THIS BOARD SKATES ELECTRIC
To make it move, the rider just leans forward
ZBOARD has released two improved versions of its pioneering weight-sensing electric skateboards.
Slated to sell for over R11 000 before import taxes, these boards cost a lot, but then the young engineers at the California company do claim these are the world’s most advanced skateboards.
The young skaters say on their website they started their company while brainstorming for their senior project at the University of Southern California.
“Tired of bikes getting stolen and having to push skateboards up hills and over Los Angeles’ notoriously uneven streets, our goal was clear: design a device that is faster and easier to ride than a skateboard, and more fun and portable than a bike.”
The team is made up of mechanical engineers who spend almost as much time on boards as they do designing things on CAD, CNC machining the parts, programming the hardware and engineering the electrics.
The ZBoard’s deck includes front and rear foot pads. Each foot pad evaluates how much force the rider is applying and sends this information to the onboard micro-controller, which dictates the speed of the electric motor. Leaning forward moves the board in the same direction. Leaning back also starts regenerative braking to help recharge the lithium batteries.
The boards come with grab handles — which is handy as the entry-level board weighs 7,3 kg. It has a 26 km range and recharges in 1,5 hours. The ZBoard 2 Pearl, weighs about a kilogram more thanks to bigger batteries that give it a 40 km range and takes 2,5 hours to charge.
The ZBoard’s power button is surrounded by a multi-colour LED ring. The colour of this LED ring will change as the battery diminishes.
A 500 W brushless motor powers the board to a claimed top speed of 32 km/h. ZBoard say that the brushless motor provides a more natural coasting experience. LEDs up front lights the way forward while red LEDs at the back help to make the rider more visible. As with most LEDs, the riders can set the diodes to be on, off or flash. All the components are waterproof.
Aspiring buyers can place an order for a new board on crowdfunding, pledging from $949 (about R11 000) to receive a ZBoard 2 Blue and from $1 149 (about R13 400) to receive a ZBoard 2 Pearl.
The Zboard has grab-handles.