How do yall think this will fly in Birmingham?
Segway sets up Southside shop
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
News staff writer
A seller of Segway, the hot two-wheel transport, has decided to give Birmingham a whirl.
Segway of Birmingham has settled at 1516 20th St. South, becoming the first dealership in the state for the electric vehicles.
Rafael Cabello decided to open the Birmingham location after being part of a similar operation in Clearwater, Fla.
"I feel Birmingham is really cosmopolitan, with people who are really interested in new technology," Cabello said.
How they work:
The Southside sales center allows Cabello to give potential buyers a "test drive" after about five minutes of instruction.
The electric, self-balancing Segway moves with the driver as he or she leans forward and stops or reverses by leaning backward. Steering can be done with a twist of a device on the handlebars.
The vehicles travel up to 12.5 miles per hour and can travel on sidewalks, inside buildings, on golf courses and virtually anywhere. They are available in all-terrain and regular versions.
Prices range from $4,500 to more than $5,500. A number of accessories and add-ons can push the price higher.
With lithium batteries that can be recharged, Segway could be coming to town at just the right time with gas prices on the rise.
Cabello said it costs about 10 cents per day to recharge the battery, which has an energy efficiency equivalent to 450 miles per gallon.
Business and pleasure:
Urban dwellers, short-term commuters and students are among targeted customers. Suburbanites, those who live on golf courses and farmers are others.
But the larger market could be commercial customers, Cabello said.
"Police and security personnel, airport workers, automotive plants like Mercedes, meter readers, warehouse workers and postal employees can benefit from using Segways," he said, adding he plans to call on a number of businesses in the area to make a pitch.
Cabello said the elderly and certain handicapped people also have benefited from the Segway. An attachment for trucks makes it easy to load and transport a unit anywhere, he said.
Segways are growing more popular in large pedestrian cities, so much so that some cities are considering passing special laws to accommodate their use.
In addition to Segways, Cabello's dealership is carrying Tidal Force electric bicycles, which sell for $2,100 to $2,900 each. Police and security organizations are interested in those as well, he said.
"We're selling things that are not only fun new technologies, but they have great uses," he said.
For now, Segway of Birmingham is taking customers by appointment only. Scheduling can be made by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org