Electric Skateboards Hitting the Streets

By Michelle Macaluso Politics FOXBusiness

Electric Skateboards Hitting the Streets

Zip around on Electric Skateboards the ZBoard

MODESTO, Calif.- Skateboards have come a long way over the years, and now they've gone electric. 

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Electric skateboards have a battery-powered motor that allows you to move without having to use your foot to push. Intuitive Motion is one company making a unique electric skateboard: the ZBoard.

Founders Ben Forman and Geoff Larson started the ZBoard as a class project while they were mechanical engineering students in college.

"The ZBoard started as a project not a product. We were able to make it work and we did well in the class, and that motivated us to work outside of the class," said Larson.

Forman and Larson wanted to design something that would help with their difficult commute.

"The roads were really poor and bikes weren't that good because they would get stolen and you had to lock them up. Skateboards weren't that good because the roads were really poor and there was an incline," said Forman.

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Four years later the ZBoard is turning into a bustling business.

"Today we're building over 100 boards per week and 10% go internationally," said Forman.

ZBoard's manufacturing facility is in an industrial area in Modesto, Calif., and has a manufacturing team of five people.

"They're the ones who tighten every screw, make sure things are lined up so the boards are riding well, make sure it's good for the customers," said Forman.

ZBoards are different from other electric boards on the market because they doesn't have wires or a remote control, instead using footpad sensors to move.

"We had a lot of boards in the past that have had the hand controls and they were just a headache. They had to have their own batteries, you constantly have to replace them, you can lose the controller itself because it's really small sometimes," said Forman.

To move the ZBoard, you simply lean forward to go and back to stop.

"You're not holding handlebar, you're using your body weight making the ZBoard an extension of your body as you move around," said Larson.

Forman says people have called the ZBoard the Segway of skateboards.

"The biggest difference between us and the Segway is that a Segway has a $10,000 computer on it that balances you, and we trust the computer in the brain to balance you," said Forman.

The ZBoard isn't made to do tricks since it's primary use is for transportation.

"ZBoarding is an excellent option for anyone with a short commute that's one to two miles, whether it's on campus in the city to and from the office, or whether it's just fun on the weekends. It's a great way to get around, get outside, get from point A to point B and everywhere in between, said Larson.

Larson says that electric skateboards also have a green component. "It does need to get the energy to charge the battery from somewhere, but it gets equivalent to 1,500 mpg carbon footprint so it's very good on the environment (compared with) other ways of getting around," he said.

Intuitive Motion also makes everything in the United States.

"Suppliers are all over -- domestically, some internationally -- but everything comes here and it's assembled here, it's quality-controlled here and it gets shipped from here. That's one thing that we're really proud of," said Forman.

A fully charged board can get you up to 10 miles and can reach a top speed of 17 mph. The boards cost between $600 to $1,000.

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