Segway, makers of the revolutionary electric personal vehicle, are now owned by British millionaire, Jimi Heselden, an investor in the company’s UK dealership.
In a blog post on the Segway website last Thursday, the company confirmed that Heselden had bought out the former American owner with the deal being finalised a couple of weeks earlier on Christmas Eve.
Heselden, chairman of Hesco Bastion, a company that makes ‘Concertainer’ units for flood and blast protection, used primarily by the military and humanitarian agencies, is claimed by the Sunday Times’ rich list to be worth in excess of £214m.
The two-wheeled, gyroscopically ballanced electric personal vehicles (EPVs) caught imaginations and looked set to change the world when they were first launched in 2001 by their inventor Dean Kamen. Initially code-named Project Ginger, rumours and information surrounding the Segway circled the internet with more hype and interest than the current speculation of an Apple tablet.
One of the key aspects to the hype surrounding the Segway’s unveiling was the investment of one Steve Jobs who is claimed to have stated that Segways would change the shape of cities and be more important than the PC.
Despite the anticipation and such comments from tech leaders, Segways have never reached their commercial potential. Notably used to scoot portly American cops around as they fight fitness as well as crime and to give us a few laughs as images of President George W. Bush and Piers Morgan both falling from the machines reach the internet, Segways have never made it as a norm of everyday life.
The emergence of this British takeover comes following a government announcement that a consultation into the feasibility of letting EPVs onto public roads and cycle tracks will be held as at present, EPVs can only legally be driven on private land in the UK.