Lightweight, Hill-Climbing Electric Longboard Takes Off

Barely a couple of days into its month-long run on Kickstarter, a powered longboard that bills itself as the “world lightest electric vehicle” has smashed through its funding target of $100,000.

What’s driving the fervor? Boosted Boards says its electric skateboard will offer 2000 watts of power – 2.6 horsepower – on a 12-pound longboard, making it both muscular enough and svelte enough to allow you to “do your favorite downhill tricks … going uphill.”

Boosted Boards electric skateboard

image via Boosted Boards/Kickstarter

But the company isn’t mainly marketing the board for the fun it will provide – Boosted Boards’ founders think it can fill real transportation needs.

For instance: “The last mile of transportation is this huge problem that hasn’t been solved yet,” one of the trio of collaborators says in their video. “Once you get off a public transit system, whether it’s a bus, train or anything else, how do you get along that last mile to your destination? Boosted Boards gives you a really portable vehicle that you can use in conjunction with public transit.”

The Boosted Boards guys say a typical unboosted board weighs about 8 pounds, so their machinery — which they say can power you up a 15 percent incline (although that might depend on your girth) — only adds 4 pounds to the package. How does that compare to other electric boards? Well, the lightest ones we’ve heard about are the Metroboards from Kef Tech; they check in around 18 pounds, which Kef Tech notes is quite a bit less than “the competition’s bulky 50 pounders!”

Top speed on a Boosted Board is listed at 20 mph, while the lithium ion battery will charge fully in two hours and allow for a range of 6 miles (helped by regenerative braking), the company says.

According to the Kickstarter listing, the board is operated by a handheld remote that comes with throttle, braking control and battery gauge readout. The company emphasizes this is no pie-in-the-sky idea – it has built and revised and improved 10 prototypes, incorporating feedback from early customers. And it has hefty partners, like Loaded.

The goal now is to bring the Boosted Board to production, and apparently the world is ready. As of this afternoon, 92 people had pledged from $1,099 to $1,199 in return for the promise of receiving a board late next spring.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.