The Segway Personal Transport Scooter Has Met its End

Segway will discontinue its original electric Segway PT, a personal transport device, or scooter on two wheels. According to a Reuters report, the once-popular, self-leveling, mobility device will roll off the production line for the last time July 15th. Segway does, however, manufacture other scooters and mobility options.  The Segway PT scooter still appears on the company’s web page for now.  

People on Segways line up to enter a castle tour.
Visitors line-up on Segways before exploring the grounds of Leeds Castle, on 21st October 2018, in Kent, England | Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images

The Segway PT

The electric Segway model carries a rider between two wheels. A small handlebar offers directional control. However, forward and rearward propulsion was controlled by the driver simply leaning forward or back. The balancing trick sometimes challenged pilots. 

The Segway PT is equipped with multi-terrain tires that give it a go-almost-anywhere look. It can reach a top speed of 12.5 miles-per-hour and has a range of 19 miles. It offers a zero-turn capability. At the time of this writing, used units can be found on Ebay starting around $2,499.

Popularity at a cost

The Segway was unveiled in 1999 at a cost of nearly $5,000 per unit. Originally called the Segway HT, for human transport, it became popular among tour guides, police departments, and other security agencies. The device even played a supporting role in the Paul Blart, Mall Cop movie series. 

According to Electrek, 

“Despite promising to sell over 100,000 Segways in the first year, it took the company well over a decade to reach that milestone. The expensive and low-speed electric vehicles simply never caught on en masse with the public.”

Kevin James rides a Segway scooter
Actor Kevin James rides a Segway scooter as the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” character | Photo by Paul Warner/WireImage

Poor publicity did not help

Segway did have its run-in with poor publicity along the way. President George W. Bush famously had to jump off of one when he lost control of his in 2003. Additionally, during a track event, former Olympian Usain Bolt was hit by a Segway being piloted by a cameraman covering the event in 2015. 

Poor sales figures

In 2015, Segway was purchased for $80 million by Ninebot, Inc., a Chinese company. Ninebot also had a scooter product line. But, the sales of the Segway PT dropped to 1.5 percent of the company’s revenue. So, it was a foregone conclusion. With the Segway PT unable to self-level its sales, the product is being dropped, leading to 21 job cuts. 

According to Segway’s President, Judy Cai, 

“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,” 

“Given our decades-long history, we recognize that this decision may come as a disappointment to our strong and loyal following among private owners who view the Segway as one of the more innovative creations of the early 21st century.”

Three police officer ride Segways scooters as part of training.
Police receiving Segway training at the IACP Annual Conference | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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Farewell Segway PT

The Segway PT is becoming a footnote in mobility transport. Since the dawn of the PT, children have started using other self-balancing devices such as hoverboards and other scooters at pricing much lower than that of the Segway model. Though Segway was one of the pioneers in the technology, it now has banished the PT into the garage of obscurity. Farewell Segway PT.