It’s the top of an unusual era in transportation. Fast Company has learned that the Segway brand will stop producing the Segway PT (Personal Transporter) at its Bedford, New Hampshire plant, where most production has taken place, on July 15th. The move will end in 25 people being laid off and reflects the long-term struggles of a product that was alleged to revolutionize transportation, but never really took off.
Inventor Dean Kamen launched the Segway PT in December 2001 with promises that it might revolutionize city transport — the self-balancing two-wheeler was alleged to cover the center ground between walking and driving during a way that bikes couldn’t. However, it never sold in huge numbers, managing just 140,000 units in nearly 20 years. It ultimately found the foremost use among security teams (immortalized by Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and tourists. Kamen sold the corporate in 2009, and therefore the Chinese mobility firm Ninebot acquired it in 2015.
Company executives were quick to acknowledge that the essential concept had its issues. VP Tony Ho told FC that the classic Segway design was still seen as “very novel” and required a learning curve (as this writer can attest) that kick scooters and other sorts of transportation never really did. And as Segway president Judie Cai added, the PT’s design may are too durable for its own good. Its highly redundant nature may are great for reliability and safety, but it also meant that a customer won’t need to replace their transporter for many years .
Don’t mourn the loss of the PT too loudly. The Ninebot deal saw Segway become a serious force in electric scooters (it says it’s 70 percent of the worldwide market) and expand into more adventurous categories, including self-balancing skates and chairs. you’ll also argue that it ushered in electric urban mobility, whether it’s the flood of e-scooter services or clever boards like Onewheel’s models. the maximum amount as people ridiculed the Segway PT sometimes, it enabled more ways of getting around town.