Green Car Congress  
Home Topics Archives About Contact  RSS Headlines

« National Program for Scrap Cars to Reduce Mercury Emissions | Main | USABC Awards Johnson Controls-Saft Contract for Li-Ion Batteries for Hybrid Vehicles »

Print this post

Segway Introduces New Line of Personal Transporters

14 August 2006

The beefier cross-terrain x2.

Segway has introduced its new generation of transporters: the Personal Transporter (PT) i2 and x2. The new models feature its new LeanSteer technology, which lets the rider turn by leaning. They also feature a new wireless InfoKey controller which powers the unit on and off, allows the rider to set its speed, includes an anti-theft system, and provides trip information.

The i2 is the new base unit, and, as its predecessor, relies on dual Valence Saphion lithium-ion battery packs for power. The range is the same as the older HT: 15 to 24 miles. The x2 is an all-terrain model, with all-terrain tires, a robust fender design, and specially tuned software. Range for the x2 is up to 12 miles off-pavement.

LeanSteer enables steering by leaning.

The major innovation is the LeanSteer technology, which allows the frame and handlebar to tilt left and right in response to a body’s natural inclination to lean into the desired direction of desired travel.

The LeanSteer frame is adjustable, and allows the Segway PT to fit in the trunk of many cars.

Segway offers i2 packages for police, commuter and cargo in addition to the base PT. The x2 offers packages for police, “Adventure”, and the golf course. Pricing starts at $4,995 for the base i2, $5,495 for the x2.

August 14, 2006 in Electric (Battery), Personal Transit | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Segway Introduces New Line of Personal Transporters:


The last time I checked:
Segway: $5000
Kawasaki Vulcan 500: $4600

I bought the Vulcan, and now ride it 18 miles each way to work -- at speeds up to 70mph. It's not quite as geeky as the Segway, and it wouldn't be socially acceptable to park it in my cube - but it has a range of 150 miles, and I get about 55mpg on my commute. My motorcycle is a working machine, not a toy.

An electric motorcycle with a 60-mile range would be cool, and by putting the wheels one-in-front-of-another and using centripital force to hold the behicle upright (*cough*), millions of dollars in research could be spent on the batteries -- instead of on the stability controls.

But $5k for personal transportation that can't take me 18 miles? I don't have that kind money to burn - no matter how nifty the toy is. I'd build an electric dirt-bike myself -- for half the cost.

s/18 miles/18 miles at highway speeds/

Segway: a perfect solution seeking for a suitable problem ...
If it was priced around its nearest competitor, a bicycle, it would perhaps have a slight chance of success.


It looks like others are skeptical about the Segway too. Someone clear things up for me -- what is the supposed attraction, environmental or otherwise, of a Segway? What do its advocates say? Looking at the Segway web page, I don't understand what it's supposed to do. It seems to be an expensive vehicle that goes slowly, scaled to the kind of environments where people walk and bicycle right now. At these prices only the affluent are going to use Segways, and don't those people need to exercise more anyway? It doesn't have the simplicity and cheapness of a bicycle, the speed of a motorcycle, or the storage capacity and climate control of a car. I can't see that for most people it does anything BETTER.

Is the Segway of any value to the creation of true green transport or is it just a distraction?

The leading use for the Segway seems to be replacement of mounted police (by mounted I mean on horseback) with Segways. Horses aren't cheap, nor do they fit in small sidewalks real effectively. They still use mounted police from time to time here in Arizona; not sure how common they are elsewhere. The Segway isn't nearly as fast as a horse unfortunately, in fact it's hardly any faster than a fast runner, although it can maintain that speed pretty much indefinitely. They're supposedly nice for some parts of mail delivery too. Still, they have a very limited purpose.

Back on the gasoline burning thread, if you wanted to go even cheaper than the aformentioned Vulcan, the Kawasaki Ninja 250 has a list price of $2999 and will achieve 65 to 75mpg according to most magazines while being capable of well above legal highway speeds. At the cheap end, a Honda Metropolitan runs $1849 and can do city speeds (40-45mph) while getting even better fuel economy than the Ninja 250 thanks to the scooter's 49cc single-cylinder engine and extreme light weight. For a neighborhood runabout, gasoline is still extremely light impact from a GHG and cost perspective.

I could see it being good on a golf course, as a police vehicle, or mail delivery vehicle.

I hav a problem copying url adresses all over green car congress....someone else having the same problem?

Thanks for that clarification, Sid. Comparing efficient gas vehicles to the Segway made me think of something else. Battery-powered vehicles are conceivably more sustainable because they run on electricity -- which can in theory be produced sustainably. But when you charge up with electricity that has been produced with fossil fuels, you've gotta remember that you are consuming a lot of those fuels. The loss of energy in production and transmission of electricity is huge... the actual consumption of energy is 2 or 3 times what is measured at the home outlet, if I understand the difference between "primary" and "site" energy correctly.

Recently on my blog I've been looking into residential energy consumption stats from the USA's Dept. of Energy. One reason that houses are consuming more and more energy total despite the increasing availability of more efficient technologies is the increasing use of electricity generated by fossil fuels. In this situation burning fossil fuels directly -- in the home, or in the vehicle -- could be the environmentally superior, if not truly sustainable, choice.

As for all the people comparing this to a motorcycle -- huh? Why don't you just compare a bicycle to an airplane while you're at it. Plus, this is GREEN Car Congress, so I am continuously amazed at how people act as if air pollution doesn't matter. Motorcycles and scooters are pretty dirty, mile for mile, compared to modern automobiles, let alone electric powered vehicles like the Segway.

Hey Joseph - thanks for that link to the Segway paper. As far as air pollution (i assume you mean other than CO2) goes, you've got a point, it's definitely an issue. But given the fact that electricity is usually generated by fossil fuels, just plain buying and using an electric vehicle doesn't stop you from creating pollution. You'd need sustainably produced electricity.

I like the fact that they are using very advanced batteries. Any use to help bring liothium-ion into transportation is a good thing. Start slapping some of these batteries onto an electric scooter then we really have a green vehicle. Put up some solar panels on your home, put up a solar hot water heater, replace some light bulbs with CFLs, put in a programmable thermostate, and properly insulate your home. Now there is an idea...

Of course, Bottleman - there's still pollution with an electric vehicle pulling from the grid. But there are differences between mobile pollution and pollution coming from a large source, usually located away from major population centers (but not always).

Leaving the air pollution issue aside for a moment, I took the time to run numbers on CO2 and fuel efficiency for the Segway versus a 100 MPG gasoline-fueled vehicle.

I used Segway's spec sheet on their batteries as the basis for their efficiency:

Obviously, there's a lot of variability in efficiency based on how it's used, and it's not clear whether the battery capacity numbers are a full-drain scenario, or an "as used" scenario. Also, the Personal Transporters have two battery packs, not one.

So, I'll use conservative numbers and assume that 800 Wh (full capacity of two battery packs) is needed for a 15 mile range (aggressive riding, hilly terrain).

I also use primary fuel numbers for electricity, as you suggested, as opposed to "at the plug"/end-use numbers. This isn't a very accurate comparison, simply because motor gasoline isn't a primary fuel, but rather a processed fuel product. But since it'd be pretty difficult to do a full well-to-wheel comparison, I'll stick with the BTU content of gasoline compared to the BTU content of the primary fuel for the electricity.

End-use electricity is 3,412 BTU/kWh and gasoline is 125,000 BTU/gallon. End use of electricity is 31.3% of the energy content of the primary fuels.

Grid emergy, US average, is 51% coal, 20% nuclear, 16% natural gas, 10% renewables (7/10 of which is hyrdro), and 3% petroleum. Using the emission coefficients here, I calculated that grid power puts out 137.50 lbs CO2 per million BTU, compared to 156.43 for gasoline.

Run all the numbers, and a 100 MPG gasoline-fueled vehicle puts out 2.44 times the CO2 per mile and uses 2.15 times the energy per mile of a Segway. So, if one assumes a longer range and less power consumption for the Segway (24 miles and 400 Wh), then the numbers change to 7.82 for CO2 and 6.87 for energy consumption.

To compare to another electric vehicle, the eGo scooter -- which has a range of 25 miles, can go 24 mph (twice the Segway's top speed), and 816 Wh of battery capacity -- a 100 MPG gasoline-fueled vehicle puts out 3.99 times the CO2 per mile and uses 3.51 times the energy per mile compared to an eGo.

The most efficient gasoline-fueled scooter I'm aware of is the Honda SuperCub 50, which gets 343 MPG in a Japanese test cycle.

Even at that fuel efficiency level, the eGo scooter is still slightly more fuel efficient and puts out less CO2. The conservative estimate for the Segway (800 Wh/15 miles) does worse than the SuperCub.

According to a DOE chart I recently saw the average delivered efficiency of electricity in the US is 35% of the thermal energy used by the powerplant. Each kwh saved at home saves 2857 watts of fossil fuel.

The comparison is that it costs as much as a $5000 motorcycle, but performs like a $150 bike. I think it's fair to compare two transportation choices of the same cost, as well as two transportation choices of the same utility.

The electric scooter looks like it has potential! I'm still trying to find a price. 80km/h isn't quite fast enough for the roads I ride, but it's close enough that I think I could get away with it. Plus, with a 2kW engine, getting up to speed if probably pretty quick! That machine certainly looks like it can be a transportation-tool.

I do regret that my Vulcan doesn't have a catalytic converter, but I figure that at 55mpg, it's a lot better than driving my other vehicles. If anyone knows of an add-on catalytic converter for motorcycles for a reasonable price (< $350) and weight, I'll seriously consider adding it.

The comparison is that it costs as much as a $5000 motorcycle, but performs like a $150 bike. I think it's fair to compare two transportation choices of the same cost, as well as two transportation choices of the same utility.

You're making another apples-to-oranges comparison. Your $150 bicycle is powered by human energy, the Segway by electrical energy. I could buy a $100 pair of running shoes and a $100 car. Doesn't make them comparable.

Indeed, a bicycle is human-powered, but is has a similar or higher top cruising speed than the Segway (12mph for the segway, anywhere from 8 to 25mph for a bike depending on rider fitness level). There's no reason to compare a bicycle to an airplane because a bicycle goes 8-25mph and an airplane goes 140-600mph depending on what we're talking about.

49cc scooters on the other hand can be easily had for $2000 and achieve 40 to 45mph and very low cost of ownership. Probably the only type of gasoline scooter that's comparable in top speed to the Segway are those motorized skateboard thingies which are around $500 and should likewise do 12mph. When you compare on pricepoint, the Vulcan was an example of how when shopped by pricepoint, you could get a motorcycle that seats two and is capable of low cost of operation and extremely high speeds.

Speaking of motorized skateboards however, does anyone have links to electric ones? One of my neighbors had one for a while. I liked the fact it was nearly silent compared to those noisy gas ones, and I would think those are probably a fraction of the cost of a segway too.

The Segway should be compared to the Vectrix Maxi-Scooter which comes out in a few months.

Price: $5,000
Range: 15-24 miles
Max Speed: 12 mph
Battery: lithium-ion
Battery capacity: 30 Ah, 3.7 kW-h

Price: unknown ($6500-$8000)
Range: 50-68 miles
Max Speed: 62 mph
Battery: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

The Segway should be compared to the Vectrix Maxi-Scooter which comes out in a few months.

Price: $5,000
Range: 15-24 miles
Max Speed: 12 mph
Battery: lithium-ion

Price: unknown ($6500-$8000)
Range: 50-68 miles
Max Speed: 62 mph
Battery: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

Indeed, a bicycle is human-powered, but is has a similar or higher top cruising speed than the Segway (12mph for the segway, anywhere from 8 to 25mph for a bike depending on rider fitness level).

And 90% of trips in the US are done via automated vehicles.

Bicycles account for 0.4% of commute-to-work trips.

Bicycles have also had 150 years of market exposure.

So, people who think this is going to somehow radically change in America are sadly mistaken.

You don't compare something which requires effort with something that doesn't. Humans are not machines.

You also don't comare the Segway to a scooter or motorcycle, because scooters and motorcycles have tailpipe emissions and cannot travel on sidewalks and bike paths.

I can run around barefoot and achieve a maximum speed of 12-15 mph -- all for free. Does that make my $0.00 "mode of transportation" comparable to a Segway (or a bike, or a scooter, or whatever)? No.

I have a suggestion - why doesn't someone do something novel like actually comment on this new Segway product, which is the topic of this post?

I bet more segways have replaced people WALKING or biking then cars. So one could argue that they are not enviromentally a good thing. In that sense I am glad they are priced at $5000.

Actually I am not against the segway, it was originally intended to replace the car for short commutes. Its price and just how different it is has made that not happen. It needs to be alot cheaper and a little faster to fill that role.

I don't know if you'd want to go faster! If you've ever ridden a Segway, 12mph (~18 on downhills) is as fast as I would want it to be. Maybe the lean stear thing will help, it sounds cool, but you feel like you're going faster than you are on a Segway. They're efficient. Perhaps, looking ahead, they might eventually have a fuel cell and cost $10,000. But by then, it will be cheaper than driving a SuperCub.

Probbaly the biggest controversy about the Segway is its use on city sidewalks. I think that is what Segway had in mind, and tries to project the image of being compatible with pedestrians. I haven't followed it up, but its not legal in lots of cities and Segway didn't have much success in getting that changed.

I think it also explains Segways whole business plan, low volume high price: without getting broad acceptance of its use on sidewalks, it would never work with a high volume/low price approach. Not a lot of people are going to feel comfortable riding it on the street with traffic, unlike a scooter or bike. To that extent it is a valid comparison with those vehicles.

Frankly, I was majorly turned off by Segway initially thinking it could be sidewalk compatible. I would not feel comfortable knowing a Segway could be silently coming up behind me on the sidewalk. And it is in that aspect that the Segway has its most negative health/environmental implications: Let the increasingly obese charge down sidewalks at 12mph on their Segways if they can afford the $5K to do so, and let the rest of us shoulder their collective health costs for not walking.

Oh please. Energy saved compared with a bike? More likely energy wasted that could've been saved walking.

I know it's damn near impossible to get around on foot in a lot of newer US cities but please. This thing is just going to waste MORE energy not save it.

People will stop walking and start Segway-ing. They will not stop driving/riding and start using this. Net result MORE energy used.

On the motorbike question: the comparison is entirely valid as posited as price points are being compared. Oh and bike emissions are going to change radically in the next few years (global MC emissions cycle for bikes being driven by Europe for a change) will result in bikes using catalysts and getting closer to being as clean as cars. Plus the fuel econ is tons better than a car too.

Segway, an answer to a question no-one asked. Replace mounted policemen? Err, what's actually wrong with horses?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Green Car Congress © 2017 BioAge Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Home | BioAge Group