 4 wheelers. It does not use petrol, therefore it does not pollute, moreover it does not occupy more space at all thereby reducing traffic congestion. Probably you people accuse GM for this vehicle because you people sit at UK and USA and think that this type of vehicle is not needed, but think about the other Nations like Phillipines, India, Sri Lanka etc., The need of the hour in these countries are these kind of vehicles only. So i appreciate GM for launching these kind of vehicles. Keep it up GM and launch these vehicles in Developing Nations and not in Developed Nations.

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