Segway Inc. announced last week that it will end production of its iconic two-wheeled personal vehicle starting July 15. When the company launched the product nearly two decades ago, it boldly claimed that its namesake two-wheeler would revolutionize the way people move, but it only sold 140,000 units across the world.
The Segway was criticized for the high price tag of US$4,950 (about NT$147,000). It was also challenging to ride, because riders must maintain a balance at a specific angle for the vehicle to move forward, and can easily be thrown off if they lose control. Several months after buying the company, British tycoon Jim Heselden was killed when the Segway he was riding fell into a lake in 2010.
Additionally, media reports of battery explosions when the self-balancing transporter overheated were common. The vehicle is banned in nearly half of US cities and it is classed as a “motorized vehicle” in Europe. In Taiwan, riding the Segway on the road is prohibited.
Photo: CNA 照片︰中央社
(Eddy Chang, Taipei Times)
1. namesake adj.
(tong2 ming2 de5)
2. two-wheeler n.
(shuang1 lun2 che1)
3. revolutionize v.
(gai3 ge2, ge2 ming4)
4. balance n.
5. overheat V.
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