Good news, everyone!
April 7, 2009 6:24 PM   Subscribe

General Motors Corp. and Segway announced a new vehicle prototype today "that could change the way we move around in cities." Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) is an electrically powered, two-seat vehicle with two wheels. Photo gallery. Video 1, Video 2, Video 3.
posted by stbalbach (110 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
All the style of segway combined with the glitz of a wheelchair.

That'll save 'em.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


"change the way we move"? Heck, I hear they're going to build cities around it!


huh?


posted by leotrotsky at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Four wheels good, two wheels bad.

Call me old-fashioned.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:28 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, sign me right up. Let me just put fucking casts on my legs before I get in to save time.
posted by autodidact at 6:29 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


maybe this is what they had in mind with the downsizing
posted by nervousfritz at 6:29 PM on April 7, 2009


It looks kinda like a shoe, they are so getting sued by a certain running shoe company.
posted by sammyo at 6:30 PM on April 7, 2009


The face of desperation is not pretty. And it has crappy range too.
posted by bpm140 at 6:32 PM on April 7, 2009


You laugh now, but wait until you see the military version.
posted by swift at 6:33 PM on April 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Double the douchebags, half the airbags!
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:33 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dean Dean Dean, man, get back to work on getting the damn Slingshot into production, less of this nonsense.

And it gets up on two wheels, as far as I can tell, for no other reason than to prove it can.
posted by adipocere at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to scoff, but this kinda makes sense. Parking in the city sucks.

But on the other hand, where do you put the groceries? I mean, that's what you'd use it for, tooling around the city to get groceries. But there's no backseat or trunk.
posted by orthogonality at 6:34 PM on April 7, 2009


Four wheels good, two wheels bad.
Call me old-fashioned.
posted by twoleftfeet


Surprising.
posted by gman at 6:35 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the morbidly obese. The perfect people mover for modern America.

The future is bright.
posted by mattoxic at 6:35 PM on April 7, 2009


two words:

Harley or Vespa
posted by HuronBob at 6:36 PM on April 7, 2009


April Fools!
posted by billysumday at 6:38 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kevin K. at Rump Roast finds a spokesperson.
posted by maudlin at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2009


two words:

Harley or Vespa


Yeah well when the Segway came out, a bunch of naysayers wondered how it was really any different than a simple scooter. And now look! The scoffers have been silenced!

Not by any success of the Segway, just by apathy.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Like all of these sort of things, it looks cool and I want one. Shame it's just going to be a poxy PR exercise, and I'll never ever see one in real life.

(also, I'd put my groceries in the passenger seat - but that's because I'm the target market and don't have a spawn-swarm to feed and transport)
posted by pompomtom at 6:41 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not to be outdone, Ford plans on bringing back the Mercury C.O.U.G.A.R. which will be repositioned towards hot older women and younger men who love them.
posted by bpm140 at 6:43 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Serious question: doesn't a vehicle like this use a lot of energy, and therefore battery life, doing it's cool balancing-on-two wheels routine? I know the segway has the fuzzy logic thing to help it balance, but does that really translate to efficiency at this scale of vehicle?

Or, what twoleftfeet said.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:44 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we all agree to let GM fail now?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:44 PM on April 7, 2009


Henry Ford in his grave likes the idea of an electric post-chaise. The old, hyper-nostalgic Ford in his dying years, that is, not the innovative industrialist.

BMW tried a version of this with their C1s, scooters with a big windshield, a roof and a seatbelt. It was the same idea; get people who like the "not getting wet in the rain" aspect of car travel, and sell them a motorbike. Lots of places wouldn't let riders ride them without a motorcycle helmet, which rather defeated the purpose and made them more dangerous in a crash instead of less, and BMW canned the concept.

I wonder if Segway has been talking to Governments in their target market about helmet, seatbelt and vehicle licencing/rego regulations? If not, they're about to be surprised in the nastiest ways. I mean, more so.

Of course the real reason the C1s didn't do well is because you can't easily pull off a half-motorbike half-car without creating a really f&*king ugly Frankenstein's-monster of a vehicle, and this thing looks like a prime candidate. If you don't want a car, and you can't ride a motorbike, but you still want to wear normal clothes to a dry workplace, you ride the bus.

On preview:

Harley or Vespa

Precisely. I have a single-cylinder 400cc Yamaha and it's got better fuel efficiency than a Prius.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone see any advantage to two parallel wheels? A much simpler idea would be electric motor bikes with role cage & enclosure for safety & temperature control.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I prefer the motorized barstool
posted by ornate insect at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The beginning of the end.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2009


electric motor bikes with role cage

I'm not sure mixing BDSM and driving at highway speeds works that well, but to each their own.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:51 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like my Pumas as Brazilian Porsche rip-offs made of fiberglass, thank you very much.
posted by qvantamon at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2009


Worst idea, made by terrible company.
posted by boo_radley at 6:53 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You haven't lived until you've seen a police officer in shorts on a Segaway successfully chase down a drug dealer.

Of course, the drug dealer was too high to realize if he'd simply runup some stairs, he'd have gotten away.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


ha, NPR is talking about this right now. They say that GM realizes they're too small for roads, and too fast or dangerous for sidewalks. GM expects that cities will build the infrastructure to make these viable. My city doesn't even have the money for sewage line maintenance, GM. What the fuck are you thinking?
posted by boo_radley at 6:56 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Anything to prevent the horror of people actually fucking walking.
posted by sarcasman at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


Been there.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:59 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


BMW tried a version of this with their C1s, scooters with a big windshield, a roof and a seatbelt. It was the same idea; get people who like the "not getting wet in the rain" aspect of car travel, and sell them a motorbike.

Looking at pictures it doesn't really seem like it would keep you very dry in the rain.
posted by delmoi at 7:10 PM on April 7, 2009


Yeah, you laugh now, but wait until "MeFi's own asavage" starts using it in every single show.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:12 PM on April 7, 2009


The vehicle also enables design creativity, fashion, fun and social networking.

Your tax dollars at work.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2009


You know, I hate to say this - but I own a car because I have a 45 mile commute on the freeway. Even thanks to mass transit, I still live 10 miles from my closest park and ride lot, and there is no bus that runs from where I am to it.

This would be wonderful, if say, you lived in a city which was not designed and populated after the car - somewhere in Europe for example, or Manhattan - but all of those cities have at least half way decent public transportation anyway.

So what exactly is the point of this other than a PR move by a flailing dying beast of a past time?

When my 15 year old Toyota 4 door gets better mpg than most new cars your company makes, there is a PROBLEM. And its not your cars.
posted by strixus at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Toyota IReal is a broadly similar idea- a oneseater, no roof, but it goes pretty fast. Looks really unsafe, at least when Richard Hammond is driving.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Something about the design of the steering bar makes me think: "who's pushing that stroller?"
posted by The White Hat at 7:21 PM on April 7, 2009


electric motor bikes with role cage & enclosure for safety

I want a giant motorized hamster ball. Yes! Yes! I do want that.
posted by XMLicious at 7:29 PM on April 7, 2009


This looks like exactly what I need to get from my house to the car.
posted by mazola at 7:30 PM on April 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


I hope that it has an ejection seat. . . . Just in case the driver exercises poor judgement, a profound lack of skill and is oblivious of their perilous situation until it is too late, they can just conveniently hit a button to bail out - and avoid the otherwise imminent catastrophe.
A golden parachute option would be nice as well.
posted by isopraxis at 7:32 PM on April 7, 2009


I want an f'ing jet pack When do we finally get jet packs?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:46 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This looks like the slick ride of the fucking dork patrol.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:47 PM on April 7, 2009


I think I saw this in Wall*E. The results were not pretty.
posted by squasha at 7:48 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


No sense in doing things half-assed, GM. Go down in flames all-assed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Goodbye, GM.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:49 PM on April 7, 2009


The all-ass jet pack. Runs on beans.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:52 PM on April 7, 2009


Looks vaguely like the city car at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, which I went to last summer. I thought those MIT dudes were working with GM or other major automakers as well. More here. Something of this ilk, with many consumer-friendly improvements and far far better and sleeker design, is probably inevitable.
posted by raysmj at 7:54 PM on April 7, 2009


If you want a vision of GM's future, imagine a toilet flushing dollars - forever.

With apologies to Orwell
posted by unSane at 7:55 PM on April 7, 2009


It's an R&D concept. It's hardly going to make or break GM either way. They'll go into bankruptcy and emerge as something smaller, and stupid things like this will disappear somewhere in that process.
posted by wildcrdj at 7:56 PM on April 7, 2009


Just fucking get a bike already, people. Maybe if enough people start doing so there'll be a trend to more bike lanes and sidewalks. Or is that too European?
posted by flatluigi at 7:56 PM on April 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd actually like one of these. I've got a commute that's maybe fifteen minutes by car, or an hour walk. In the summer, my city gets up to 110 degrees for months at a time with intermittent apocalyptic thunderstorms; biking or motorcycling doesn't make sense. And taking the bus takes longer than walking.

A car seems like a waste, really. And if this thing was cheap, and ran on that little power, it would do for about 90% of my driving needs. And I could rent a car or a truck for the rest.

That being said... they look exactly like the Doom Buggies from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. What the hell was GM thinking?
posted by MrVisible at 7:58 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, GM provided the bulk of support and resources for the MIT City Car project, according to Wikipedia.
posted by raysmj at 7:58 PM on April 7, 2009


Precisely. I have a single-cylinder 400cc Yamaha and it's got better fuel efficiency than a Prius.

Yep. I had a 1984 Nissan/Datsun ( it had both names on the car) back in the eighties that got 46 miles to the gallon.
posted by bradth27 at 7:59 PM on April 7, 2009


Technically, it has five wheels. Two wheel FAIL.
posted by jester69 at 8:00 PM on April 7, 2009


Yeah, bradth27, that always puzzled me too. My VW Rabbit got about 45 to the gallon, and we're supposed to be impressed at fuel efficiency in the thirty MPG range? They made first-generation Rabbits in Mexico up until a few years ago; if I'm not mistaken, they still make them in South Africa. Why not bring those back?
posted by MrVisible at 8:03 PM on April 7, 2009


I hope that it has an ejection seat. . . . Just in case the driver exercises poor judgement

Clearly nobody who would buy one of these would have poor judgement.
posted by aubilenon at 8:06 PM on April 7, 2009


It's the end of rickshaws as we know them.

.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:11 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


MrVisible,

Because they're death traps! We would all kill ourselves instantly! My God, those cars are just metal boxes with an engine strapped on! Yeah, they made the rabbits and the beetles up until a few years ago in Mexico - I had a friend who snuck a new beetle in and registered it as an older vehicle. That car was sweet.

Hell, my 2007 cube-shaped mini-van, loaded down with the wife and kids, bags, tents, and all our camping gear still gets 28 miles to the gallon on the highway. Why should I be impressed that the new small cars get 2 or 3 more miles more to the gallon?

Something is seriously screwed up somewhere.
posted by bradth27 at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


As good a time as any to link to this Ted Talk from 2002 with a compelling argument for the Segway. Kind of makes you wonder why it wasn't an astounding success.
posted by quadog at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2009


I look forward to a shining future in which we are all utterly inert.
posted by killdevil at 8:16 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Where Segways are solitary, PUMAs are social! Segways are limited to 12.5 miles per hour, the PUMA can go more normal street speeds!

Yeah, they look silly, but I'm all for (safe) alternatives to traditional cars. Overweight people are now driving around in cars, but now they can drive around in smaller vehicles. Heck, the majority of people (in the US) travel alone. If some travel in smaller vehicles, I don't think these are that dumb anymore.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


My VW Rabbit got about 45 to the gallon, and we're supposed to be impressed at fuel efficiency in the thirty MPG range? They made first-generation Rabbits in Mexico up until a few years ago; if I'm not mistaken, they still make them in South Africa.

Emissions. Safety (Primary and secondary). Comfort. Sound deadening (mainly the first two). Read up on this, as this is a viewpoint seriously lacking in knowledge, and oft trotted out in almost every single 'new car to break barriers' thread. Those cars are not at all in the same league as the ones being produced today and you are not comparing models within anything like equal parameters.
posted by Brockles at 8:27 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would want one of these if it were sheltered on the sides. As it is, it would be of limited usefulness, because it would not protect me from snow, wind, and the taunts and projectiles hurled by passerby. I get plenty of that on my bike already.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:38 PM on April 7, 2009


An important safety feature of the Segway is the upright position of the rider. This not only allows the rider to see over pedestrians, but it allows the rider to be seen by automobile drivers. The highest point on this ridiculous toy is lower than the hood of any SUV, instantly making it the most dangerous place to be in a mixed-vehicle environment (other than in a Yugo, the success of which will dwarf this thing).
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:38 PM on April 7, 2009


One would think that anybody who designs vehicles for a living would know that whatever the problem they're tackling, Big Daddy Roth already solved it. Compact, low cost personal transportation? Done, and done. Need to know what the two wheeled bubble car of the future is supposed to look like? Here ya go.

If the Roth stuff is too wacky, there's always the Isetta to take notes from.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:48 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You laugh now, but wait until you see the military version.

Look no further than the interwar years, swift.

Isn't it cute?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2009


why not replace all the silly crap out there with circus bumper cars? collisions would become fun, road rage replaced with grins, high-fives and shouts of "hit me again!"
posted by kitchenrat at 9:00 PM on April 7, 2009


1967 VW Beetle: 840 kg (1852 lb)
1998 VW New Beetle: 1230 kg (2712 lb)

1974-84 VW Golf/Rabbit Mk. 1: 790 kg (1741.7 lb)
2003-09 VW Golf/Rabbit Mk. V: 1,393 kg (3,138 lbs)
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:02 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been really excited by this, but it looks like the company has folded before the wheels went into release. Eventually some other entrepreneur will pick up the torch (??)
posted by zardoz at 9:22 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Serious question: doesn't a vehicle like this use a lot of energy, and therefore battery life, doing it's cool balancing-on-two wheels routine? I know the segway has the fuzzy logic thing to help it balance, but does that really translate to efficiency at this scale of vehicle?

I don't have an answer, but that's exactly the question I thought of. For the Segway, too; that constant balancing must cost something in battery life.
posted by zardoz at 9:46 PM on April 7, 2009


It's already become a photoshop target.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:48 PM on April 7, 2009


Yeah, well "not getting wet in the rain" is something I still want badly, even after a few thousand miles on my scooter. Seems like a great idea. Oh, and being able to ride on snow- and ice-covered roads without constantly adjusting one's speed and steering to keep from going sideways or dumping.

Take this Segway hack, completely enclose the rider, bump the range to 50+ miles and top speed to 50 mph, ensure the smart logic can deal with a thin layer of snow, and it sounds like a decent vehicle for extended metro areas.

Or come from the other direction. Take a Smart car and double+ boost its lame 33/41 MPG by installing hybrid technology. Already sells to the public and even kinda looks like a real car.
posted by mdevore at 9:50 PM on April 7, 2009


P.U.M.A. = Practical Uses My Ass.
posted by markkraft at 11:08 PM on April 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Its not just infrastructure, it's legacy hardware, the same reason tiny cars never take off in America.

Like everyone in the country, I would buy a 30lb car made from cardboard if it was cheap and saved fuel.... but only if, on the same day, you get all the 1200lb competitors off the road so they won't crush me.
posted by rokusan at 11:16 PM on April 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know the Wall-E crack's been made upthread, but man, I just want to yell "It's time for lunch... in a cup!" every time I see that picture.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:55 PM on April 7, 2009


you get all the 1200lb competitors off the road so they won't crush me.

Aw man I wish cars were that light... I drive a 2200 lb car and I'm frightened of other cars.
posted by spiderskull at 12:07 AM on April 8, 2009


you get all the 1200lb competitors off the road so they won't crush me.
Aw man I wish cars were that light...


I knew I should have checked instead of guessing. :)
posted by rokusan at 12:10 AM on April 8, 2009


Precisely. I have a single-cylinder 400cc Yamaha and it's got better fuel efficiency than a Prius.

Which is fine, unless fuel costs aren't what you're concerned about. Which is why I like GM's idea here, of course we have a long way to go until there is a true zero emissions electric vehicle and it's probably too little too late for that floundering grass carp of a car company, but still. I could use something like this to get to and from work.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:14 AM on April 8, 2009


I wonder what happens when the engine stalls. You get some friends to try to push it, and it then falls flat on its face?
posted by DreamerFi at 12:42 AM on April 8, 2009


I wonder what happens when the engine stalls. You get some friends to try to push it, and it then falls flat on its face?

Hook it up to another PUMA and get rollin'.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 AM on April 8, 2009


The two-wheel schtick is just unnecessarily complicated tech and unnecessarily costly. Give it four wheels, as others have said in this thread, and it'd be fine.

Of course, then it'd be a golf cart.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Our state allows NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) such as golf carts to be driven on any city street that is posted less than (I believe) 40 mph limit. Which means I could use a golf cart to get around my own neighborhood, but I couldn't drive it all the way to work, because those roads are 45 mph, sadly.
posted by darkstar at 1:17 AM on April 8, 2009


This page has a brief discussion of NEVs in the town of Surprise, AZ, listing what NEVs are and the pertinent Arizona law.
posted by darkstar at 1:23 AM on April 8, 2009


Put a baby stroller on the front and moms will finally get to really mow down pedestrians like you know they want to when they smack their hand propelled strollers into your ankles. "Out of the fucking way! I've got a baby I'VE GOT A FUCKING BABY AND YOU ARE IN MY WAY!!"

Throw in a loading ramp attachment for SUVs and minivans and you have a domestic first armored mom division ready to Shock and Aw isn't he/she Cute the local Walmart when they have a sale on diapers.
posted by srboisvert at 2:13 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


As good a time as any to link to this Ted Talk from 2002 with a compelling argument for the Segway. Kind of makes you wonder why it wasn't an astounding success.

Segway: several thousand dollars

Percent of US population willing to buy Segway instead of existing alternatives that are a tenth the cost or less: tiny
posted by zippy at 3:02 AM on April 8, 2009


I'd get one of these if it had a set of helicopter rotors installed in it. That way, when I'm in a hurry and stuck in traffic I could engage Chopper Mode and take off into the sky. I'd wave at all the suckers beneath me and shout "NEXT TIME, GADGET!" before hurling my cat (who is also a bomb) at my pursuer, who would make some sort of quip about it raining cats and dogs and then extend his bionic legs or his own head-mounted chopper blades and continue the chase. Of course, he would become tangled in some powerlines or a clothesline or something and I would be free to get away until his neice tracks me down with the help of her Kindle 2000 and her damn dog.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:17 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


umm, it has 8 wheels
posted by fistynuts at 4:54 AM on April 8, 2009


or may be 6
posted by fistynuts at 4:57 AM on April 8, 2009


Honestly, I'm not sure what niche this thing fills in between a car and a bike. That thing doesn't look like it'll fit that much more than you could carry on a bike outfitted with a rack, plus it has a super limited range. People could save themselves a few grand, plop down a few hundred on a bike, get around at least as fast and probably faster (sure the top speed is 35mph but it's fully dependent on traffic, unlike a bicycle), and get exercise all the while.

Instead of ridiculous shenanigans like this, maybe GM should focus on improving the efficiency and environmental impact of the products it makes that actually fill a need in society: its cars and trucks (how about a pickup that gets better than 20mpg??).
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but a Segway (no matter what you call it) says "Dork!" the same way a baseball cap worn indoors says "Bald Guy!"
posted by tommasz at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2009


General Motors Corp. and Segway...

Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by rhymer at 6:54 AM on April 8, 2009


Perhaps I'm just a luddite, but I don't get the need or appeal of drive-by-wire systems for something like this. I certainly understand them for things like multi-engine jet aircraft where mechanical linkages and hydraulics make things even more complex. But for something like this, a basic fork or rack-and-pinion system is cheap, low-maintenance, and can keep working even with low batteries or blown fuses.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:56 AM on April 8, 2009


boo_radley: ha, NPR is talking about this right now. They say that GM realizes they're too small for roads, and too fast or dangerous for sidewalks. GM expects that cities will build the infrastructure to make these viable. My city doesn't even have the money for sewage line maintenance, GM. What the fuck are you thinking?

Oh, I don't think that GM is really expecting cities to build specifically for these things. However, as more and more cities are explicitly adopting new urbanist downtown plans and considering no-drive zones and days in core areas, there is are growing niches for small, zero-emissions, short-range vehicles.

Reading the press release, I see the key words are "prototype" and "demonstration." There is not a whisper of production, which means that this whole thing, like most other concept cars, is just a publicity stunt. The goal here is to have something they can trot around to shows as a demonstration that they are a "forward thinking," and "innovative" company that should be saved based on the myth that the next revolution in transportation policy will come from the auto companies.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:05 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


GM expects that cities will build the infrastructure to make these viable.

This thought process worked though, back when GM took over rail-based public transit systems in the 1940s, only to dismantle them to sell bus systems on ever-expanding, public-funded road systems.

Do we have the money this time around? Probably not, but aside from that, doing things the old way only highlights why GM is in so much trouble.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:20 AM on April 8, 2009


I really hope they get to use this in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2"!
posted by orme at 7:51 AM on April 8, 2009


You people...

"Just fucking walk" or "get a bicycle" doesn't work where it's hilly, where you're talking about a multi-mile commute, where public transit sucks, when it's raining, when you're 82 and arthritic, and so on. These things should be blatantly goddamned obvious.

But no, out come the fat jokes, because the invention of the wheel is the obvious cause of today's obesity epidemic.

Obviously it would be morally wrong for people to drive small, zero-emissions electric vehicles when their other alternative is to burn hydrocarbons to move around a ton or two of steel instead.
posted by Foosnark at 8:05 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this'll work. :-/
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2009


And while we're at it... I was in Philly this weekend and they still have trolley cars in places. I like trolleys. Remind me again why we stopped using them?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:08 AM on April 8, 2009


"Just fucking walk" or "get a bicycle" doesn't work where it's hilly, where you're talking about a multi-mile commute, where public transit sucks, when it's raining, when you're 82 and arthritic, and so on. These things should be blatantly goddamned obvious.

Err...yes it does and no they're not.

Walking up hills really isn't much harder than walking on the flat. Cycling up hills is, but that's why bikes have those gear things. Anything under three miles is walkable. Anything under ten you can cycle. And it's quite possible to cycle or walk in virtually any weather. I regularly take my two year old to her nursery on the back of a bike in the rain (we both wear our extra-slim waterproofs). So please, stop looking for cry-eye excuses.

The poor public transport and the granny with arthritis you can have though. They can drive in these weird hyrid things.
posted by rhymer at 8:25 AM on April 8, 2009


It's GM's Sinclair C5!
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


GM realizes they're ... too fast or dangerous for sidewalks.

Howcum most of the photos show the damn thing in pedestrian areas or bike lanes?
posted by sixpack at 8:49 AM on April 8, 2009


the picture of the more advanced concept drawing from 2nd link is entirely enclosed, and actually looks quite spiffy.

just below that there is this wonderfully poor choice of words:

"We know you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve been hearing some of them from the great people we’ve run in to in New York over the past couple of days filming some of the video you saw above. Good news is we have some answers for you."

I imagine my first question would be "Who are you, and what the hell did you just run into me with?"

Damn well better have some answers.
posted by ScotchRox at 8:49 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder : There is not a whisper of production, which means that this whole thing, like most other concept cars, is just a publicity stunt.

Exactly, and even then, they are doing it wrong. Ok so you can take a Segway and blow it up to golf cart size, big deal.

You want to impress? Give me an existing car, where the rear tires disengage, push forward and put the entire vehicle on to two wheels for parking. That's an engineering feat worth showing off.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on April 8, 2009


re-re-inventing the way people get hit by cars.
posted by sanko at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You laugh now, but wait until you see the military version.

Like this?
posted by Sandor Clegane at 9:11 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You people are crazy. If we didn't have the Segway, how would GOB get around?
posted by nushustu at 9:40 AM on April 8, 2009


NYC has been a black eye for Segway - it's illegal - if it can't make it there, can it make it anywhere? So this street version of the Segway is a possible solution. They rolled it out in NYC is significant. And it makes sense. Sidewalks should not share with motorized vehicles in conjested areas. Streets are for motorized. The only problem is lack of safety, no bumpers or airbags or anything, even a low speed fender bender could be lethal.
posted by stbalbach at 12:01 PM on April 8, 2009


It could allow people to travel around cities more quickly, safely, quietly and cleanly - and at a lower total cost. The vehicle also enables design creativity, fashion, fun and social networking.

like.... a moped? a motorbike? are they joking?

Is this the best GM can come up with in its death throes... THIS!?!?!?! These make Mr. Garrisons monowheel look like a mercedes benz.

Please GM, stop. Put down your pencils, lock the doors, and go home.
posted by ryanfou at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2009


Ginger, is that you?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2009


I saw one of those Segway wheelchairs doing it's two-wheel balancing thing the other day - now that was really cool.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on April 9, 2009


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