Could This Tiny Electric Vehicle Change Transportation Forever?
By: Shannon Dybvig
A tiny company in Palo Alto, California, founded by some Stanford University students has the potential to change the way we travel.
Boosted Boards has introduced a prototype of what it’s calling “the lightest electric vehicle that’s ever been made”–a longboard electric skateboard that the company hopes will easily and quickly transport commuters from wherever their bus or train stops to wherever it is they actually want to be.
“The last mile of transportation is this huge problem that hasn’t been solved yet,” Boosted Boards co-founder Sanjay Dastoor said in the company’s promotional video below. “Once you get off of a public transit system, whether it’s a bus or a train or anything else, how do you get along that last mile to your destination? What Boosted Boards does is gives you a really portable vehicle that you can use in conjunction with public transit.”
So far, the company is still working on prototypes, which weigh 12 to 15 pounds, can climb hills with grades as steep as 15 percent, go as fast as 20 mph, and last for six miles without being recharged.
The board’s throttle and braking are all controlled with a little hand-held remote that’s worn on the thumb. And, unlike other electric skateboards, there’s room to grip underneath if you’re looking to do any fancy tricks. The braking system is also regenerative, charging the battery a bit with every stop. If you do drain the battery and don’t want to wait two hours to recharge, the board will still work like a regular skateboard, offering just a touch more resistance.
It appears as if the small company has a lot of support. It’s partnered with longboard skateboard maker Loaded Boards and is consulting with a former director of engineering at electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors; Dastoor says he hopes the consultant will help the company avoid some of the common mistakes that young hardware companies make when they bring a product to market.
Nevertheless, Dastoor says that making a product like an electric longboard skateboard is extremely expensive, which is why the company has asked for pledges via online pledging system Kickstarter. So far, the company has raised more than $180,000, with 80 people (and counting) pledging the $1,199 required to receive a board by next June.