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Segway PUMA: Two-wheeled frightwagon

Segway and General Motors have announced they are developing an alarming-looking two-wheeled electric car. It'll do Penzance to Edinburgh for six quid, and won't even be massively slow

Nate Lanxon
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From the Web site that brought you the it's-2009-so-here's-a-steam-powered-car feature, here's something even more modern. Segway and General Motors have announced they're developing a two-wheeled, self-righting electric Segway car.

Currently in the prototype phase, the Segway PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility -- top backronymage there) operates just like a traditional self-righting Segway. Except it's got seats for two people, a roof, up to 35 miles of driving time on a single charge and can travel up to 35mph. And those 35 miles will cost you just 40p in electricity -- that's about six quid to drive from Penzance to Edinburgh.

Currently Segway hasn't disclosed any plans to sell these things commercially, and precisely how it'll perform in adverse weather conditions -- or going up hills -- is a topic for a future Q and A session. But the company sees this as the future of urban transportation (kind sirs, where are our goddamn flying cars?!), so production of a similar vehicle seems at least possible.

"Good for old people, death on wheels"

Crave's car expert Rory Reid weighed in with his speculative two cents. "It might be a good replacement for mobility scooters for old people," he thought, "but to me it looks like death on wheels."

For more of Rory's inflammatory opinions about the safety of transport destined for the eldery, keep your eyes peeled on Car Tech. And for more info about the PUMA, keep those balls* firmly glued** to CNET UK.

For now, more details can be found on Segway's Web site.

*The ones in your head
**Focused on, or subscribed to. (CBS Interactive does not advocate the use of eyeball-computer adhesives, you fool.)

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"I like driving in my car," said Madness, in their 1982 pop hit. Suggs is rumoured to be re-recording the classic as, "I like driving in my self-righting two-wheeled PUMA." It won't sell.
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Those two little rear wheels fill us with confidence. Can it still be classed as a two-wheeler with four wheels? This reporter confidently suggests maybe.
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With a PUMA on every block, taxis will only be required for journeys 36 miles or greater in distance.

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