March 1, 2005 10:18 AM PST

Segway takes to rough terrain

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Segway launched three new models on Tuesday of its personal mobility device, the Human Transporter, including a cross-country version and one designed for golf courses.

The three vehicles--the Cross-Terrain Transporter (XT), the Golf Transporter (GT) and the HT i180--can come powered by new lithium ion batteries, developed with help from Valence Technology. The batteries are designed to extend the range of the vehicles to up to 24 miles on a single charge, subject to factors like terrain and payload, the company said.

After the initial hype surrounding the launch of the Human Transporter more than two years ago, the response to the vehicle has been rather lukewarm. Ron Bills left his posts as company president and CEO in November last year, even as Segway unveiled plans for a four-wheeled version of the Human Transporter for recreational purposes.

The XT vehicle is designed for riding in off-pavement environments. It has all-terrain tires, a new fender design and specially tuned software. It gets about 10 miles per battery charge, depending on the terrain, riding style and payload, according to the manufacturer. It is expected to be available in April, starting at about $4,995.

Segway's GT model comes fitted with a golf bag carrier and tires with deeper traction. The carrier functions as a stand for the vehicle, which comes with a standby key so that it can stay switched on while the rider takes a shot. The unit gets up to 14 miles per charge on the course and from 15 to 22 miles on the road, Segway said.

The GT is set to ship in April for $5,495. The GT's golf bag carrier will also be sold as an add-on for Segway HT i Series models, at a price of $349, the company said.

Also set for release is the new HT i180, which will come in three color combinations: midnight blue, midnight blue/solar yellow and midnight blue/sport red, the company said. The models feature black wheels and movable silver splashguards on the fenders, designed to let riders customize the look of the HT.

The i180 should be on sale in April with new lithium ion batteries for about $4,995, and with nickel-metal hydride batteries for $4,495. The lithium ion batteries will also be sold separately for use on earlier versions of the Human Transporter, at a price of $1,395.

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