Segway turned a lot of heads when it unveiled its latest transportation innovation – the S-Pod Scooter — at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Unlike anything else Segway has previously produced, the unconventional S-Pod Scooter left most reviewers scratching their heads. They have struggled to describe exactly what the contraption is. And what it is not.
Some journalists in attendance referred to it as an “egg.” Others openly mocked it for resembling the hoverchairs from Wall-E. For its part, the company refers to the S-Pod as a “personal transporting pod.” They claim the scooter was inspired by the “Gyrosphere” transportation devices seen in the Jurassic World movies. Most reviews seem to agree that the S-Pod is mostly akin to an electric wheelchair. Regardless of how it is described, here is everything you need to know about the futuristic transport known as the S-Pod Scooter.
The S-Pod Is A Self-Balancing Vehicle
Segway has built its global brand on creating self-balancing vehicles. In the past, Segway has found success with a line of scooters that people can stand and balance on. They simply move with the forward or backward motions of their legs. The new S-Pod Scooter is essentially a sit-down version of the classic Segway. The S-Pod utilizes the same gyroscopic self-balancing technology as the stand-up models. The primary difference is that you get to sit down on the S-Pod.
It Tops Out at 24 MPH
The S-Pod is faster than previous Segway scooters. It can move at speeds of up to 24 mph. However, you can’t lean forward or backward to control your speed in the S-Pod. Instead the S-Pod uses an “adaptive center-of-gravity automatic control system” to enable the passenger to adjust the speed by handling the knob to change the center of gravity in the pod. Sounds easy enough, right? There are extra smaller wheels on the S-Pod that enable it to rest when it’s not moving.
With that kind of speed, you won’t see the S-Pod on roads or highways with other vehicles. You may ask yourself why Autoversed, a self-proclaimed car website, is even covering the S-Pod. The answer is simple. Although very unconventional, the S-Pod is technically a electric vehicle. We know it’s a smaller, under-powered one compared to the likes of Tesla. However, it’s unique enough to merit a closer look by us.
Given its speed limitations, you shouldn’t expect to see S-Pod Scooters all over the place. It’s a highly specialized product. According to Segway, the S-Pod is meant to be used primarily at theme parks, college campuses, high-tech corporate campuses, and other pedestrian friendly environments. For those with mobility issues (or extreme laziness), the option to not walk from location to location will be a welcome one. Segway has said that it anticipates seniors being a key demographic for the S-Pod Scooter. Time will tell.
Range and Limitations
In terms of specs, the S-Pod can support up to 330 pounds. It will travel 43.5 miles (70 km) before its battery needs to be recharged. It can also travel up a 10-degree incline. Segway says it will offer safety videos to help show consumers how to safely operate it without hurting themselves or other people. It should be noted that the S-Pod does come with a helmet. Segway recommends that operators use one at all times.
While Segway was keen to show off the S-Pod at CES, they have so far refused to even hint at what the vehicle will cost. Segway did announce that the S-Pod will officially debut in the third quarter of 2020, though. Consumer sales are likely to start in early 2021. However, the exact pricing will be revealed closer to the scooter’s official launch. Given the S-Pod’s uniqueness, it’s difficult to even guess what it will cost. It’s not like there are similar vehicles to compare it to. Segway’s current most expensive product is the Loomo, a self-balancing scooter with computer vision and voice commands. It costs $1,800. If we had to guess, the S-Pod will be at least that much. Probably more.
The Last Word
While the S-Pod is being hilariously compared to the Buy-N-Large hover chairs from Wall-E, there’s no denying that it’s a unique vehicle. While it might be scoffed at by many people for further contributing to the downfall of mankind, that seems a little harsh. The S-Pod still has some appeal. No, it’s not meant for perfectly healthy people with zero mobility issues. They can walk, bike, or skateboard around as they please. However, for the elderly, disabled, or anyone else who can’t handle a whole day of walking around Disney World (or their college campus, for that matter), the S-Pod could be a huge boost. You may not get exercise in the S-Pod, but you’ll definitely get to where you want to go. The future is now!