GM has partnered with personal mobility supplier Segway to develop and build a new kind of vehicle. The lightweight 2-seat neighborhood electric car is given the acronym PUMA which stands for “Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility.” The device was unveiled Tuesday at the New York Auto Show.
It is a open-air, partially enclosed two seat vehicle that can travel up to 35 mph and travel 35 miles on a 35 cent charge. It uses a lithium-ion battery pack includes two-wheel balancing technology, 360 spinning, vehicle to vehicle communications for autonomous driving and is meant as an emissions-free solution to dense congested urban driving.
“Project P.U.M.A. represents a unique solution to moving about and interacting in cities, where more than half of the world’s people live,” said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research and development, and strategic planning. “Imagine small, nimble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them. Now, connect those vehicles in an Internet-like web and you can greatly enhance the ability of people to move through cities, find places to park and connect to their social and business networks.”
GM hopes to make these vehicles available by 2012 and although pricing isn’t announced, it is expected the vehicle’s operating cost will be 1/3 to 1/4 that of a traditional vehicle.