One of our followers on Facebook mentioned the ZBoard, a product we had not heard of before. We checked out their website (www.zboardshop.com) and were surprised to see an electric skateboard. Now, we’ve seen mountain boards, which are noisy gas-powered, monster tire-equipped snowboards for the summer, but the ZBoard is like their complacent, polar opposite cousin. Rather than use a pollutant-spewing two stroke gas motor, the ZBoard has a large battery underneath, and an electric motor. So far so good, but their team of engineers took things a step further, and added weight-sensing foot pads at either end. Put your weight into the front pad, and off you go, reaching speeds of up to 17 MPH. Step on the back pad to activate the regenerative braking, and not only will you slow down, but you’ll send some juice back to the battery.
Here it is in action:
Looks like fun, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, that fun doesn’t come cheap. The Classic model, which has the heavier lead acid battery, and weighs 37 pounds, has a somewhat limited range of about five miles. It will retail for $599. Step up to the Pro model, and you shave seven pounds with a lithium ion phosphate battery pack, which also doubles the range to about ten miles. It will set you back $849. Charging either battery takes fives hours, but the company claims that the carbon footprint is the equivalent of 1500 miles per gallon. That’s the part we like, even if we’re a bit unclear on how it was calculated. What we don’t like is that running the ZBoard at top speed, you’ll get between twenty and forty minutes of ride time, depending on how deep your wallet is.
We’re sure that ZBoard will sell well, despite the price tag. And if battery technology advances to the point where they can pack even more energy into the same size battery, and bring the price down a bit, expect to see similar products become more common. Next step, the hoverboard!
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