San Francisco is a terrible focus group. Its primary demographic is young people with too much money and a deep, existential, bordering-on-bonkers affinity for technology. What they want–on-demand laundry services, screens all over their clothes and body, artificially-intelligent robots that will one day enslave us all–is rarely what everyone else wants.Still, though, it says something that when you look up hills and down avenues all over the Bay Area, you see a lot of Boosted Boards. People in suits going to either finance jobs or job interviews; people in hoodies going to their job as CEO of something; this one guy I saw in a bathing suit at 7:15 in the morning. This $1,000 electric skateboard, with a handheld trigger and a cool, bright orange Halloween color scheme, is the rideable of choice right now. That’s saying something, too: hoverboards came and went, there are countless versions of the self-balancing unicycle, and you can Razor your way around town for a lot less than a grand. But, at least here, it’s Boosted or bust.
Today, Boosted is announcing the next version of its board. It’s still called the Boosted Board–they treat the product’s lineage more like “The new MacBook Pro” than “The iPhone 6S Plus”–but it’s a new gadget. The biggest upgrade is the battery, which is now removable, and Boosted’s also selling a new extended battery that doubles its range. That would mean you can ride 14 miles on a charge, then swap in a new battery and keep going with only a moment’s stop. It’ll cost you, though: the extended battery costs $1001 extra up front, and you’ll pay $299 for a spare battery or $399 for a bigger spare. (It’s also three-quarters of a pound heavier.)
Conquering the Last Mile
For Boosted, which is trying to make a transportation device rather than a sick ride you take off jumps, range is really important. So is reliability: The board’s seals are now water-resistant, which means your ride won’t die the minute it starts sprinkling. And there’s a new accessory port, which Boosted is hoping will mean you can connect headlights and more. (Pimp my Boosted, anybody? No?) It also comes with bigger wheels–80mm diameter instead of 75mm–and trucks that are customized “for improved carving.” Which is good. Basically, it’s all designed to give you a smoother, faster, more controlled ride.
The new board is available for pre-orders now (it’ll ship in July), and for the first time is selling internationally. As before, it starts at $999 for the base model and goes all the way up to $1,599 for the Dual+ board with the extended battery. Boosted’s working on the same last-mile problem as a number of companies, and the idea is slowly starting to catch on. In San Francisco, anyway. (But everybody wore Google Glass here for a while, too, so what do we know?) Boosted is smart to not go after exciting, woah-brah kinds of updates. They’re about making it a no-brainer to ride this thing to work. The company wants you to be able to roll out of bed, throw on your shoes, blearily press down the trigger with your index finger, and let your board drag you to work the same way a BART train or Uber Pool might. That’s a vision anyone can get into. And increasingly, it’s a board they can get on as well.
1 UPDATE: A previous version of this story misstated the additional price of the new Boosted. It’s only $100 extra!