Skip To The Main Content

Two-wheel electric car breakthrough

by  | 

A two-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle is being developed in a bid to offer a cleaner, safer alternative to traditional cars.

Beleaguered car giant GM and electric transport specialist Segway are behind the project, which also involves an innovative communications network. The system enables vehicles to interact, regulate traffic flow and prevent crashes, in theory cutting car insurance claims and making the roads safer.

Jim Norrod, chief executive of Segway, the maker of electric scooters said: "We're excited about doing more with less. Less emissions, less dependability on foreign oil and less space."

Using Segway's distinctive two-wheel balancing technology, combined with dual electric motors and a lithium-ion battery, the prototype reaches speeds of up to 35mph and can run 35 miles on a charge.

Larry Burns, from GM, said the 300-pound Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, or PUMA, prototype demonstrated the firm's commitment to remake itself as a producer of fuel-efficient vehicles.

The communications network, through the use of transponder and GPS technology, would eventually allow them to drive themselves.

Mr Burns said the vehicles would also avoid obstacles such as pedestrians and other cars and therefore never crash, removing the need for air bags or other safety devices.

© Press Association 2009