On a perfect weekend day at Boston Common, you could see lots of people taking in the sights on foot, but what stood out were the few people weaving their way through the area on Segway scooters.
That’s how Segway-Ninebot wants it, according to company representatives, who see their electronics as a short-distance alternative to cars, public transportation and even walking in urban cities like Boston.
Segway vice president of sales Tom Hebert says it’s also not hurting sales, as soaring gas prices are prompting consumers to look for different ways to get around.
“What we love to do is not just talk about great products, but show that you can actually ride and use, and frankly, trust that the Segway product will be there for you when you need it,” said Hebert said.
“What our consumers find and use our product for is the daily commute. They depend on Segway products to be able to transport them from work to home, or from work to play, or from home to the grocery store.
It’s a pitch the company – formerly known as New Hampshire-based Segway, Inc., before it was acquired by Chinese firm Ninebot in 2015 – has been making for more than two decades. When his iconic two-wheeled personal transporter, Segway HT, was launched in 2001, company founder Dean Kamen promised it would revolutionize urban transportation.
But two years ago, Segway announced it would cease production of the model, later called the Segway PT, which the AP said accounted for less than 1.5% of its revenue in 2019, despite it has become a staple among law enforcement and the tourism industry.
The company has matured in its product line since its inception, Hebert said, and is making another push to try to sell the new Segway as a reliable option in cities like Boston, which face transit challenges and parking.
It’s banking on a social media-friendly campaign, “Segway Across America,” now in its third year, which sees an influencer ride a Segway across part of the country.
This year, 22-year-old Instagram influencer Yasmine Ashley is traveling more than 1,400 miles from Niagara Falls, NY, to Miami, Florida on an E110A eScooter, Segway’s latest product that was announced in March.
The campaign’s “East Coast Edition” made its second of four planned stops in Everett on Saturday, where the public had a chance to test out the Segway product line, but not the E110A, which was only parked for cosmetic purposes to a pop-up tent outside of Best Buy.
Lien Chen, Marketing Director at Segway, said Ashley was chosen for this year’s challenge because of her commitment to sustainability, which aligns with the company’s mission.
“Being from the West Coast, I don’t often go on adventures along the East Coast,” said Ashley, a San Diego-based beach and surfing enthusiast. “It’s long, but I’m excited for all the places I visit along the way.”