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Marbel Board: Is this the world's lightest electric vehicle?

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May 22, 2014

Marbel uses a lithium-ion battery and a Kevlar and carbon fiber composite deck to keep its...

Marbel uses a lithium-ion battery and a Kevlar and carbon fiber composite deck to keep its weight under ten pounds (4.5 kg)

Image Gallery (15 images)

Electric skateboards are certainly building up some momentum as a form of urban transport, and they seem to just keep getting lighter and lighter. Florida-based start-up Marbel is the latest to set its wheels in motion, this week launching a crowdfunding campaign for what it claims to be the world's lightest electric vehicle – the 9.9 lb (4.5 kg) Marbel.

To put that number into perspective, the Evolve electric skateboard we took for a spin last year weighs in at 19.6 lb (8.9 kg). Back in 2012, Boosted Boards raised a few eyebrows (and a boatload of Kickstarter funds) with its 12-lb (5.5 kg) motorized longboard. If the appeal of an electric skateboard lies in convenience for those hopping off buses and making that last-mile trip, then trimming off some of the fat could be as important a factor as any.

"Our main focus was user experience," Matt Belcher, founder of Marbel, tells Gizmag. "Weight was the big choice for making it easier for people to carry and use everyday."

The 165 Wh lithium battery powers a 2,000 W (2.68 hp) brushless DC motor for a top speed o...

It's one thing to identify this as a design focus, but bringing the weight of the Marbel board to under ten pounds involved some rather advanced technology.

"The main reason we were able to keep the weight so low was by utilizing very specific carbon fiber in combination with Kevlar in the composite deck," explains Marbel. "The second reason is the battery cells we are using. They are the latest in lithium-ion battery technology and very similar to what you will find in a Tesla Model S".

The light build of the Marbel board doesn't appear to have come at a cost. The 165 Wh lithium battery powers a 2,000 W (2.68 hp) brushless DC motor for a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), both of which are sealed for protection on the bottom side of the deck. The battery can be fully charged in 90 minutes, which according to Marbel should be good for a range of 10 mile (16 km). This puts it well ahead of the Boosted Board's range of 6 mi (9.6 km), but short of Yuneec's E-Go Cruiser at 18 mi (30 km). This was necessary, Belcher claims, to maintain the weight of the board.

"For range, we worked long and hard on this and 10 to 11 miles seemed to be the sweet spot for most of our test riders," he says. "We have the ability to add more range down the road if customers really ask for it, but if we do add more range it would mean sacrificing on weight."

Users control the Marbel Board using a wireless handheld controller, which sports a thumb slider that is slid forward to accelerate or back to trigger the regenerative braking. In addition, the board has a built-in Wi-Fi module which allows for more advanced control via a companion smartphone app, compatible with both iOS and Android.

The board has a built-in Wi-Fi module which allows for more advanced control via a compani...

Within the app, users can control the throttle in real time or access a dashboard to customize their ride. It comes configured with low power Starter Mode, energy-saving Eco Mode and no holds-barred Sport Mode. Alternatively, users can dive into custom mode to adjust the top speed and rate of acceleration.

Marbel runs on 50 degree 180 mm longboard trucks and 76 mm wheels with ABEC 9 bearings. Measuring 38 in (96.5 cm) long and 10 in (25 cm) wide, the company says Marbel should have no trouble tackling hills of a 15 percent grade incline.

The team is looking to raise US$90,000 on Kickstarter. Having kicked off the campaign this week, it appears well on its way to achieving that goal, having already attracted over $40,00 in pledges as of this writing. An early pledge of $1,099 will put you in line for one of the e-boards, the company planning to ship in November if everything falls into place.

But is this the world's lightest electric vehicle? We're hard pressed to find anything lighter, but we'd be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

You can hear from Belcher and see Marbel taken for a ride in the video below.

Source: Marbel

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
4 Comments

boostedboards (http://www.gizmag.com/boosted-boards-skateboard/24111/) was another similar board, they are 15 pounds with a 6 mile range and $1200. They raised $450k on kickstarter in 2012.

I think it looks pretty cool and it costs less than my bicycle. If you ride a bus or a subway to work its hard to bring a bicycle and you still need to find a place to keep it. The difference between 9 and 15 pounds might not seem like much but it is when you are carrying it.

ZBoard (http://www.gizmag.com/zboard-motorized-skateboard/21550/) was another one from 2012 with a 10 mile range but it was 30 lbs. It looks like these guys will probably be busy making some skateboards.

Daishi
23rd May, 2014 @ 01:16 am PDT

Wow,,, I've paid attention to electric boards for a number of years now. This Marbel concept is hands down the best I have seeen.

It is not mentioned in the article, however looking at the gallery shows that the batteries are actually integrated into the deck! An amazing innovation for protecting the cells, reducing weight, and improving on simple industrial design.

Congrats all, an amazing job!

Rob Green
23rd May, 2014 @ 06:22 am PDT

I have an Evolve Carbon street board......and I see this board has copied the Evolve Brand. Evolve was the first to integrate electrics into a carbon/kevlar deck and they have been on the market now for sometime.....guessing this is where they got their idea from? From the looks of the pics, their deck has a long way to go compared the Evolve. The other difference between this board and both Boosted and Evolve is that they align with professional longboard brands in terms of parts such as wheels/trucks, this makes a huge difference to the ride quality, this Marbel board uses no name parts for a reason....cost, but this will effect the ride quality. I think Gizmag (or professional rider) really should do actual ride tests of each board then make judgements to the brands they have mentioned above.

Max17
23rd May, 2014 @ 09:40 pm PDT

I agree, you have to test ride it, so you see real range and real power of the final product.

There are 2 things that confuses everyone and people are disappointed after buying: Motor power/wattage and range are exagerate up to 2 or 3 times by some companies.

1. Motor wattage. Normally the average output power is advertised, like with ebikes 250 watt or 500 watt for the ones that go up to 45km/h . Evolve's carbon board has a real 350 watt motor on the and goes 38km/h with it.

Some eboards companies advertise with the possible peak power, because the number is higher and people should think the motor is stronger than it actually is. Examples of peak power advertisment are boosted (2000 peak), e-go (400 peak, in reality only 150 watt normal output), and I guess the marbel could also advertise with 2000 peak power. The only board who really has 2000 watt is the gnarboard, combined in 4 motors and goes 45km/h in 2,8 seconds, and this has then 8800 watt peak, so you see the difference.

2. Ranges:

This is also a topic most of the companies exagerate big time.

Most of the old china boards ranges are exagerated by at least 2 times and that also includes the new china board e-go from which I heard from 2 riders that it's more like 8 or 10km range ( so I assume maybe max 14km if you go efficient) instead of 30km.

Examples of accurate range data are boosted 6 miles, 9,6km, and Evolve which has a real reachable range of 30km on the bamboos and 40km on the carbons, because different type of motors and strong batteries.

About the marbel board, if it has the advertised 2000 watt power and is that light, it can't have a 16km range. Or if it has the range, it can't have that power. Both at the same time is physically nearly impossible in my opinion. But if they cracked it and made it happen, I would be happy and the first who congratulates.

openmind523
26th May, 2014 @ 06:12 am PDT
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