We’re thrilled to announce that the M1™ is on track for beta release at the end of the month! This is a big leap towards final release and we’re psyched to dive into the details!
In our last update we outlined plans to begin shipping beta boards at the end of May, final boards to Kickstarter backers at the end of June, and pre-order boards at the end of July. This plan remains on schedule.
The primary purpose of the M1 Beta Program is to work out any final changes to software, firmware and documentation. We do not anticipate any beta test related delays to final board production for Kickstarter and pre-order customers. Plus, we’ve made great progress with our contract manufacturer who will play a key role in assembling and shipping the final M1 boards. Once feedback from the beta program is collected and implemented, we’ll be able to immediately ramp up production of the M1.
With our custom motor controller PCB released for manufacturing last month, remaining development has centered around finalizing the first version of the motor controller firmware. Over the last month, we’ve tuned acceleration and braking performance to get the most out of the Manta Drive motors, as well as implemented numerous changes that improves the efficiency and performance of the firmware itself.
Finished RFLX Remote PCBs arrived this month and we have built customized equipment to speed the loading firmware onto the RFLX Remote. Once firmware is loaded we’ll be assembling each PCB into its corresponding ABS remote casing and QA testing before packaging by the end of the month.
In our previous update we talked about our battery cell supplier shift and its impact on our timeline. Since then we have successfully restarted the safety certification process and are on schedule to have UN-certified battery packs in time to ship beta boards. CE testing and certification will follow immediately after and we expect to have all our electronics certified for international distribution in June.
Inboard Product Director Brian Eiseman is working on site with our deck manufacturer overseeing final M1 deck production. For an even higher level of durability we’ve beefed up the rail construction. This increases rebound at the rail and further protects the structure and the internal components of the M1.
Brian is also spot checking final graphics and finish for the outside of the deck, as well as fit and finish of the custom molded battery and motor controller compartments. Achieving correct tolerances for this compartment is crucial for the water resistance of the board, and from seeing the initial production run everything is looking great. Brian will be returning to Santa Cruz at the end of the week immediately after the first round of production decks are packed and shipped.
From the beginning we’ve approached the design of the M1 with water resistance as a priority. Skateboarding through a downpour is never a good idea, but if you use the M1 as a daily commuter, we understand an eventual puddle or stretch of wet pavement will be inevitable. That’s why everything from our waterproof deck construction (traditional wooden decks are prone to delamination) to a battery compartment which can resist 30 minutes of direct water spray has been included to protect the M1 from inclement weather. We’ve even extended water resistance all the way to the wheels by utilizing sealed bearings on both the front and rear wheels. We look to go above and beyond to make the M1 as durable as possible, and sealed bearings guarantee your M1 keeps rolling smooth long after it’s first ride.
We have two new additions to our engineering team: electrical engineer Darren Gibbs and intern Eric Haines. Darren has already made a significant impact on firmware development and Eric has been crucial in helping with production ramp-up for the RFLX Remote.
Over the next two weeks we’ll be receiving remaining components, completing the beta board build and shipping the first beta M1 boards to backers. As always, If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment here or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can't wait to ride with you soon!
The Inboard Team