An era comes to an end: Segway ends production of its self-balancing electric stand-up scooter PT (Personal Transporter) next month in July. The Segway PT has apparently been much less commercially successful than hoped. In 2017, Segway entered the business of lighter and less expensive electric scooters.
The Segway PT has attracted a lot of attention since its introduction nearly twenty years ago. Unfortunately, one of the factors that made the standing Segway commercially unviable was its durability. Unlike smartphones that always seem to have problems conveniently when the next model comes out, Segway has remained largely unchanged for years.
The stand-up self-balancing electric scooters found their niche in tourists tours and property security services and never made a mass market. For the mobility offered, an electric kick-scooter does the trick for a much lower price. “With what you pay for a scooter versus a Segway PT to accomplish what you want to do, you see the huge difference right there,” says Judy Cai, president of Segway.
Still, after innovating with the Segway PT, the company is very much embedded in micromobility markets. After being absorbed by China’s Ninebot, Segway now claims to command 70% of the global, shared e-scooter market, since they provided the first scooters to Bird and Lime during the battle for the electric scooter markets in 2018.
It also seems that sound engineering wasn’t a complete waste of time for the 20-year life of the Segway PT – Segway still has thousands of active patents specifically in self-balancing technologies that are used in e-scooters, hoverboards and other mobility devices that the company is developing. Besides the Segway S-Pod self-balancing chair, the company is also developing motorbikes and electric ATVs. Almost a year ago, Segway presented its electric kick-scooters that drive back to base.
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