New Boosted Boards have more affordable shortboard and better batteries
The four skateboards are really just two form factors with two variants. There are two new longboards, the Boosted Plus and higher-end Boosted Stealth, and two shortboards, the Boosted Mini S and upgraded Boosted Mini X.
The Boosted Plus is the closest thing to a "flagship" skateboard here; it's more or less an updated version of the company's existing Dual+ longboard. It looks very similar, save for a slightly redesigned deck with a less prominent logo, but makes the "extended range" battery Boosted introduced as an add-on last year standard. Boosted says the Plus will go up to 14 miles before running out of charge as a result; that's two miles more than the add-on battery's original rating.
The rest of the specs are similar to before: Boosted says the Plus can still go up to 22mph and climb hills with a 25-percent grade. The included remote hasn't changed, the board is still 38 inches long, and it'll have the usual four "ride modes" that gradually increase the board's maximum speed and acceleration. A "beginner" mode caps you at 11mph and prevents you from going up hills, an "eco" mode bumps that to 16mph and small hills, and so on. Boosted says the Plus and any other board with an extended-range battery will take an hour and 45 minutes to fully recharge, which is relatively quick. It still uses regenerative braking, meaning it recharges the battery using the energy you create while braking.
Besides the more powerful battery, the other big change Boosted is touting across its lineup is the fact that it has designed each component of the new boards in-house. Previously, it sourced its decks and wheels from third parties. Much of it looks the same, but Boosted says it has reworked the trucks—the little metal rods that hold the wheels in place, in non-skateboard parlance—with sturdier aluminum, lightened and slightly reinforced the decks (they now mainly consist of poplar wood instead of the traditional bamboo), and softened the wheels while slightly increasing their size on the longboards. The idea is to make each board more durable and easier to handle on bumpy terrain—and less likely to have any repeat battery issues—but we'll have to see how that holds up.
All of this means the Plus should remain a powerful and accessible electric skateboard. It'll also be fairly expensive, though, at $1,399. That's $100 less than the Dual+'s initial starting point—and the same as a Dual+ with an extended-range battery equipped—but likely still prohibitive for many. That said, like every new board here, the Plus can be paid over the course of 12 monthly installments. There's a six-month manufacturing warranty on each board as well.
The Boosted Stealth, meanwhile, is a minor performance upgrade on the Plus. It adds a fifth "Hyper" riding mode that increases the board's max speed to 24mph and comes in an all-black finish. It's even pricier, though, at $1,599.
Boosted's new shortboards may be a bit more welcoming to newbies, but they're not just condensed versions of the Plus and Stealth. The Boosted Mini S is the new entry-level option: it costs $749 and bumps the specs down a fair amount. Boosted says the Mini S can go up to 18mph, climb hills with a 20-percent grade, and use three different ride modes. The company says it'll only get up to 7 miles on a charge, though, which is about the range of a Dual+ without an extended battery pack.
The Mini's design is different, too. Its deck is 29.5 inches long and has a concave shape that almost cups your feet into the board, which should make turning and maneuvering a bit more pronounced. There's a kicktail—i.e., an upward bendy bit—at the rear of the board to help with that, too. Its battery takes up almost the entire bottom of the board, so it doesn't have the same kind of flex as the longboards. Like the Plus and Stealth, though, it's a bit heavier than before: it weighs 15 pounds, while the two longboards weigh 17 pounds.
The Mini X, like the Stealth, is a performance bump at a higher price. It is designed the same as the Mini S, but it pops on the extended range battery to go up to 14 miles on a charge and reaches up to 20 miles per hour. It is a tad heavier, though, at 16.8 pounds. It'll go for $999, which, combined with its smaller size but not-super-downgraded specs, could make the Mini X the most well-rounded option here.
It'll come out a bit later than the others, though. Each new board is available through Boosted's website today. The company says the Mini S, Plus, and Stealth will start shipping in "late May/early June," while the Mini X will start later in June.
A niche, but a growing one
I took a short look at the Mini S, Plus, and Stealth earlier this month at a briefing in New York City but wasn't able to ride any. (A near-finished model of the Mini X wasn't ready in time to be showcased, Boosted said.) I did receive a test unit of the Mini S on Monday evening, however: that's not enough time for me to give any serious impressions—and I'm not exactly the most adept skateboarder in Queens—but after one ride it does seem to have the newbie-friendly feel of prior Boosted boards. We'll have more in the coming weeks.
The elephant in the room for many here is why people should pay $1,000 or more for a motorized skateboard. During my briefing, Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow reiterated many of the mantras Boosted has said for a few years now: that its devices are higher grade than most of the cheaper "electrified toys" on the market and thus justify any premium, that its boards are genuine vehicles, and that it's taking aim at the issue of "last-mile" transportation—trips to the store, that space between a subway ride and a destination, and so on. It portrays the boards as substitutes for taxis, Ubers, or bikes, things that require more waiting or more space.
That pitch has resonated with a good chunk of people in recent years, and Boosted has grown into something of the name brand in the electric skateboard market. Still, there's more effort (and upfront cost) involved here than hailing a cab. Russakow said that Boosted plans to eventually proceed into "additional form factors of light electric vehicles," with new device launches coming more frequently, but it declined to specify further. Russakow also declined to specify the size of the company's user base but said that its users have collectively ridden more than 10 million miles.
As for who should get these new boards, Russakow said the company doesn't think the more affordable shortboards will cannibalize its longboards, likening the two to a sedan and a sports car. "It's an entirely different segment of customer," he said.
That said, the new longboards here likely aren't enough of an upgrade for current Boosted customers to justify spending another $1,500 on a new device. Russakow said that roughly 80 percent of its current user base has ordered an extended-range battery since the accessory was introduced, though the company has had issues shipping units out to all of its customers in a timely fashion.
Boosted's new devices won't take away the safety concerns inherent to electric skateboards, and it's hard to see the company displacing tons more cabs any time soon. But the company's old boards generally performed well. These new ones should make buying in a little more accessible.