For serious EV enthusiasts who want full size vehicles which go fast and far there’s nothing more irritating than a joke EV making the headlines. It’s important for car makers to get new and exciting electric vehicles out in the public eye, but only if the vehicles in question give EVs a good name. But to put it bluntly the GM/Segway PUMA prototype looked no more than a complete joke when it hit the news earlier this week.
Unveiled as an early prototype at the New York Autoshow, the little two-wheeled, self balancing personal transport vehicle can carry two people at up to 30 mph around town for up to 35 miles.
Unless I’m mistaken there are very few automakers right now who aren’t worried about the future. While most are faced with an uncertain future and desperately try to balance their accounts a rarer breed of Automaker exists. They’re not clamoring for Federal tax breaks and they’re not visiting the President to ask for more money. The workers for these automakers aren’t on strike. They’re not asking the Prime Minister for more wages, or moaning about outsourcing. And they don’t have showrooms full of vehicles the sales team just can’t shift. Granted, they don’t have many rights as workers and their government would probably balk at the idea of worker representatives or a union.
One particular company comes to mind when reading that description. While perhaps off the radar of many consumers, this company has the likes of GM, Ford, and Toyota fully in it’s sights. They already produce a fully road-working, commercially available plug in hyrbid, capable of as much as 40 miles on all electric power. And they sell at a cheaper price than the current Toyota Prius. Who is this mystery company? The company who Warren Buffet was so impressed by that his company invested a reported $232m in? Why, the Chinese company BYD.