July 1, 2014

Photo credit: old_skool_paul via flickr.

‘Boosted’ Skateboards: New Commuting Tool?

Small electric motors on bikes have been a boon for bicycle commuters – Europeans are buying about 20 million e-bikes each year, while in the slower-to-grow U.S. markets it is estimated that about 90,000 e-bikes were imported in 2013.

Photo credit: Amy via flickr.

Now a tiny version of the electric motor is finding its way to a more offbeat commuting mode: the skateboard. Most people consider skateboards as only popular amongst teens and younger kids.

But there’s a vein of older skateboarders who are relying on their boards for transport, and the Wall Street Journal says nearly a dozen skateboard manufacturers are now putting out electric-powered boards aimed at “urban professionals who don’t want to drive to work.”

These people want to get from point A to point B in the most effective and efficient way possible, sometimes combining a short skateboard trip with a train or subway trip. Some college campuses have even begun to install racks where skateboards can be locked up.

Some of the new e-skateboards, like the Boosted Board, are wirelessly controlled by handheld remotes; others like ZBoard have foot-activated power, while the older generation like E-Glide have a handheld controller attached by wire to the bottom.

This new crop of e-skateboards is not cheap – most cost between $1,000 and up to $2,000. That might be too much for many skateboarders to ever consider dropping for a board. But for those who still want to skate even if it is just getting to work in the morning, the e-skateboards must have some appeal – both Boosted and ZBoard were far over-funded in their Kickstarter campaigns.

As one commenter to the Wall Street Journal article noted:

“I’ve had a Z-Board since January and bought it to commute. The convenience of electric is for when I want to go faster and not break a sweat on my way to work.”

The Nutcase recent introduction of its Gen3 line is ASTM F1492 certified for skating.