• Apr 7, 2009
GM/Segway Project P.U.M.A. - Click above for a high-res gallery

You know how the oil companies are all trying to become energy companies now? The new PUMA (aka, the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project) from GM and Segway shows one way that auto companies could shift over to being transportation companies if they wanted to. At an unveiling of the enclosed Segway for two this morning in Manhattan, GM and Segway reps talked about how the PUMA represents a big evolution of the automobile. GM vice president of research and development Larry Burns said the PUMA "is about fundamentally reinventing the automobile"

Burns said that the PUMA is a descendant of the AUTOnomy skateboard platform (which gave us the Chevy Sequel) and is pretty much the anti-HUMMER. In fact, Burns called the HUMMER the "extreme overdesign in personal transport," hinting that the PUMA represents the opposite tack.

The battery-powered PUMA is wholly functional, and we're still trying to figure out if it's more or less dorky looking than a Segway. Whatever the case, we still kind of like the two- (or six-, depending on how you're counting) wheeled design and are looking forward to the fall, when the media will actually be able to test drive the little buggers and next year, when some models with body panels and stylish looks arrive -- yes, the renderings that GM showed today do look a little like a Toyota i-swing with two wheels. The PUMA is 1/6th the size of a standard cars (and half the size of a Smart Fortwo) and should be about a third or a fourth the cost of a normal vehicle to operate, including insurance, running costs, etc.

Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc. said that with two wheels, you get "unparralled" maneuverability. This thing can really turn on a dime. With a top speed of 35 mph, a 35-mile range, and the ability to recharge for 35 cents (or so GM says), there's got to be a market for city dwellers who think bikes are a good idea, but just too sweaty. For more, see GM's press release from last night.

Two videos, including one form our friends at Engadget, are available after the jump.






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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry, that is farking embarassing...GM

      Look at what Toyota had to present to the public and they didn't have a press conference...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IT7qK1hrro&NR=1
        • 5 Years Ago
        You think Toyota didn't pump the hell out of that iReal concept when it hit the show circuit? Also, try and imagine how much R&D went into that wheelchair. This is also the third Toyota Pod to be revealed. For once GM is taking the practical approach to new trends and technology, rather than their typical "We didn't do it first, so let's make it huge and outlandish in comparison." tactics.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thanks for YouTube link. I was looking for this.

        GM, take a look at this and PLEASE learn something from your competition.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really like it. It has practical application and this is the sort of "cool gadget" that is required to catch the attention of young people and the media to show that the new GM is different from the one they picture.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sea Urchin, it cost 0.5% of their annual engineering budget. It wasn't really a waste of money.

        And Pods are the very near future, believe it or not, for urban driving. Since Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan, Suzuki, etc. are all working on Pods, do you think GM should sit back and get left behind on yet another emerging market trend? That's the kind of thinking that got them light years behind the competition with Hybrid technology.
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol I don't think it costs all that much money to throw a roll cage over a segway.
        Which is essentially what this is-two seats and a roll cage put on top of a segway.
        I guess it's nice that you can have a covered segway but this thing looks less safe than a friggin' motorcycle...those metal bars are on the passengers' shoulders, lol.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This thing costs money. GM should spend every penny it has either to make viable cars that will sell for profit or they should be repaying the taxpayer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm with Sea Urchin - this is stupid. How Segway even exists outside the gates of an amusement park is beyond me. And if we all wanted cheap electric city transportation why not just buy a bunch of golf carts? At least I could get some groceries in one of those.

        If this is how GM is spending my tax dollars then I want them back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No wonder GM is going broke, under reaction then over reaction. Ford was smart, by not taking government money, they are at least in control with what the customer wants, not the tree hugging pinkos.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love how everyone is still treating this bare-bones prototype like it's the finished product. You could try actually reading the article, or at least look at the renderings of what it's going to be like.
      • 5 Years Ago
      yes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I actually think this is a psych.

      GM is saying... look, if we go along with what the government wants, you'll all be driving these ridiculous little 2-wheelers. They are trying to create fear of eco-friendlyness.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Am I the only one who thinks this would be fun as hell to go around in?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I figure that it's probably similar to driving a golf cart, except it only has 2 wheels and goes 35 instead of 10 or so.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @gusturbo...




        yes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh,

        No.

        It looks like a blast but all the 'old car guys' won't like it. Best use of Segway tech so far because the Segway itself was worthless. At least this is fairly interesting. Now if they just had a better design squad the concept wouldn't look like a plastic turnip.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Everyone is right. GM should go back to making only what's on the market right now, improving their late to the game technology that is already being left behind and becoming a past trend. Meanwhile, Toyota and Honda can develop excellent Pod cars for Japan, improving them over a few generations, and let Tokyo fill up with their models. Then bring them to North America three or four years later, so they can jump ahead of GM and take the feet out from underneath them again. At which point, you can all log on to autoblog and tell us how pathetic GM is for not seeing this oh so obvious future of personal urban mobility, and bitch and moan that they didn't properly use your tax dollars to become a viable and relevant automaker.

      Give your heads a shake. If you don't think Pod cars are going to be a regular sight on our city streets in the next decade, you've really got your heads in the sand. I'm looking up some of the old posts autoblog made about other pod cars from rival manufacturers. Not one comment so far about wasting money or resources.

      Pods
      http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z...Y-Concept.aspx
      http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z...ta-i-Unit.aspx
      http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z7437/Toyota-PM.aspx
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If this had a Hyundai logo on it, it would have been "groundbreaking" and a "pointer to GM to think outside the box".

      • 5 Years Ago
      "I am Rich",

      Maybe that should be "I was Rick" after a few more months of Obama!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Clinton is so 1992 and 93. 1999 was the era of the Republican congress (when Republicans actually acted like Republicans and not Democrat "lite", which is neither less filling or great tasting). That's why the 90's and 2002-2007 were so good, only broken up by the mini recession in 2000 (before the presidential election) and the 9/11 attacks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, how on Earth will he remain "rick" if taxes go back to Clinton-era levels. We barely made it out of 1999 alive!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don,t wonder they are broke Lets give them more money
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