June 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM ET
Electric skateboards are becoming a cool, hip and now very fast way to get around town. How fast? The four-wheel-drive Trail Rider from Gnarboards can accelerate from 0 to 28 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, which is faster than about 90 percent of road cars.
Other models – the two-wheel-drive Commuter and four-wheel-drive Road Warrior – are a touch slower, hitting the top speed of 28 mph in about 3 seconds.
All three have a typical range between 15 and 20 miles on a single charge, far enough for most city dwellers to e-skate into work, plug in for a two-hour recharge, and ride home at the end of the day.
That is, assuming riding an electric skateboard is street legal where you live and you have the skill to drive the thing, which Gnarboards creator Joshua Tulberg says takes some practice.
“Most riders end up on their butt the first time they try it,” he told Gizmag.
A handheld grip controls acceleration and braking; steering is done with the body, just like riding a regular skateboard. A so-called “dead man’s brake” stops the board should the rider wipe out and fall off, preventing a runaway skateboard from hitting a fallen rider or anyone else.
And falling is almost certain to happen, which is why Gnarboards recommends in a FAQ that all riders wear a helmet and full-body armor to “prevent ‘road rash’, torn flesh, broken bones, severe injury or death.”
For anyone brave enough to ride one, the $6,100 price tag for the Trail Rider seems like a worthy investment for a fun, fast and pretty green way to get around town.
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.