Boosted has just announced the second generation of its popular (and pricey) electric skateboard. The new version looks almost exactly the same as the original, but it offers swappable batteries (including longer-range options), a better Bluetooth connection with the remote, and a water-resistant build. Preorders start today, and the first units will start shipping to almost 20 different countries in eight weeks.
The California-based company started selling three versions of its electric skateboard back in November of 2014, with each coming at a different price and offering different combinations of electric motors (and, in turn, range and top speed). The company is sticking to that strategy with this second-generation board, and the pricing structure more or less remains the same. The new Boosted Single (which has just one electric motor) will still cost $999, the Dual (two motors) again runs $1,299, and the Dual+ (two more powerful motors) comes with the same price tag of $1,499. The first-generation versions of these models will be discontinued.
The most important change in the second-generation board is the battery that powers Boosted's boards will be interchangeable, and the company will also sell "extended range" batteries. For $100 more, buyers of any version of the Boosted Board can get a beefier, 199WH battery that effectively doubles the board's range. (The Boosted Single can last up to 14 miles with the extended-range battery, and the Dual and Dual+ top out at 12.) Boosted will also start selling these batteries separately — the standard 99WH version will cost $299, and the extended-range version will run $399.
It's a very welcome move considering battery capacity and range were one of the biggest drawbacks of Boosted's otherwise excellent boards. In fact, Boosted founder Sanjay Dastoor tells The Verge that "the single biggest feature request that we’ve gotten from any customer is more range."
The idea of spending even more money on a Boosted Board won't be the most attractive idea to many, but the ability to change batteries on the fly — or just buy a bigger one to begin with — means riders will now have a few options for extending their board's range.
Dastoor says the extended-range battery weighs about 350 grams (or about three-quarters of a pound) more than the standard version, and is about 8mm thicker. The wheels are also a little bigger this time around, measuring 80mm versus 75mm. But Dastoor says the new boards have lighter drivetrains which should keep them from weighing much more than their predecessors.
The only other cosmetic change is the addition of two power ports — one in the front and one in the back — that Dastoor says is meant to foster the burgeoning DIY modifications that Boosted users are already performing. The ports allow for easier access to a board's power, meaning customers will have to do less work if they want to rig up things like on-board lights. It also opens up a new way for Boosted to make some more money should the company decide to make its own accessories for these ports. "We’re excited about both of those," Dastoor says.
Another big improvement to the new generation of Boosteds is that the new boards are now water-resistant. The electronics and the drivetrain are now better protected, but Dastoor says this is more for peace of mind. "It’s really meant to make sure that you’re not going to damage the board significantly with a puddle or some light drizzling," he says, "but it’s still something that we still don’t recommend riding in the rain."
Lots of little fixes should make a good board even better
The Boosted team also made a much-needed improvement to the boards' Bluetooth capabilities. There are now two Bluetooth radios in the board — the previous versions only had one, which meant you could only connect one device (your phone or the remote) to the board at a time. Building in two radios takes away the need to constantly disconnect and connect those devices, and also opens up opportunities for things like ride-tracking using your phone or live telemetry on something like an Apple Watch, according to Dastoor. The radios themselves are also stronger this time around, which should help cut down on one of the only real dangers of the previous version of the board — the occasional mid-ride dropping of the connection between the remote and the board.
The second-generation Boosted Board takes what was already a category-leading product and appears to make it even better. It was already hard to find major problems with the company's previous board, and the new version addresses all the known inconveniences like range, lack of water-resistance, and a sometimes-sketchy Bluetooth connection. The only nagging issue that remains now is price — so here's hoping that changes in generation three.