Payday Loans

GM has teamed up with Segway, the maker of the Segway PT, to introduce the PUMA (“Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility”).  The idea is a small, electric runabout that is easy to drive and park, and is easy on the environment as well.  It can travel up to 35 MPH (56 KPH) and for 35 miles (56km) on a charge.  While certainly an interesting engineering exercise, one has to question the practicality of such a “vehicle.”  At a top speed of only 35MPH, where is it even legal to drive?  There are not many details available, but the prototype in the video (see below) that GM released has no doors, lights, mirrors, bumpers or any other obvious safety equipment besides the seat belts.  Yes, seat belts.  The PUMA seats 2, though if they are not good friends before the ride, they will be after.  The prototype says “experimental” on it, so you have to assume that GM/Segway will address these issues before they (attempt) to sell it to the public.  But given that the PUMA looks like a science experiment that attempted to mate a phone booth, wheel chair and a skateboard, you have to assume their market is small.  Segway’s lack of any success in marketing the PT needs to be factored into the calculations as well.

You have to give credit to GM & Segway for trying to break the mold of transportation to find new markets.  But given GM’s well-publicized troubles, you’d think they would have a better place to spend their scarce resources.  GM says that they have been developing the PUMA with Segway for 18 months.  Is it coincidental that they choose to tell us about it now, when the loan officer-in-chief seems to be calling the shots at GM?  Is Fritz Henderson, GM’s new CEO, just sucking up to the would-be boss?  I fear that the PUMA is just the first (and most ridiculous) of many so-called green cars that GM (and Chrysler if they survive that long) will be forced to produce as a condition of their loans without any regard to what the customers actually want.  If we had any semblance of an energy policy, then maybe PUMA would make some sense.  With gas around $2, there is no hope for PUMA.


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