GM Announces Electric Car Of The Future
Electric Car Of The Future
Laugh all you want but this is no joke. The article linked is about batteries for cars.
Anyway, this battery issue -- and many like it -- hasn't stopped GM from announcing yet another Car Of The Future. Only this time they've partnered themselves up with Segway.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

The interesting thing here [is] its vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Not only does the P.U.M.A. talk to other units, but it can detect the presence of other types of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists; using that info to avoid collisions. It can also join together with other P.U.M.A.s to form high-speed (if you can call 35 MPH high speed) cross-city trains capable of using special lanes for uninterrupted travel.
So, the only thing that makes this more useful than a bicycle is predicated on (a) massive consumer adoption of the things and (b) ubiquitous specialized urban infrastructure? That's clever.

I guess now that GM's effectively owned by the federal government we should get used to ideas like this.

I can just see this car gliding down Chicago's Michigan Avenue in 20 below weather with a 40 mph breeze blowing. And some people wonder why GM is in trouble. It is not just the unions. Of course with Congress now running Government Motors I expect a lot more ideas like this of equal or greater brilliance. Look for solar cells that can collect dark energy and wind turbines that can generate power on windless days. Of course the Congress is equally good with economics. We are so fortunate to live in such a country.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 04.09.09 at 10:02 AM


Well if it didn't look so stupid this technology - if it's made more general and able to be fitted to all cars - is really pretty far along towards a more "robotic car" type of public transportation. This would eliminate polluting and expensive and noisy mass transit, increase safety (since a computer can react faster than a human) and give people in cities a lot more freedom.

Here is a pretty interesting link on how bad mass transit is. The author is also pro robotic-car as the future.

plutosdad   ·  April 9, 2009 10:46 AM

It certainly does look rather idiotic. I thought Lars Larson's description of it as a motorized garbage can (think of the mini-dumpsters most homeowners have now) was apt.

In other respects, I'd say it is a fascinating technology, but I can't see there being much of a market for it for some time. I'd probably be willing to consider some such alternative vehicle for my daily commute to and from work, but not if I had to share the road with trucks, buses, SUVs and other large vehicles that would squash such a motorized trash can in an accident.

Kurt   ·  April 9, 2009 1:33 PM

Fair-the-well, GM. You had a pretty good run until the '70s or so.

First the unions and now the government have been hammering nails into the coffin for a few decades. They've finally succeeded in getting the lid nailed tight and are lowering the coffin into the grave.

joated   ·  April 9, 2009 1:43 PM

A lot of ingenuity and good motives. But I don't see it offers much now. In a few decades as things change.

The Segway at least has the virtue of being small. It can generally operate in stores and on sidewalks without greatly bothering others.

This can't. Too big for pedestrian areas, too slow for highway use, and less useful than a golf cart.

It is also too big for the various "lifts" that have been added to city buses to accomodate bicycles and wheelchairs.

And could any subway or light rail take them aboard {being a country guy I am unsure, I don't encounter subways or light rail.)

Oh, never mind. Three will be new infrastructure where these will bypass the difficulties of the existing world. Let's call that the Light Roads System.

Like any small vehicle it can be useful. I don't see where that uaw will be in US cities.

Perhaps the college campus where nearly everything gets paid for with taxes - one way or another - will be the market.

The P.U.M.A. is certain to charm planners and officials and many others. So does Disneyland.


K   ·  April 9, 2009 4:34 PM

I'm going to dissent. The PUMA incorporates some interesting concepts and new technologies that may well advance the evolution of personal transportation. The segway's never caught in to even a fraction of the level promised when the over-hyped "Project Ginger" was being whispered about. And this looks like a segway for people who think segways are too much effort, after all, it's a sit-down segway. Think of as point on a continuum, rather than an end product, and you won't be as harsh on GM.

Rhodium Heart   ·  April 9, 2009 5:18 PM

"that may well advance the evolution of personal transportation."

Until the personal injury lawyers start suing God, The Universe and Everything the first time someone has a fender bender and gets plastered all over the pavement.

Anonymous   ·  April 9, 2009 5:35 PM

I think this is a great car for the future. Maybe it will slow this world down to make the roads a safer place to be. I'm lookin forward to having one.

kraftymoma   ·  April 9, 2009 7:26 PM

I think this is a great car for the future. Maybe it will slow this world down to make the roads a safer place to be. I'm lookin forward to having one.

kraftymoma   ·  April 9, 2009 7:27 PM

Maybe it will slow this world down

I guess your time has no value.

M. Simon   ·  April 9, 2009 7:34 PM

The safest roads are those where all the vehicles are traveling nearly the same rate of speed.

Of course if we slow everything down to 25 mph that might be good. If we could afford to double our inventory of finished goods on the road.

M. Simon   ·  April 9, 2009 7:38 PM

I'd rather have a golf cart or electric utility vehicle. At least they have cargo space, though 20 mph is about average.

Donna B.   ·  April 10, 2009 3:00 AM

Well... um... GM is saved, I guess.

Evil Otto   ·  April 10, 2009 6:46 AM

Wow, these over-priced electric golf carts are about as brilliant as Glenn Reynold's really smarty Ivy-degreed 'billion mercury bulbs in America' idea.

Hey maybe the bird-flu will kill us before the oil does.

syn   ·  April 10, 2009 8:25 AM

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