Better known for developing electric aerial drive systems, including the drive technology behind the Greenwing ESpyder E280 electric ultralight aircraft, Yuneec is bringing its e-tech down to earth. Its new E-Go Cruiser motorized longboard combines robust range, sporty performance and a relatively affordable price tag.
The E-Go Cruiser is the latest in a healthy market of e-boards that includes the Evolve and ZBoard. While the board does not break new ground, it definitely landscapes things a bit. The 18-mile (30-km) range in particular pops out in a market filled with "5 to 10-mile" (8 to 16-km) estimates.
Perhaps the reason why the E-Go Cruiser boasts superior range is because it uses electric-drive technology trickled down from Yuneec's aviation division. Range is a bit more important when you're flying an aircraft high above hard ground than when you're cruising the streets on a skateboard. The board is also lightweight, weighing less than 14 lb (6.3 kg) – not that much more than the "world's lightest electric vehicle." It's designed to support riders up to 220 lb (100 kg).
The E-Go's powertrain combines a lithium-ion battery, rear-mounted 400-watt motor and an ECU controlling things between them. A 2-oz (60-g) wireless remote with wrist strap puts motor control into the hand of the rider, using an intuitive slide switch for acceleration and deceleration. The remote includes self and board battery status lights and is designed to slide into a pocket when not in use. It also has an onboard LED flashlight.
The E-Go's battery takes about three to five hours to charge, and a regenerative braking system adds efficiency while the board is wheeling the streets, helping the rider travel for up to three hours. The board can tackle inclines up to 10 percent and is weatherproof, but it's not designed to be driven through deep puddles. It can be ridden like a traditional longboard when the battery runs out, with only a small amount of resistance from the motor.
Yuneec limits the E-Go Cruiser's top speed to just over 12 mph (20 km/h) in "sport" mode (economy mode limited to 7.5 mph/12 km/h). That's slower than a lot of the other electric boards out there, but the company feels that it should satisfy "90 percent of the riders 90 percent of the time." The company says the top speed was set for safety purposes, and we're sure it also contributes to the Cruiser's longer range. Yuneec suggests that the E-Go will be the first in a line of products, so perhaps future boards will adjust the range-to-speed ratio in favor of sportier performance.
Another impressive figure on the E-Go is its price tag. In a market filled with e-boards that near or exceed the four-figure threshold, the E-Go's US$699 looks pretty inviting, especially when coupled with its superior range. The board is up for preorder now ($100 deposit) and Yuneec says that it will begin shipping early next month.
While the E-Go Cruiser was Yuneec's latest story at the recent ISPO Munich show, it was the ESpyder hovering over top of its booth that really got our attention. The company told us that it's sold 15 of the $40,000 models since launching them last year.