It’s been another exciting month at Inboard as we work to bring the M1™ to the finish line. Highlights from the month include: Theo completing a trip to our motor supplier in Asia, dozens of final components released to our manufacturers, new pre-production decks in the M1 test fleet, and the start of a rigorous final testing phase for the boards. However, before we get into that, we need to talk about the remaining items that need to be completed before we can begin shipping the M1.
In order to carry out our primary commitment of making the M1 the safest and most reliable board possible, we need a little more time. Below we’ll detail what caused the delay, explain where we’re at in our manufacturing process, and cover when and how we’ll be shipping your M1.
Battery Cell Supplier Change
In a previous update we talked about the questionable safety and product quality issues of hoverboards causing a supply shortage of dependable LiPo battery cells. Since then, the US Consumer Protection Bureau issued a hoverboard product warning and even threatened a recall, citing these same issues. This has since caused our primary battery cell supplier to completely back out of the rideables market over concerns of association with counterfeit hoverboard batteries. This affected us and several other rideable technology companies seeking the same dependable and genuine cells.
The good news is that we were prepared for this and have already received a small batch of LiPo cells for certification from our backup supplier, who is ready and able to ship cells identical in quality, performance and safety as those from our original supplier. Unfortunately, using LiPo cells from a different supplier means we needed to restart the safety certification process for the Powershift™ Battery. This restart was unavoidable and will take several weeks to complete. Without proper battery certification and testing we cannot commence large-scale shipping of the M1.
Beta Boards & Shipping Schedule
While we wait for battery certification, we need your help! To ensure the M1 is thoroughly tested and bug free in a wide range of conditions, we’re going to ship a small batch of ‘beta’ boards to the first 25 US-based Kickstarter backers on our list. These first 25 users will test ride their boards, provide feedback, and return their beta boards for a final version of the M1 at the conclusion of the trial period, shipping on us.
Unfortunately, these beta boards will not be certified for international shipping, which means we cannot ship beta boards to international backers in the top 25. We apologize for this, but adhering to international shipping and safety requirements is in everyone’s best interest, and we hope you understand. If you are among the first 25 backers and you’re in the USA, you will have already received an email with further details. If you are in the top 25 and do not want to be a beta tester, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply reply to your notification email sent earlier today.
Barring further delays, beta boards will ship at the end of May. If testing goes smoothly and no major revisions are needed, we will begin sending final kickstarter backer boards in June, with pre-order customers boards shipping in July.
We’re working as quickly as possible internally and with our production partners to deliver an unparalleled experience with the M1. We believe our beta testing program will guarantee that. Delivery is subject to the results from our beta testing program and we will promptly communicate delays via email if any issues are uncovered. We sincerely appreciate your patience and support as we move through the final stages of development, testing and delivery.
To provide accurate answers to your questions as quickly as possible, we’ve setup a new customer support system. The first stage of rolling out this system is our new support email address: email@example.com. Over the next several weeks we’ll launch a more sophisticated customer support page at inboardskate.com. The new support page will include a searchable knowledge base, email-based support system, and appointment-based phone support. When we begin shipping, our support system will allow us to generate emails that will keep you up to date at every stage of M1 fulfillment: the assembly, testing, boxing, and finally shipping of your M1.
If you have questions regarding the current shipping schedule or the status of your order we want to make sure you quickly receive an accurate answer. Here’s how to do that:
- Visit the Inboard FAQ page for information on how to change your shipping address, add additional accessories to your M1 order, or other questions regarding the M1
- Contact us directly through customer support: firstname.lastname@example.org
We sincerely appreciate your patience and support. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours or less.
New Boards Enter Testing
From day one we’ve been slowly expanding the rack of M1s that we ride for internal testing and development. This month we’ve added 5 brand new builds complete with our finalized deck and weather sealed battery and motor controller enclosure. These new enclosures feature an updated battery connector that is now serviceable for wear and tear, and through lifecycle testing we’ve made improvements to the battery enclosure door latch to improve durability.
Check out the video below with more hills and all around performance while cruising near our office in Santa Cruz, California.
Motor Controller Update
The most technically ambitious custom component of the M1, the motor controller, has been released for manufacturing this month while motor controller firmware development has also progressed nicely. The code that controls the motors during braking and acceleration has been optimized for better response, and the temperature sensors inside the Manta Drive have been enabled so that we can better track heat efficiency.
In addition, advanced bluetooth features have been enabled so we can monitor battery life and turn the integrated deck LEDs on or off via the remote or the Vision App. Finally, we’ve finished the code that allows us to deliver ‘over the air’ firmware updates for the motor control and remote via the Vision App. This feature will allow us to continue to improve and update M1 firmware even after you’ve received your board.
The RFLX™ Remote has nearly crossed the finish line over the last month with the finalized remote PCB and enclosure components being released for manufacturing. We made modifications to the kill switch design to reflect what we learned through extended wear testing and have enabled the battery status LEDs that show remaining battery life for the Powershift and RFLX™ Remote batteries. We’ve added haptic feedback to the remote in the form of vibration for certain M1 notifications like a critically low battery, and have refined the feel and feedback of the throttle control.
While the recent delays with battery cell sourcing are disappointing, we’re nevertheless excited to be approaching the point where we get to release the M1 into the wild. We’re confident the end experience will be worth the wait. If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment or drop us a note at email@example.com.
We can't wait to ride with you soon!
The Inboard Team