GM Shows Why It Shouldn’t Get Bailout - Wrong 2 Wheel Thinking

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Detroit, it seems, has finally caught up with the realization that urban planning can be quickly and radically altered thanks to the myriad advantages of a two-wheeled transportation system.

Unfortunately, GM has backed the wrong horse and has displayed the cutting-edge decision making processes that lead to the Hummer as a commercially available vehicle.

The new Segway-partnered transporter called the P.U.M.A, which is short for Please Underwrite My Autos, Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (and is an acronym that’s not even grammatically correct) and seats two, incredibly environmentally sensitive people.

Not as environmentally sensitive as if they had walked or ridden their bikes the model shown to the press seems to lack any sort of onboard storage for things like groceries, office supplies, shopping bags or any of the things you might want a vehicle for.

Certainly revamping a city to fit a culture based around these Jetson-shaped vehicles would make it more efficient than basing it around larger autos, but maybe GM could have taken their considerable research and development prowess, gained while developing the soon-to-be-doomed Volt and put it into things like electric-assist bikes.

In any case, this is almost a moot point as the PUMA won’t hit the streets without some sort of infrastructure in place, as we’re guessing that most municipalities here in the States won’t let devices less protected from crashes than your average golf-cart ride in the vehicular lanes, and the existing bike/ped facilities aren’t sophisticated enough to support bikes and pedestrians efficiently, let alone Blade Runner style scooters.

Still, it’s good to know that GM’s not going to waste any of the billions of taxpayer dollars it’s likely to get on things as frivolous as improving the efficiency of the internal combustion engine or making an electric-powered car that’s viable in today’s market.



8 Comments

Anyone else see the similarities to Wall-E and the slovenly obese people of the future? At least, GM should’ve do a press event with cup holders in that. Imagine if GM would take their engineer talent base and all that they’ve learned about batteries and applied that to a human-hybrid vehicle, like say a electric bike. The opening line from the AP says is best

> A solution to the world’s urban transportation problems could lie in two wheels not four, according to executives for General Motors Corp. and Segway Inc.

No shit! What planet at these guys from? Planet Auto. That prototype has six wheels.

Wow you are ridiculously short sighted.  There is more than one path to improved transportation!  First off this is a prototype, the real thing if built will be fully rain proof and have storage for groceries and other goodies.  This also easily allows transportation for two people.

I ride my bike all the time and my wife rides a lot as well, but when it’s rainy in Seattle neither of us want to hop on our bikes for the 2 mile ride to Ballard for dinner.  Too much gear to stay dry and too much hassle.  A device like this fills a very real need for many people.

Bikes are great, but they aren’t the only solution to transportation.  We need people working on other methods to eliminate the need for cars in American cities and this looks like a great option.  If they can keep the price down in the $3000 to $4000 range there will be many more people that can go car free.

Why are you attacking people that are trying to eliminate reliance on carbon fuels and large heavy cars?  Is the only valid option in your mind a bike?

We get alt-transport here all for it, the point is that this is just a ludicrous press event from GM—it’s f’ing Wall-E for one, then the vehicle actually has 6 wheels. If anything, just go back to Segway’s original dream of a world of these. Dean Kamen said all these same exact things when he launched Segway. Deja Vu all over again with bonus irony for saying the world needs 2 wheel vehicles!

Strip off the Segway and GM name from this for a moment.  Do you have any issues with a tiny two passenger, weatherproof electric vehicle with a 35 MPH top speed and 35 mile range?

Beyond attacks at GM and Segway the only negative point I’ve seen made is that it isn’t human powered.  Do you not see a need for non-human powered urban transportation solutions?

>>Wow you are ridiculously short sighted<<

Wow, you are ridiculously without a sense of humor or sarcasm.

Look, I think the world needs fewer cars, regardless of how it’s done. I think that the world needs more affordable transport systems.

I also think that GM is hemorrhaging billions and billions of dollars and their solution to show that they’ve restructured and renovated their thinking is the Volt, which everyone says isn’t really feasible or likely to succeed, and a go-cart based on a Segway, which should have been made by Segway.

This, in short, may be a solution to urban planning issues, it’s not a solution to prove the sustained viability of GM.

this is a Dumb Idea.  This particular Dumb Idea is very likely to Fail Catastrophically, if you ask me.

Electrically assisted bicycles are probably a better choice for those wanting a alternative to driving automobiles everywhere less taxing than bicycling and more pleasant than public transit.  If nothing else, they’re much more customizable and versatile and all around useful.

Living in Michigan, my wife and I found it horribly embarrassing to see this latest GM fiasco.  It reeks of sad desperation.

we’re guessing that most municipalities here in the States won’t let devices less protected from crashes than your average golf-cart ride in the vehicular lanes

Bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades excepted, of course.

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