TAMPA, Fla - A Tampa-based entrepreneur could change urban transportation with his invention of a 9.9 pound electric skateboard.
"It is the lightest electric skateboard in the world," said Matt Belcher, founder of Marbel.
Belcher moved to the Bay area four years ago.
With his favorite restaurants within a few miles of his home, Belcher found it a pain to drive such a short distance and then try to park. Walking was not an option either. That's when he got the idea to invent a new type of electric skateboard.
"With a range of over 10 miles per charge, you can hop on it, get to work, get back, you can charge it at work, you can charge it at home," he explained.
To fully charge the board takes roughly 90 minutes, according to Belcher.
His board can be programmed to go 25 miles per hour, you can ride it up hills and control it via an app on your smartphone.
"You would open the app, maybe takes fives seconds to connect to the board," Belcher said.
You can set your top speed, acceleration, hit the breaks and even get linked up to a map to show you how far you can make it on your charge.
Options range from "starter" to "sport." Starter speed is six miles per hour.
The board also with the option of a remote control you can take along with you on rides.
"You can tune everything with your app and then put the app away, leave your phone at home and go out and ride the board with the handheld controller," he added.
The board is made out of carbon fiber and Kevlar, the same material used in bulletproof vests.
A tiny motor sits underneath the board near the back wheels and all the technological elements are inside the board's belly.
Right now, Belcher says there are only 10 of his prototypes on the streets nationwide. He most recently shipped his boards to NYC and Seattle.
Belcher is turning to crowd funding and launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to mass produce the board.
He set a goal of $90,000. As of June 4, donations exceeded $235,000.
"These boards take 15 hours to make, so that's a lot of what the Kickstarter was for," he said.
Boards should be available for purchase in January. They will cost $1,300.
Individuals who backed the project and donated more than $999 will receive their boards by year's end.