Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Boosted Electric Skateboard

Wired reports: [edited]

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.

Twin brushless motors sit at the back, where they spin the rear wheels by means of dual carbon belts — the same kind used in motorcycles and e-bikes. The motors get their juice from a 40-volt lithium ion phosphate battery mounted beneath the front of the board just behind the front trucks. The battery at front is connected to the motor in the back by means of a flat cable that runs the length of the bamboo deck.

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. I had no problems going up and down modest hills. It’s the deceleration that really takes some getting used to — bend your knees and lower your centre of gravity before engaging the reverse drive.

Top speed is governed at 20 mph. The range is roughly six miles, depending on hills. Of course, you can always just push it like a regular longboard, so you can’t get stranded when the motor runs out.

Price: $2,000.

Image: Ariel Zambelich

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