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Electric Skateboards from CES

Two lithium-ion powered boards that cruise up to 20mph

by Evan Orensten in Tech on 17 January 2012

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Nestled among the many iPhone gadgets and advanced home accessories at this year's CES were a couple of companies taking a less conventional approach in the realm of outdoor activity. We spotted a pair of electric skateboards for those seeking the thrill of riding one without exerting the necessary physical effort.

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The soon-to-launch ZBoard might be the closest thing to riding a regular skateboard, with an intuitive, hands-free electric motor that accelerates and decelerates as the rider adjusts their body weight forward or backward. The weight-sensing Pro board is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and can reach upwards of 17mph with a range of more than ten miles.

The Classic boasts a more modest set of specs, reaching 15mph with a range of five miles on sealed lead acid batteries. Both boards are kept under control by regenerative braking. ZBoard aims to launch their electric boards on 1 March 2012 with an impressive sticker price of $800 for the Pro and $500 for the Classic. Pre-order is now available with a $100 deposit.

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The more customizable Metroboard offers the rider the choice between shorter cruiser-style boards and standard long boards. By going with a 27" or 32" board the rider gains agility, while the longer 36" and 41" boards are more stable, but limited in their maneuverability. Metroboard equips all models with rechargeable lithium batteries that support a max speed of 19mph.

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Unlike ZBoard, Metroboard requires a wireless remote control to adjust speeds. This remote—closely resembling those for the Nintendo Wii—uses Bluetooth signals to communicate with the board beneath your feet. If you drop the remote while riding, the regenerative brakes automatically engage once the board is separated by more than 10 feet to prevent runaway boards. Depending upon the size, Metroboards are now available online for between $545 and $500.

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