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Gadgets

Segway on hire-purchase: only daredevils need apply

Americans will now be offered a loan to help buy the frankly bonkers upright electric scooter, but will it ever catch on like the Vespa?

In Italy, it's hard to cross a road without getting run over by a speeding Vespa. Cars have to jostle for space next to the stream of brightly coloured scooters that transport a cross-section of Italian society from A to B.

Segway may have had a similar vision for it's upright electric scooters in America, but they still remain a curiosity in the land of car addicts. The Crave team has collectively had only a handful of sightings of the Segway Human Transporter, despite frequent trips across the Atlantic.

Segway is now hoping to boost its sales through the launch of its first financing programme. The scheme, which is being managed by the consumer financing arm of General Electric, will let consumers take out loans for the scooters. For example, someone buying a Segway HT i180 (pictured) would be able to pay off the $4,995 (£2,650) price with monthly payments of $125, although there was no word on how much interest they'd end up paying.

But Crave thinks it unlikely that such a scheme will make too much of a difference. The Segway is hardly the epitomy of cool -- even if you've got enough Segway-owning mates to make a polo team. The 40km range of the scooter is only useful for commuters who live a short distance from work and don't need to go on a motorway to get there. We'd rather have a Vespa. -IM