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Reinventing the Wheel(s)

Published April 9, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the sidewalk, Segway and GM team up for a two-wheeled version of that silly-ass scooter, dubbed PUMA, short for “Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility.” Huh. I thought that was why God gave us feet. You can even strap a pair of Pumas onto ‘em, if you’re so inclined. And they won’t cost you one-sixth of what a car costs today, which is as close as Segway chief Jim Norrod would come to discussing a price point with the Detroit Free Press.

The spin is even worse this time around, and provides some additional insight regarding why GM is circling the bowl. “Think Facebook on wheels,” chirps GM vice president of research Larry Burns. That may be the single dumbest thing I’ve heard this week. But it’s only Wednesday.

C’mon. You want a $6,000 golf cart, buy one. You can score a 2009 Yamaha Drive right now for less than that and spend the savings on Scotch at the 19th hole. Leave GM’s nitwits to spiraling down the loo while shrieking nonsense like, “If you want to be in the business of selling a mobility machine, you better have one that works in cities!”

Plenty of folks beat you to that little niche a long time ago, Larry. They’re called “bicycle retailers.”

Late update: A correspondent notes that Chrysler — yes, Chrysler — has offered electric autos for the better part of quite some time, as in since gas was cheap. They’re available at dealerships nationwide as we speak — even here in Bibleburg.

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