It looks like any other longboard…Yes, that’s the point. The Marbel is designed to be the lightest electric skateboard possible – an electric vehicle that doesn’t look like an electric vehicle, in other words. It’s just 4.5kg in weight and 30mm at its thickest point, yet it packs in a battery that’ll give you 10 miles of travel on a single charge.
How have its makers managed to pull that off?It uses carbon fibre and Kevlar, which has been moulded into a body shape. So it’s incredibly strong whilst maintaining a low weight. And the battery and electrics are all housed inside the body, so water and mud can’t get to them.
How fast can it go?Pretty darn fast. The 2000W motor can hit 20mph, even going uphill. Recognising that amateur skaters are likely to find that slightly scary, the Marbel’s creators have made it electronically limitable: you can use their DashBoard smartphone app (for iOS and Android) to set a maximum speed, which’ll also give you more economical performance.
The app also lets you control the board’s throttle and brake, but we imagine most people would rather use the handheld wireless remote, which features a physical throttle slider to adjust speed. You steer by leaning left or right.
And the battery can be charged anywhere?Indeed. The Marbel is designed to help people get to work and back, so the idea is you can ride into the office, plug the board in and ensure you have enough juice to get you home. It takes just 90 minutes to fully charge from empty.
Can I buy one now?Hmm, that’s going to be tricky. For one thing, it’s currently just a Kickstarter project, and you’ll need to pledge at least US$1,099 (£650) to secure one from the first production run – and that won’t be until November 2014. If you’re outside the US, you’ll need to pay for shipping, as well as customs and tax, so you’re looking at a big outlay.
Still, it'll save you a lot of money on bus tickets.