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GM, Segway roll out an electric scooter built for two

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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GM Segway PUMACash-strapped General Motors Corp., which is still mulling what to do with its failing gas-guzzling Hummer Division, today showed its greener side when it unveiled Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), a compact, battery-operated two-wheeler for two that it’s developing with Segway, Inc., maker of the upright electric  lawn mower–like vehicle that debuted in 2002.

PUMA, which exists only in prototype, resembles a golf cart cut in half: it’s a two-seater that stands upright thanks to dynamic stabilization, which uses an array of angular rate sensors and accelerometers to determine the orientation and motion of the vehicle’s platform. The 300-pound (136-kilogram) vehicle runs on a lithium ion battery and can travel at speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour), with a range up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) between recharges. (The Segway Personal Transporter can travel up to 24 miles, or 38 kilometers, on a single charge.)

To raise the coolness factor, GM is promoting the PUMA as mini vehicle with a digital display mounted to the dashboard for viewing speed and battery life. The wireless display can also connect out to the Internet, providing riders with information about traffic.GM Segway PUMA

No word on when PUMA will hit stores or how much it will set you back, but Larry Burns, GM’s research and development vice president, said in a statement that the goal is to crank out a vehicle "one fourth to one third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today’s automobile."

The car giant, whose top exec Rick Wagoner got the boot on March 27 in a bid for federal monies, is also pushing to get its Chevy Volt battery-powered car on the road by November 2010, despite concerns that it will be too expensive, Bloomberg.com reports. (Some estimate the Volt won’t debut until 2011.) GM has not announced a price for the Volt, but industry analysts have estimated it will cost between $30,000 and $40,000.

GM Segway PUMA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Bob Carey for Segway Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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  1. 1. alphachapmtl 2:52 pm 04/7/2009

    Why not three wheels ?

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  2. 2. JamesDavis 3:38 pm 04/7/2009

    Really pathetic!!! Could they have made that thing anymore dangerous or ugly? And GM still can’t figure out why they are going down the tubes.

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  3. 3. AlexLove 4:03 pm 04/7/2009

    Pathetic attempt to make up for the many bad decisions GM has made. Where are the electric cars that we can actually drive in the rain, snow and cold?? The only thing this has a chance of replacing is a golf cart. Nice one GM, way to waste more $.

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  4. 4. stueysplace 9:12 pm 04/7/2009

    They might better start with replacing their engineering department. Howe about the Nano from India or the air car from Spain. Only General Motors can take a great idea like the Segway and totally screw it up. We need a one person car (scooter) that keep us dry and that we can pick up when it gets stuck in the snow.

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  5. 5. fishman 10:11 pm 04/7/2009

    This is what happens when the same people who didn’t add weight to the front end of the corvair decied to kiss O B’s posterior end (the man with no business experiance), so they (G.M.) can continue to pay a portion of their union work (farce) to do nothing. (See O B we can make a stupid ugly green thing (only for the people who do not know where the electric power comes from) so can we stay open.)

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  6. 6. mapmanic 1:02 am 04/8/2009

    Why would you pay the ridiculous amount of money this thing’s going to cost just for the "coolness" factor of having 2 wheels instead of 3 or 4? Hopefully they’ll have sense enough to have a full enclosure so you won’t get wet in the rain.

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  7. 7. platolives 3:20 am 04/8/2009

    Perhaps G.M. should call in the Flintstones to head up their R. and D. to assist in the pathetic attempts to save G.M. from eventual bankruptcy and restructure to a more reasonable model. This is pure deflection of the real problem and I resent the fact that they are now wasting tax money on a bait and switch product of no value to the future of the auto industry.

    I look to the future when G.M. is buried by their own collective history of misdirection and incompetence that has existed since the 50′s. However as an ex employee of G.M. I would like to thank them for souring me on being employed by big Kahuna.s. This resulted in a much more rewarding life in Academia.

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  8. 8. DannyLMcDaniel 2:37 pm 04/8/2009

    GM might as well manufacture bicycles because they would sell more of them than the PUMA. It is no wonder GM find itself in the mess it is in. The entire GM management team should be sacked after this fiasco.

    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

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  9. 9. rightly 3:15 pm 04/8/2009

    I predict ‘Puma tipping’ will be the next sport i the Big Apple.

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  10. 10. rwilliston 3:48 pm 04/8/2009

    I don’t know why everyone is so negative about this. This is not meant to replace the traditional car but it could eliminate many of the problems associated with them. In a major city suffering from pollution they could ban all cars from the downtown core forcing people to either use transit or vehicles like this. Despite the 35 mph top speed, you’d likely get to where your going years quicker than sitting stuck in gridlock as you are now.
    Stop thinking about how every innovation is doomed to fail because it’s not convenient for your 1 hour commute and trip to Walmart after work. Things have to and will change and vehicles like this are a step in the right direction.

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  11. 11. granitet 4:48 pm 04/8/2009

    This just shows that they have not fired enough of the senior management at GM yet.

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  12. 12. granitet 4:50 pm 04/8/2009

    This demonstrates that they have not fired enough of the upper management at GM.

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  13. 13. sent2null 12:24 am 04/9/2009

    rwillston,

    You said it all. I was wondering why there was such negative posting. This could be extremely efficient in cities.

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  14. 14. Rocketeer 11:04 am 04/9/2009

    First I would like to see the crash worthiness statistics on this. I think GM may miss a market for dissabled people who could use this rather that a "Hoveraround" scooter etc. It could provide added protection from weather with just a few mods. They should be kept off the streets and made legal only in bicycicle lanes.

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  15. 15. jimgaetani 6:59 am 06/30/2009

    Hi name jimgaetani@gmail.com Am Disable and i would like one of those
    how much are they? or Call 617=833=0788

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  16. 16. jimgaetani 7:01 am 06/30/2009

    I am Disable need one of those segway scooters
    How much are they?

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  17. 17. jimgaetani 7:28 am 07/6/2009

    jim think it is very good that we have that segwaycan i buy it

    Link to this

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