GM has paired up with Segway to develop and market a new vehicle, which GM is calling the vehicle of the future. The new vehicle, named the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project (P.U.M.A. for short), balances on two wheels, much like the Segway.
What's different is its speed and range. Whereas the Segway could only go 12 MPH -- suitable for mall officer cruising speeds, but not for the roads -- the P.U.M.A. can do 35 MPH. It also has an extended range, which bumps its range up to a commute-worthy 35 miles.
The vehicle could indeed make a splash on city roads, where speed limits would make a 35 MPH vehicle practical. This side-by-side two wheeler could potentially steal business from tradition two wheelers -- which have one wheel in front of the other -- like mopeds.
The new machine is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. GM should be able to bring some of its engineering experience from designing the Chevy Volt to extending the range of the vehicle and cutting the weight of the pack.
Another key feature of the vehicle is its ability to communicate information to its fellow P.U.M.A.'s and potentially other vehicles around it. This feature can be used to reduce traffic congestion and to prevent accidents. This should help to slightly reduce the risk of blazing down city streets doing 35 MPH with the new vehicle.
Cost is still being worked out, but early estimates point to a cost of somewhere around $3,500-5,500 USD, about a quarter of that of a traditional automobile. The P.U.M.A. will be officially unveiled to the world this week at the New York Auto Show.