The end of the road for Segway

by | Jun 24, 2020

(Photo courtesy guim.co.uk)

The Segway, the two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transport device, is officially over. Ninebot, which acquired Segway in 2015, will halt production of the personal transporter on July 15.

The Segway never did live up to its creators’ world-changing expectations. When it first launched, the personal transport device was supposed to be “to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” Steve Jobs even said it was the biggest product since the PC.

Segway had originally planned to sell as many as 100,000 units in the first 13 months. In the end, the company only ever sold around 140,000 vehicles total. With a price tag of around $6,000 – $10,000, only police departments and tour groups could afford it.

Another challenge was that rather than being world-changing, Segway developed a rather…nerdy reputation. It appeared in comedies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and made headlines when then-US President George W Bush fell off of one in 2003.

As former Segway employee Matt Gelbwaks put it, “There was a significant dork factor.”

Segway’s namesake product may be gone, but it’s legacy of annoying people on their way to work lives on.

Segway’s core IP is crucial to Ninebot’s (much more successful) electric scooter business.

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