At first glance, Roth Motors' Motorboard 2000XR may not look like anything more than a glorified Razor scooter. Take a closer look, however, and what you'll find tucked below the sturdy board is a potent nano-safe lithium battery (made by the fine folks at A123 Systems) that provides enough juice on a single 90 min charge for a short ride. It only takes an extra 30 min to recharge the whole battery (the battery's full 2 hour charge gives you a range of about 6 miles, upgradeable to a 20 mile range).
The foldable, ultra-portable electric scooter - weighing in at a very modest 16.5 lbs - is a big improvement over its previous iterations, significantly cutting down on the weight while doubling the power. Your correspondent had the chance to play around with one last week and was thoroughly impressed at how easy and practical it was to carry around - a blessing in car-dense L.A. The test-ride was equally smooth, with very little effort or skill needed to master its controls and zip around at a comfortable 15 mph clip.
Kicking in the throttle was seemless, and the responsive steering column made navigating the USC campus and busy streets of L.A. a relatively painless experience. With its battery upgrade, the 2000XR's 20 mile range should be plenty for most busy commuters. The battery can be conveniently recharged at any standard 110 V household plug.
The one thing we could've done without is the fairly substantial base price tag - for students or young professionals, at least - of $799. To be fair though, when compared side by side with similar offerings (namely the Segway or Go-Ped), that price is actually on the lower end. Plus, unlike those vehicles, the 2000XR doesn't need any assembly or tire inflation, has a short charge time and - more importantly - is actually portable (and fun to use, to boot).
Having given it an extensive tryout, we can confidently recommend the 2000XR; whether or not you should consider purchasing one, however, depends entirely on your needs and circumstances. For those interested in an alternative to a car or bike - who plan on using it for urban commuting or campus cruising - this is definitely a great option. Another important factor you'll have to take into consideration is whether/where your city allows for the use of motorized scooters - as Siel notes, this isn't always very clear-cut.
Though tempted, your correspondent will stick to his bike - the ultimate eco-friendly vehicle - for now.