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PUMA: The Revolutionary GM Vehicle That Is Just Another Scam Like The Volt

Updated on April 7, 2009

I love Dean Kamen. He's that guy who looks exactly like Casey Kasem's twin and you half expect him to start announcing Jefferson Starship's next hit on American Top 40 in that oh so familiar cadence. But no, Dean is not Casey, he just happens to be one of the greatest Edison - type 1% inspiration 99% perspiration industrial geniuses of our time. His innovation is legendary. After all, who truly understands how his Segway manages to stay upright with two wheels on one axle? It seems to violate all the known laws of physics, but dang it, it works!

However, geniuses are often pie in the sky dreamers when it comes to the leger de main and other stealthy boardroom manipulations of large corporations, and I'm afraid that Dean Kamen has stepped into it up to his ankles with his pairing up with the soon to be defunct-bankrupt-something General Motors.

The project PUMA is described as:

Segway’s PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) prototype represents the shift that’s needed for the future of transportation. It values less over more; taking up less space, using less energy, produced more efficiently with fewer parts, creating fewer emissions during production and operation, all while offering more enjoyment, productivity, and connectivity. Take a test drive and you quickly understand that this is something completely different. The elegance and maneuverability of dynamic stabilization combined with proven battery, sensing, and controls technologies come together to solve real transportation challenges.

The specs are nothing short of astounding:

Passengers: Currently configured for 2, but could carry more
Top speed: Aimed to travel between 25 and 35 mph (40 – 56 kph)
Range: Aimed to have a 25 – 35 mile range (40 – 56 km)
Weight: Currently ~300 lbs/136 kg
Key/system information: Wireless via handheld
Charge time: ~8-10 hours
Turning radius: Zero

Another jaw dropper is that based on the current battery configuration, it costs about $.60 in electricity to recharge. Given that the price of gasoline is around $2 a gallon now, it's the cost equivalent of getting about 100 mpg. Not bad.

How do you drive this thing??? According to Kamen:

Push the steering console forward to alter the position of the center of mass of the vehicle and it’ll naturally accelerate forward. To brake, perform the opposite by pulling the steering console toward you. It uses an array of angular rate sensors and accelerometers to determine the orientation and motion of the vehicle’s platform. As the platform leans forward, the balance sensor assembly notices and responds by requesting power to the motors to drive the wheels forward to maintain balance.

OK, so we have one helluva thingy here that's basically a BMW C1 City Scooter with the front wheel ripped off and stuck onto the same axle as the back wheel. I'm still trying hard to wrap my brain around how this thing actually keeps upright, but I haven't fully understood the Segway's engineering yet either.

So far, all I can do is give Dean Kamen a standing ovation. I don't have a clue how he did it, but he did it, so more power to him!

Then he screwed up.

He got involved with General Motors. The basic question is: Why? Dean Kamen has more than enough engineering knowhow and capital to develop this puppy on his own, why does he need General Motors?

The answer is that Dean Kamen doesn't need General Motors. General Motors needs Dean Kamen.

The ploy that GM is using now is so transparent and ridiculous that I'm surprised that it's fooling all the bozos on The Hill, including that dude in the White House. Yah, that one. You know. The one that bows to Saudi Kings.

As I stated in my The Real Story Behind The Chevrolet Dolt... er... Chevrolet Volt Hub, the long-awaited Chevy Electric Car is a ruse! It doesn't exist! It can't be sold! The batteries are not available anywhere to meet the advertised performance. It's a scam! Even the government auditor reports clearly state that the Volt cannot be sold at anywhere near the price advertised as it is too expensive to build, and the technology is not present!

Why is GM pulling a scam? Easy. It's much easier to suck billions out of the taxpayer's teat if you are promising revolutionary new dream fantasy transportation vehicles. Then they'll believe your bullcrap and keep feeding you the money in order to allow you to get to the day when you can market these non-existent chimeracars.

It would be a very different situation if GM went hat in hand to Washington asking for countless billions so that they could keep making Hummer H2s.

So now we see Step 2 in the Great GM Ruse. They suckered Dean Kamen onto sticking a GM decal on what has nothing to do with GM's engineering and now they can claim that not only do they have the Volt in development, but the PUMA as well.

Yes, GM will revolutionize the world! GM has vehicles that will change the way we transport ourselves forever! GM can't be allowed to die!

As I said before: Bullcrap.

The Volt is not a viable vehicle. It will not go 40 miles on battery power alone. It never has and likely never will. Period. Show me the hard, verifiable evidence or go away.

The PUMA is going to fail for exactly the same reason the Segway failed. When the Segway was announced, everyone from Steve Jobs on down evangelized that it was going to change the world. Cities would be designed in a different and more efficient manner in the Segway era. Urban planning would be changed for all eternity.

Well... it never happened. Why? Simple:

The Segway is illegal to ride... just about anywhere.

Almost every state has regulations that prohibit the Segway from being used on public streets and sidewalks as it doesn't meet any vehicle registration licensing requirements. So... where do you ride the thing? On your own driveway? For $6,000 it's not darn likely.

Why do I need a six grand toy that is perfectly designed to get me efficiently to work and to the store and back, but I can't do that as I'm going to get arrested as soon as I set one wheel on the road?

What makes anyone think that PUMA isn't going to be exactly the same thing? Is it a motorcycle, which will then have to meet motorcycle requirements, including the wearing of a helmet? Is it a car that meets no crash requirements? Can you imagine the result of a head on between a PUMA and a Kenworth? Can you say kiss your ass goodbye?

So why is GM touting PUMA as their one two punch with the Volt? Because GM knows that it's all one big illusion, a premeditated scam designed to get billions of taxpayer dollars out of the dazzled idiots in Washington. They know the Volt and the PUMA will never hit the streets in any numbers. It's all about the bailout. And that's just plain criminal.

Shame on you GM. And shame on the Fools Up On The Hill who can't see through this amateurish and repugnant ploy!

Here's a nonexistent PUMA, one with side doors which exist only in Segway's Photoshop files.
Here's a nonexistent PUMA, one with side doors which exist only in Segway's Photoshop files.
Take a BMW C1, stuff the front wheel next to the back and you have a PUMA. But I still don't know why it doesn't tip over! :)
Take a BMW C1, stuff the front wheel next to the back and you have a PUMA. But I still don't know why it doesn't tip over! :)
Ladies and gentlemen, the savior of GM, the Chevrolet Non-existent Volt!
Ladies and gentlemen, the savior of GM, the Chevrolet Non-existent Volt!
It's Dean Kasem... I mean Dean Kamen!
It's Dean Kasem... I mean Dean Kamen!
I'd like to see the local police department give these Segway riders a ticket! :)
I'd like to see the local police department give these Segway riders a ticket! :)


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      It's just another poor justification by GM to explain what happened to all those billions of taxpayer's dollars THEY STOLE!

    • profile image

      Mr Rudi O'Neil 7 years ago

      I cannot think why a person would want to get a Puma. There is no real sense in parting with £4,750 for something that is little more than an executive toy. If a person can only travel such a short distance on one charge, then they would be really inconvenienced and limited.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      All lies according to the latest government audit, which finds that the Volt's batteries do not exist, the performance claims are non-achievable, and the cost of the car is so high as to make the Volt unsellable.

    • artfuldodger profile image

      artfuldodger 8 years ago from Earth

      the Volt is a scam? I've heard such great things.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I saw that prototype and was amazed by it, as I am by most of Kamen's strokes of genius. I have absolutely no prob with Dean. I just have a prob with GM misappropriating his inventions for their own sleazy uses. I can't see a scenario in the next 5 or even 10 years whereby any of Dean's phenomenal vehicles will get authorized for street use in all 50 states. So the bottom line is that they will stay toys, and very expensive ones at that. Not vehicles. And that's what GM is emphatically NOT stating. :(

    • stevenschenck profile image

      stevenschenck 8 years ago from Sacramento California

      Now Hal, how can you call the volt bull, everyone will want to pay twice the price of a toyota that will not work as well. Now this joke. Remember the EV1, it worked well, everyone loved it, so GM killed it because we would not buy their other junk if the EV1 was available. Dam, they screwed us again.

      At disney world was a super cool prototype from Dean of a Segway that leaned forward and two front wheels dropped down and a seat came up. Yes, a four wheel motorcycle, it had a more powerful motor for speeds up to 40 mph and when you got where you were going the thing stood up, front wheels folded in and it ran like a segway. Sadly GM destroys instead of building.