UCSB alumnus Sho Takahashi is one of the founders of a new company called Boosted Boards, which is aiming to raise $500,000 through a Kickstarter campaign in order to manufacture lightweight electric-powered longboards.
The group designed the board by adding small motors to the underside of a Loaded longboard next to each truck and outfitted it with a handheld remote control and regenerative braking, allowing the board to reach speeds of up to 20 mph. After the Kickstarter campaign reached its initial goal of raising $100,000 the same day it debuted a few weeks ago, the company extended the goal to $500,000 in order to fund the production of spare rechargeable batteries to allow the board to travel greater distances. As of Sunday evening, the total amount of contributions was about $400,000.
According to Boosted Co-Founder Matthew Tran, the team consulted the Chief Engineer at electric car company Tesla Motors and formed a partnership with Loaded boards in order to produce the original design. Tran said the goal was to create a product that had the same feel as a manual longboard with the same turning capabilities, but with an extra boost of power, which can be especially helpful when going uphill.
“We are into robotics and motors and we saw that the technology was getting somewhere where we can make something really powerful and lightweight. It’s not only something that’s fun but it’s also something that’s really practical as a last-mile vehicle,” Tran said.
While the remote control on the prototype is made from a Nintendo Wii controller, Tran said the final product will include a finger-ring controller that will adjust the speed and monitor the battery level. The board can run for about six miles on one battery, but Tran said once the rechargeable battery is developed, it will allow the user to travel twice that distance with the power of one 1.5-pound battery.
Takashami said the board is best used in combination with public transportation to reach destinations off the common bus routes.
“With this combined with the bus, you can get pretty much anywhere in Santa Barbara,” Takashami said. “It’s really designed to be an urban commuting tool.”
The board costs $1,200 to pre-order, but Tran said the steep price tag is necessary in order to maintain the quality of the boards.
“We use premium components — everything is top of the line. …We haven’t compromised on the performance at all,” Tran said. “This is what we would do if we were able to have all the money we wanted to make the sweetest ride possible.”
The team visited UCSB last Friday to promote the new board and demonstrate the prototype to students — one of the product’s major target demographics, according to Takashami. While there are currently only 10 prototypes of the board in existence, Takashimi said there are currently 300 orders in and the company will begin production soon after they reach their $500,000 goal.