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Boosted’s v2 electric skateboards go 12 miles with swappable batteries

TechCrunch TechCrunch 19/05/2016 Josh Constine

The Boosted Board is the best electric skateboard on the market, but it’s biggest flaw a troublingly low range of 6 miles. Today, Boosted opened pre-orders of its Gen 2 boards for $999 to $1599, solving the problem with extended and swappable battery options that let them go almost twice as far.

For $99 extra you can upgrade from a 7-mile to a 12-mile battery, or you can buy an extra standard battery for $299 or extended for $399. By Boosting the range, the startup’s skateboards can evolve from last-mile commuting tools to better replacements for a bike or car.

Launched out of Y Combinator Kickstarter in 2012, Boosted Boards makes electric longboards controlled with a handheld wireless remote. Depending on the model, they can go up to 22 mph. The belt-driven motor can power you up even steep hills. And the regenerative brakes let you slow down quickly or coast down steep hills at a comfortable speed.

Boosted Boards has raised two seed rounds from SV Angel, Rothenberg Ventures, and others, plus a Series A led by Slow Ventures. It released an upgraded Dual+ Pro board in 2014, but this is it’s big second product push. The Gen 2 boards also got some other cool new features:

  • Accessory Port – so you can plug in onboard headlights and taillights, or charge your phone
  • Improved Water Resistance – so you can handle hitting the odd puddle or damp street, though you still shouldn’t ride in the rain or through significant standing water
  • Stronger, More Secure Connectivity – to prevent your handheld remote from disconnecting from the board if you hit a Bluetooth interference, and protect you from hackers
  • Better Deck, Wheels, And Drivetrain – for a smoother ride on a lighter board, plus better carving, torque, braking, acceleration, and hill climbing
  • Modular, User-Swappable Components – so you can customize, upgrade, and repair your board
  • International Sales Approval – so you can finally buy one no matter where you live

The improved security is especially important after Wired reported last year that researchers discovered they could hack the Boosted Board over Bluetooth and take control of it. That could let someone slam on the brakes while you’re riding.

Here’s the updated line of boards, which you can reserve with an $100 downpayment:

  • Boosted Board Single – Top Speed: 18 mph – Standard Range: 8 miles for $999, Extended Range: 14 miles for $1099
  • Boosted Board Dual – Top Speed: 20 mph – Standard Range: 7 miles for $1299, Extended Range: 12 miles for $1399
  • Boosted Board Single – Top Speed: 22 mph – Standard Range: 7 miles for $1499, Extended Range: 12 miles for $1599

With battery life improved, the biggest problem with owning a Boosted Board is the risk of hurting yourself. The extra speed electric skateboards provide mean that if you get in an accident, you’re going down fast.

I learned the hard way.

After 13 years of longboarding and 2.5 on my Boosted without injury, a giant pothole swallowed me up. I seriously broke my ankle. I know plenty of other people who’ve hurt themselves too. In almost all cases, the problem was either an inexperienced rider, a swerving car, or an unexpected road obstacle. But going 20 mph instead of around 12 on an unpowered board meant those crashes caused broken arms, collar bones, and more.

I’ve tried several other electric skateboards and Boosted’s are the best not because of the specs, but the more subtle but critical mapping of the controller to the board. It accelerates and brakes more smoothly, and is more responsive than any of the other boards.

If you want an electric skateboard, the Boosted Dual or Dual+ is the way to go. But just because you have the power to go faster, doesn’t mean you always should.

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