General Question

jazzjeppe's avatar

Why are Segways so expencive? What's in them that costs so much?

Asked by jazzjeppe (2598points) December 18th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

It is the same reason MRI machines are expensive. The research and development was really expensive and they don’t make many of them. They have to be expensive to break-even.

And I don’t think the Segway would really catch on even if the price was lower. So economies of scale wouldn’t really come into play.

edit :: More specifically, nothing inside a Segway is expensive to make. It is just expensive to only make a 1000 of them.

dynamicduo's avatar

Advanced technology is what’s in them that makes it so expensive. The technology itself is not the valuable part, but it represents the research and development funds that were put in to create that part. That and limited demand means they cannot make it cheaper by means of economics of scale as johnpowell eloquently put.

robmandu's avatar

@jazzjeppe, you do understand that they frickin’ stand and balance on their own with just two wheels, right?

Lower-priced offerings from competitors universally rely on having 3 or more wheels so they don’t hafta pull off that balancing act.

So the Segway therefore offers a more compact package with significantly more technological underpinnings.

I do think they were hoping for economies of scale originally… but it never materialized. So now they’re mainly focused on government and commercial contracts. Like this.

jazzjeppe's avatar

@rob, yeah I think I know how they work, hence the question. Standig and balancing on two wheels seems to be rather…well…inexpencive…

robmandu's avatar

It’s not.

Oh, and get yourself an s when you get a chance. They’re on sale.

jazzjeppe's avatar

Sure, if you go buy some good old fashioned friendlyness…No wait, that’s free.

robmandu's avatar

Here’s an idea… go and explore the technology as explained on the Segway site and elsewhere 1, 2.

Then come back here and ‘splain how you’d do it so much cheaper.

And we can all discuss the engineering merits of your proposals. That’d be fun.

jazzjeppe's avatar

Yeah, I will do that. Thanks for your time and effort, Sir. Much appreciated! I shall look for cheap S aswell. I will now retire to that rock I came crawling out from and think about all the bad things I have done and what a bad person I am. Shame on my for asking questions here! Won’t happen again. My sincere appology to you Sir!

Bye and Merry Christmas!

jazzjeppe's avatar

Oh look, I need to buy me an E aswell…god I suck…

jrpowell's avatar

Rob, I think what we are trying to say is that the individual parts aren’t expensive to make. It is like saying you could buy everything used to chemically make a human for 50$ at the scientific supply store.

The Segway is 99% software.

robmandu's avatar

@jp, I think you’re right in that many of the concepts employed in the manufacture are basic electronics. However, I’ll disagree that they’re cheap to acquire. To your earlier point, they didn’t use off-the-shelf components. They had to custom create many of the physical elements: from the circuit boards to the gyros to the batteries and even the electric motors. I think even the tires use a custom compound.

riversmonster's avatar

Regardless of the cost involved in R&D they sell these to the government for over $10k each so I think they can afford to help the American
public out with a little price break. Further more alot of the technology they claim to have invented is from the US military from guns that self balance on helicopters this is actually very cheap technology that involves a series of liquid switches.

riversmonster's avatar

Robmandu must like Segway because there tires are far from special they are actually made in china and you can now get them in camo and many color choices. These are the same tires you find on the little $100 Chinese motor bikes and wheelers.

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