GM, Segway partner on two-wheel city vehicle

How to fix urban transportation? GM and Segway unveil a two-wheel concept vehicle that seats two people and runs on batteries.

A PUMA concept vehicle. GM

General Motors and Segway plan to take a two-wheel concept vehicle for a spin around New York City on Tuesday.

The prototype vehicle, called Project PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), is designed to ease congestion and pollution problems in cities. It is based on the Segway Personal Transporter but holds two people, instead of one, and lets them sit, instead of stand.

A PUMA runs on lithium ion batteries, can reach 35 miles per hour, and can travel up to 35 miles between charges.

It includes some high-tech touches, including GM's wireless OnStar communications technology that lets a passenger locate other drivers in a city.

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The two-wheeler is meant to address the mounting problems of urban car transportation, according to the two companies that plan to unveil the vehicle at an auto show in New York.

GM is touting other features as well.

"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," Larry Burns, GM's vice president of R&D and strategic planning, said in a statement.

GM is looking to drum up excitement for its vehicles as it undergoes a massive restructuring in an effort to become financially viable and more competitive with other automakers.

The Segway Personal Transporter, a two-wheel vehicle that allows people to stand and move around at slow speeds, was released with great fanfare several years ago, but it remains a niche form of transportation.

 

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