Segway and GMs PUMA lacks claws

It's difficult to know who to feel sorrier for: GM for thinking its partnership with Segway might stave off the US Government axe; or Segway for gett

It's difficult to know who to feel sorrier for: GM for thinking its partnership with Segway might stave off the US Government axe; or Segway for getting into bed with a company that seems to symbolise the opposite of everything it stands for.

The fruit of of their collaboration, unveiled in New York this week, is the PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), an 'upgrade' of Segway's Transporter that can transport two seated people up to 35 miles, at up to 35mph.

There are some impressive features to the PUMA - an iPhone-style handheld wireless key/controller that also displays battery and speed info; a miniscule turning radius; and surprisingly good battery performance for such a small vehicle.

But there are many more things that are worrying: the PUMA's inability to drive in the rain; it's lack of basic safety features; and its probable high cost - a price-tag under $10000 (£6800) is unlikely. In fact, it's difficult to think of any advantage the PUMA has over an electric scooter.

Leaving aside any ethical questions over GM's Hummer brand, the ailing car company still sold over 27,000 of the ruggedised SUVs last year. As intriguing as the PUMA is, it's hard to see it selling more than a fraction of that number - and at a fraction of the price - should it ever come to market.