Segway and GM's foray into togetherness begets (sob!) the PUMA

I know that auto manufacturers in the U.S. have been told by President Obama to get their houses in order, but is this really the answer? General Motors and Segway, purveyors of transportation for lazy people, have hooked up and come up with the PUMA. A cross between a motorized wheelchair and the back end of BMW's C1 moped, the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility machine will run on batteries and Wi-Fi, which will enable you to communicate with other vehicles and give you 25 miles on a single charge.

Is this really the best you can do, GM R&D-meisters? I know it's got a top speed of 35 mph, which is more than enough to give your cheeks a slap-happy workout in a tailwind, but I think there is a little bit of i-dotting and t-crossing still to be done. I mean, what happens when you're happily minding your own business, your battery idling (or whatever batteries do when they're not really being used) at a traffic junction, when suddenly one of those old-fashioned GM behemoths comes careening crazily towards you, with a blond, hatchet-faced guy at the wheel who somehow looks familiar and he's shouting and gesticulating at you to get out of the way with a rough, cracked voice that sounds like someone you know but you just can't work it out. However, your little PUMA is frozen with fear, like a different, fluffier species of animal in the headlights — as are you — and you realize OMIGOD it's Jack Bauer and he's only got 10 hours to save the world and he's coming full on at you and then your life flashes before your eyes and your last thought is, "Will I make the closing credits as Squished PUMA Pilot?"

But I digress. The PUMA won't be around until 2012, so perhaps Jack will have retired to a hammock in Aruba by then, with Renee and Tony to mix him Margaritas and kiss his torture scars. Phew.

WSJ.com, via TreeHugger