Turns out, the design problems involved in mounting an adequately powerful motor and its battery onto a slim slab of wood are not easily solved. It took the crew at Boosted Boards several years of experimentation with a series of decreasingly dangerous prototypes to get this particular board rolling.
Speed is controlled with a hand-held remote. It has a dead-man trigger under your index finger and a back-to-front, spring-loaded throttle rocker under your thumb. Push the throttle forward to go. Push backwards to slow down and stop. Another neat detail: When you’re slowing down, the motor regeneratively charges the battery.
It’ll carry at least 250 pounds. I weigh 240, and I felt like the acceleration was pretty good when I tested it. I also had no problems going up and down modest hills. Anyway, it’s the deceleration that really takes some getting used to—you learn to bend your knees and lower your center of gravity before engaging the reverse drive. Otherwise, you’ll tip off of it. Top speed is 20 mph. There’s a governor on it, so it can probably go much faster, but 20 feels pretty damn fast. In most situations, I was comfortable cruising at closer to half that speed. It’s not as maneuverable as a regular street-style skateboard—there’s no kick tail, so you can’t kick-turn. It takes some practice, but it sure is a blast.
The range is roughly six miles, depending on hills and how much of a fat-ass you are. Of course, you can always just push it like a regular longboard, so you can’t get stranded when the motor runs out. In all, it’s a very fun, freeing vehicle and an excellent way of getting around town if you’ve got to go a few miles and you’re not a bike person (or a Segway person).
It’s also pricey. Each board costs $2,000. And that’s the other big reason you don’t see motorized skateboards everywhere: The good old non-motorized version of the same thing costs about 20 times less. But if want to roll into the battery-powered future, you can pre-order one on the company’s website.