The classic Segway personal transporter will cease production in July
One of the most iconic inventions of the 21st century is about to be retired. Segway’s namesake self-balancing scooter, the Segway PT, will officially cease production next month. It’ll no doubt leave a lasting legacy – albeit probably not the one the company intended.
According to Fast Company, the last Segways will awkwardly roll off the production line on July 15. After that, 21 employees will unfortunately lose their jobs, while 12 others will remain to handle warranties, repairs and other services for existing Segway customers.
The reasoning is not entirely unexpected – Segways just weren’t selling. Amazingly, only about 140,000 units total were ever sold in the almost 19 years they were available. By the end, they reportedly only accounted for about 1.5 percent of revenue for Segway’s parent company Ninebot.
A prohibitive price tag is largely to blame for that. The general public didn’t want to spend US$5,000 on an awkward vehicle that crawled along at 10 mph (16 km/h). Instead they ended up limited to the realms of tour groups, security patrols, and workers at huge factories and facilities.
The namesake product may be gone, but the brand itself is here to stay. The Segway name is still plastered all over a range of vehicles like scooters, go-karts, throne-like pods, autonomous robots, and even a set of self-balancing rollerblades.
The legacy of the Segway PT will also no doubt stick around. Pop culture latched onto the air of utter dorkiness its riders exuded, immortalized as the vehicle of choice for Paul Blart: Mall Cop and “Weird Al” Yankovic in the White & Nerdy video. Those images will last a lifetime.
In a more positive light, the Segway did pave the way for the booming industry of urban mobility and last-mile transport options.
Vale, Segway PT. We hardly knew ye.