The Segway was by most accounts was a success and a failure. Bridging that gap – at a much, much lower cost mind you – is the Z-Board.
At first blush, it looks like your everyday electric skateboard. Peer a bit closer though, and you’ll notice that it’s devoid of a wired throttle control. Instead the Z-Board uses a set of footpads to accelerate and brake. Just step on the front one and lean to accelerate, and do so conversely to brake. Each pad is weight sensitive so the more you lean the faster you’ll travel (or brake).
Underneath the board is a 400w motor, which is capable of rocketing a rider forward at up to 15 mph for a maximum of 5 miles. Z-Board has plans for a Pro version, which will include a higher end battery that weighs just 30lbs (7 lbs less than the standard battery) and doubles its range (10 miles). Charging takes about 5 hours off your standard 110v wall socket and expect to get about 250 recharge cycles before you have to order a replacement. A set of rugged wheels are included for “off roading,” though dashing through mud, let alone any water is not a good idea. In fact, they recommend you avoid large puddles or riding it in the rain – understandable.
The Z-Board is capable of stopping a rider going down a hill, which in turn will charge the battery thanks to a regenerative braking system. That said, we don’t think there will be anything that will stop these things from “flying off the shelves,” because at $400 who wouldn’t want one (anyone over 225lbs – their recommended weight limit).
The classic version of Z-Board will retail for $599, though if you act now you can grab one for $499, where upon it will ship early April 2012.