Segway Ends Production Of Its Iconic Scooter After 19 Years
Segway has decided to end the production of its iconic self-balancing scooter after almost two decades.
When first introduced, the sleek scooter seemed as though it could transform the world of transport, with its futuristic technology meaning you could control it with a simple shift in weight.
The creation resulted in the introduction of a new tourist attraction – segway tours – and its agile movements and swift pace were highlighted in the film Mall Cop, where Paul Blart (Kevin James) sped his way around a mall with the help of his trusty scooter.
The Segway PT was billed as an easy way to get around for short trips, but unfortunately for the creators the invention never really took off with commuters, instead being something of a novelty for people to play with.
Before long, Segways gained a reputation for being unsafe, with its self-balancing feature often proving hard to control, causing the scooters to spin and sometimes throwing riders to the ground. As a result, the vehicles were actually banned in some cities.
The company was taken over by British self-made millionaire Jimi Heselden. However, in 2009, just 10 months after he bought Segway, 62-year-old Heselden died after falling from a 30ft cliff while riding a Segway at his estate in Thorp Arch near Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.
A few years later, Usain Bolt found himself in a Segway accident when a cameraman riding one of the scooters crashed into him as he did a victory lap after winning the 200-metre race in Beijing in 2015. Thankfully Bolt wasn’t injured, and he was later able to joke about the accident.
The decision to end production comes after the company’s sales dropped to less than 1.5% of its revenue last year.
Production will end on July 15, and as many as 21 employees will be laid off as a result of the decision, with another 12 to stay on for two months to a year, and five remaining at the factory in Bedford, New Hampshire, The Guardian reports.
Commenting on the news, Segway president Judy Cai said:
Within its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in security and law enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle.
This decision was not made lightly, and while the current global pandemic did impact sales and production, it was not a deciding factor in our decision.
The company decided to enter the lightweight electric scooter business in 2017, selling the type of light and inexpensive easy-to-ride vehicles that have proved a hit with commuters.
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