High Gas Prices? Try a Segway!

With high gasoline prices and a slowing economy, Americans
are looking for transportation alternatives  for getting to and from work. The once-maligned Segway is getting a second look:


"The two-wheeled Segway, a self-balancing vehicle that
runs on a rechargeable battery, debuted amid massive hype in 2001. Tech
icons like Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer, and
Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos predicted it would change the way people
lived. But critics panned the high-tech scooter for its $5,000 price
tag and portrayed it as a toy for geeks and the rich. Some cities
banned it from sidewalks because of safety concerns…

Today, the Segway is gaining converts. It plugs into a standard electrical outlet and can get up to 25 miles per charge."

Cool beans!

Segway Glides as Gasoline Jumps (Free WSJ)
Maligned Scooter Winning New Fans; $5,000 Price Tag
WSJ, June 16, 2008; Page B2

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Jack commented on Jun 19

    High tech/expensive junk is a poor substitute for the good health and civility created by simply walking and cycling.

  2. simon commented on Jun 19

    The first time I saw a Segway was in about 2004. I saw some people lifting it up the steps at the entrance to a building I had my office in. It was a low rental office building that had steps and no ramp.

    It was a nice old building actually. It used to be the local municipal offices. It dated from the 50’s and had some really substantial architectural features. Unknown to me at the time there was an internet company on one of the refurbished upper floors. New Zealand’s version of Ebay it turned out to be.

    I was so entranced by the Segway that I failed to reflect on the fact that it seemed to need several people to lift it up the steps. Maybe the newer models use Lithium ion batteries to make them lighter.

  3. OhNoNotAgain commented on Jun 19

    “High tech/expensive junk is a poor substitute for the good health and civility created by simply walking and cycling.”

    Exactly. Uh, hello ? Bicycles have gearing ratios that allow you to go quite a bit faster than a Segway, you can actually haul stuff like groceries, they make zero noise, and you can get a decent *brand new* bike for $300-400. Talk about trying to re-invent the wheel.

    Sometimes I wonder if we’re really capable of coming up with practical ideas anymore. They all seem gimmicky and fail to solve the problem better than stuff invented over 100 years ago.

  4. poopscooperforlife commented on Jun 19

    I have seen cops in Chicago ride those goofy things around the city. Great use of tax dollars.

  5. Mr. Obvious commented on Jun 19

    Cool Beans? I thought that was a western PA phrase…didn’t realize you NYC-types used that one.

    You guys don’t say “yinz” too, do you?

    P.S.: Some of you guys are so nearsighted….

    Bike: sweat
    Segway: no sweat

    A segway is a bike for the lazy masses….

  6. Brendan commented on Jun 19

    Segways replace walking and bike trips, not car trips. I don’t see Segways getting a bump from high gas prices.

  7. Brendan commented on Jun 19

    Segways replace walking and bike trips, not car trips. I don’t see Segways getting a bump from high gas prices.

  8. Chief Tomahawk commented on Jun 19

    Chicago Police have them at the airports. Though they allow them to see over crowds, those using them spend more time trying to look normal as you get the sense everyone thinks “what a waste of tax dollars”.

    BR, if the Segway getting 25 miles per charge interests you, check out the gas/electric hybrid of the Aptera car being made in Carlsbad, CA. 300 miles per gallon. And it’s due to be available beginning this December.

  9. Brian commented on Jun 19

    Couldn’t agree more with the comments regarding biking. I put 1,200 miles on my $399 Motobecane last year.

    OT – Did anyone see Oracle upped lists prices by 15-20%? I understand that list price is kind of irrelevant given the discounting in software, but it seems like a strange time to raise prices. Can Oracle blame rising fuel costs for this increase ;)?

  10. odograph commented on Jun 19

    I clicked in to say “I’ve always scoffed, as a bicycle rider” … but I see that a few bicycle riders got here first!

    (In a hypothetical land where bicycles are not safe or legal, but Segways somehow are …. go for it.)

  11. Sherman McCoy commented on Jun 19

    Ummm… cool beans? If you say so… But anyone riding one of those still looks like a total dork.

  12. floormaster squeeze commented on Jun 19

    I suppose Segways might work where this enough space but in this narrow east coast city there is not even enough room for pedestrians as is let alone the “too wide” Segways.

    I love the idea of biking and am a cyclist but I cannot use a bicycle for practical local trips for the simple reason that cars will try to kill me. This is obviously not the case in most of the U. S. but sadly there are places where density (both in terms of population and imagination of car drivers) is too high to be practical.

  13. George commented on Jun 19

    I spent two hours on a Segway a few months ago.

    Positives: You learn how to use it in less than a minute. Very intuitive. Max speed 12 mph. 24 miles to a charge. Add-on panniers make it possible to carry groceries, etc. Will climb the steepest hill. (True!) Very fun to ride. Ideal if you have a 2-4 mile suburban commute.

    Negative: Cost is about $5,500. Not for major roads!!!!

    There’s also an off-road model that’s a bit more expensive.

    It is not being marketed to a prime target audience—teenagers and young adults. It is very easy to imagine kids doing all sorts of goofy and dangerous stuff on these, just as with bicycles. Also, could be very useful for the elderly. Hasn’t found its market yet.

  14. Bud commented on Jun 19

    Honda just announced that it can mass produce hyrdogen fuel cell cars but the cost is a big hurdle until economies of scale kick in. Can’t help but think how things might be different if we used the Iraq war $ to kickstart renewable ventures like fuel cells. Segway is great for cops, park rangers and leisure but it will never be used by commuters. Two Segway delaerships folded where I live but Vespa scooter dealerships are flourishing.

  15. JJ commented on Jun 19

    PLEASE! I saw an expert rider advertising one of these contraptions at Disney world. He fell off (backwards), quickly tried to recover, but he seemed injured. That certainly raises a few questions regarding safety, but also about jumping on journalistic bandwagons without doing proper research.

    “Maybe we should be asking different questions of our” blog “media instead”.

    Anyway, price is ridiculous and Pedal bikes get my vote, a million times better!

  16. nl commented on Jun 19

    There are some advantages of a scooter-type vehicle over a bicycle. For example, you don’t get sweaty, it’s a lot easier to ride in respectable clothes, and for distances in the 5-20 mile range, where biking becomes serious exercise, it is a better alternative to a car.

    With that said, the Segway is lame. You can get a Chinese gasoline scooter for less than $1000 which gets 100 mpg. If electric is your bag, this Chinese electric scooter has a 20-45 mile range and costs…

    (wait for it…)



    A $190 electric scooter is SOOOO much cooler beans than a stupid Segway.

  17. apw commented on Jun 19

    Yes, the contraption is very cool technology, but seriously… a bike is far better. Much safer, hauls more stuff, weighs 30 pounds, cheaper, AND exercise for our lazy asses.

    Anyone considering a segway should do themselves a favor & talk to a salesperson at your town’s best bike shop. For geeks that love spending lots of money on cool gizmos, there’s tons of sexy bike gear you can obsess over for years to come.

  18. Schnormal commented on Jun 19

    I can’t help but think of Gob from Arrested Development whenever i see a Segway.

    viva la vespa! :)

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