The ArcaBoard, the world’s first hoverboard that actually hovers above the ground, is finally here (sort of), and can be yours for a mere $20,000, BGR is reporting.
Ever since Back to the Future promised a 2015 where everybody glided through town on wheel-less skateboards (or, hoverboards, as they’re called), the tech industry has been trying to come up with hoverboards that consumers can actually buy, instead of just watch on the screen and think, “someday.” So far, the best the industry has been able to come up with is one that requires a special metallic surface underneath it (it uses magnets), or a wheeled contraption that is prone to catching on fire.
The ArcaBoard, however, doesn’t require a special surface or wheels. It actually hovers, just a couple of inches off the ground, thanks to a propulsion system unique to the ArcaBoard.
In the promotional video posted below, you can see a rider atop the ArcaBoard, easily gliding over the ground.
“Can we truly be free? Can we feel it? Freedom. Now we can. We created a vehicle, a tool that will grant you total freedom, freedom of movement, of travel, wherever you want, whenever you want. An extension of your will, of your creativity, of your desire to be free.”
The ArcaBoard won’t come cheap, however — it commands a whopping $19,900 price tag. And it’s not available for purchase just yet — the manufacturer is taking pre-orders, but the ArcaBoard won’t actually be available to consumers for a few months yet.
So how does the ArcaBoard work? According to the company’s website, the ArcaBoard’s propulsion system generates 430 pounds of thrust, enough to bear a weight load of up to 300 pounds. A 272-horsepower engine propels 36 high-powered electric fans, making the ArcaBoard stable enough “to propel you across land, water, snow, or ice.”
With the standard charger, you can charge your ArcaBoard in about six hours. Or you can tack on an additional $4,500 to your sticker price and order the ArcaDock, which will charge your new hoverboard in just 35 minutes.
The ArcaBoard was developed by ARCA Space Corporation, a Romanian aerospace company that has since moved headquarters to Las Cruces, New Mexico. The company has been designing rockets, drones, and other aerospace technology — and is now in the home hoverboard business, apparently.
So, is the ArcaBoard a Back to the Future-style hoverboard truly brought to life? BGR writer Yoni Heisler doesn’t think so. Despite the almost “comically serious” tone of the promotional video, Heisler says, the ArcaBoard appears to be little more than a $20,000 carnival ride.
“As you can see below, there’s simply no getting around the fact that the ArcaBoard just seems to awkwardly hover over the ground while the rider has to clumsily do his/her best to keep the entire contraption balanced. If anything, it seems more like a carnival ride than something you’d want to pay for, which you won’t be doing anyhow as this bad boy costs a whopping $20,000.”
Similarly, Engadget writer Jamie Rigg calls the ArcaBoard “vaporware” — that is, tech gadgets that are promised but fail to deliver. He’s also rather concerned about ARCA’s rather shady history of promising much but delivering little.
“The company’s currently developing rocket systems and serious, commercial drones (that seem to be behind schedule), but its history is a bit mysterious for our liking. In more than 15 years, it’s performed numerous tests of aerospace technology, but we can’t see that the outfit has ever really done, made or sold anything. Thus, we reckon it’s incredibly unlikely that the first commercial product ARCA Space Corporation will actually deliver is going to be an overpriced hoverboard no one wants.”
If the manufacturer’s website is to be believed, you can pre-order your ArcaBoard today and expect your order to be filled on April 15, 2016.
[Image via YouTube]