Monday, November 1, 2010

The Two Passenger City Car: We Need It Now!

It was on NBC's Today Show in Spring 2009 and was given what might be call a cold reception.

The P.U.M.A., a Segway/GM experimental prototype, zipped up and down the street, turned 360 degrees on its own radius, parked in 1/3rd the space. It would go 35 miles on a single plug in charge at home and would run at up to 35 mph.

"Take two companies whose products are sort of a joke, slap them together, and here's the result: The P.U.M.A., a sort of giant, two-person Segway that is designed for commuters, with a 35-mile range from its lithium-ion batteries."

Yes it was not well received.

"GM and Segway's joint venture is probably best described as a rickshaw without all the charm. The self-balancing Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project (P.U.M.A.)... No word on when or if this'll actually go into production but it's expected to be priced at just 25% that of a regular automobile. "
That was then.

This is now.
GM Unveils EN-V Concept: A Vision for Future Urban Mobility

"EN-V’s platform has evolved from the platform of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype that was developed by Segway and debuted in April 2009. Segway has worked collaboratively with GM to develop and deliver multiple copies of the drivetrain platform that seamlessly connect to and power the various EN-Vs.
EN-V is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. Dynamic stabilization technology empowers EN-V, giving it the unique ability to carry two passengers and light cargo in a footprint that’s about a third of a traditional vehicle. It can literally “turn on a dime” within its own operating envelope. In addition, everything in EN-V is drive-by-wire, supporting its ability to operate autonomously or under manual control. The motors not only provide power for acceleration, but also bring the vehicle to a stop.
Power for the motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries that produce zero emissions. Recharging can occur from a conventional wall outlet using standard household power, allowing EN-V to travel at least 40 kilometers on a single charge. EN-V can also improve the efficiency of the public electric infrastructure since the vehicle can communicate with the electric grid to determine the best time to recharge based on overall usage.
By combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies, the EN-V concept can be driven both manually and autonomously. "

"General Motors and its strategic partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC), share a common vision for addressing the need for personal mobility through a radical change in personal urban transportation."
Producing the car alone is not enough, a system supporting the use of this type vehicle must accompany it. How long do we have to wait?


BB-Idaho said...

Back in the early sixties,
my boss had one of those
three wheeled Isettas. It was perfect for scooting around our large Army base.
You got in the front and it would hold two medium sized people. Big steering wheel parallel to the ground. I got to drive it
quite a bit and it was fun!
..haven't seen one since.

drlobojo said...

I wonder if these things are too scary for Americans. I mean they balance on two wheels and can drive themselves. That may be too foreign for us.

BB-Idaho said...

Those two wheelers seem to work good with the inertial interface gyro system. I would worry about power loss and falling over (and that the gyro is also a Greek sandwich!)

drlobojo said...

Look at the PUMA prototype those front and back wheels come down to level the car in parking. I would assume they are emergency wheels as well. Did you mean "Geek" Sandwich.
China will be the leader in these cars. Theircities can not tolerate even the sub-compact cars on their streets. They are already coagulated.
We are not the leaders any more. How did that happen?