Why did we make our Hoverboard so expensive?

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The Hoverboard marketed at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 is what we already call the “Classic”.  It is the ultimate form we believe the one-wheeled board will take and we have optimized it for performance and experience, over cost.  We also made the Classic our “Platform” product, the version of our Hoverboard that is fully customizable, mix-and-matchable, upgradeable, etc.  I always intended it to be a dynamic solution that evolves with the owner’s evolving needs and wants.  Lesser-performing, but much cheaper Hoverboards will be released, but I don’t see those competing with the Classic version because I expect it to always hold the top position for hard-core [simulated] hovering maximalists.

Basically, the Classic Hoverboard costs what it does because of what it costs us to make, and that is driven by the following factors that deliver its unique value:

1)            Quality – The greatest cost driver for the Hoverboard stems from the choice to make the product of unprecedented quality.  This has permeated every component choice and the benefits are greater up-time, seldom being stranded, and reduced maintenance costs, including shipping and other taxing logistics.  Of course, quality adds up-front cost, but delivers tremendous savings over time.

2)            Performance – While the Hoverboard may hold a position at the high end of purchase-price, part of the actual “value” can be found in looking at its ratios, like Range/$, Power/$, Power/Weight, Charge-time/Mile.  The Industrial-Class BLDC Direct-Drive Servomotor is a major contributor to the unit cost, as is compactness of the design.  Compressing the Drive Unit into a narrow disk shape with maximum heat dissipation out the stationary, ribbed side-walls drove us to some very expensive, large-diameter “Ring Bearings”.  You see the benefit borne out in the Power to Volume and Power to Weight ratios, as well as the virtually SILENT operation.  Bottom-line, it is more money, but it is much more product to the point where based on the overall superior ownership experience, the Hoverboard actually delivers the best overall value.

3)            User Serviceability – The Hoverboard’s most apparent novelty is the surfing-on-land experience, but deeper than that, what sets the Hoverboard so completely apart from any remotely similar product is that it is designed to be User-Serviced, and beyond that, even User-Enhanced.  Anyone who is reasonably handy with tools can break the Hoverboard down into its individual components and put it back together.  Wear out a tire? Scratch the LCD?  Gash the deck? – Don’t torture yourself with that terrible feeling that you’ve done something wrong or made a mistake that will be staring you in the face forever, or force you to “send it back again…”.  Feel the power of being in control.  Wake-up to an entirely new ownership experience – that you own your Hoverboard; it doesn’t own you.  Just buy the cheap piece-part that it needs, and swap it out yourself.  Make your Hoverboard look new again, any time you want.  We can tell you first-hand, the very first time you take your Hoverboard completely apart and put it all back together, you thereafter relate to it in a completely different way; it truly becomes YOURS.  What’s more, you can even program it with our “Hoverscript” to be entirely your personalized experience, mix and match components, upgrade components, evaluate options – whatever you can imagine.  This capability has added cost to the Hoverboard’s development and some cost to each unit, but the post-purchase savings in money, anguish and hassle FAR OUTWEIGH the up-front additional cost.  Don’t compare the Hoverboard’s purchase-price to that of other products.  Look forward in time, and consider the total cost of ownership to truly understand the value.  The Hoverboard delivers empowerment where other more typical products invoke frustration.

4)            Future Proofing – Many people are surprised at how mature the Hoverboard design seems to be.  This is no accident.  What we chose to do was develop a 3rd generation product FIRST.  This was costly in both Effort and Time.  Products that don’t do this, however, end up rewarding their most precious “Early Adopters” with FAST OBSOLESCENCE.  It saddens us to be the first to buy something only to find out that if we had just waited, we would have gotten something better.  At Hoverboard Technologies, we don’t see ourselves as selling a product; we see ourselves as selling an overall experience with an emphasis on the ownership and usage period.  That’s not just because we are “super-nice” (although we definitely are).  Our BRAND and what it means in the marketplace are what are what we wish to build next.  Fast Obsolescence is terrible and to eliminate that as best we could we made two major investments.  First, we future-proofed each individual component.  You may have noticed us going a little “overboard” on each aspect, from charging, to range, lighting, etc.  We did that for one major reason – we wanted to deliver one great product from the very beginning – fully great from the very first day, so THAT configuration would LONG SURVIVE any foreseeable cause of obsolescence.  Second, we did what we described before, we made the Hoverboard modular and User Serviceable so the owner could absorb improvements into their original investment, without being left out, or having to buy an entirely new product in the near future.  So when you consider the cost of the Hoverboard, consider the cost of buying two or three of something else.  Then also consider the after-purchase value of OTHER products whose manufacturers work diligently, albeit unintentionally, to render the unit you bought – tired and obsolete.

5)            Service – We have to admit, the Hoverboard team started with some “old timers”.  We remember, ‘back in the day’, when companies were more interested in their ongoing relationship with their customer than in focusing on simply getting that first-time buy.  Part of the Hoverboard’s price is simply to maintain the infrastructure to offer the greatest possible level of customer service.  Whether we realize it or not, all of us are constantly voting with our pocket-book and often for the poorest possible experience or service.  We search out the lowest possible air-fare, and then complain that the seats are crammed together or that the service is awful.  Or, we say, “that’s fine, I just want to get from point A to point B”, which is maybe wiser, but still not what we are about at Hoverboard Technologies.  As you might expect, the Hoverboard is about the journey, and we have simply chosen to position ourselves so that the total Hoverboard Journey is FIRST CLASS.

While expensive, the Hoverboard is actually affordable to the millions of people in the US alone.  There are just two major things working against it.  First, people think it is related to popular ~$600 toys out there called “Hoverboards” and second, even though it offers the practicality of being a “Last Mile” solution, that role could be filled by other products costing as little as $1,500, so it really is a purely “luxury” (right word??) item, maybe better described as a purely “discretionary” item.  To put it into more perspective, though, a Fully Loaded Hoverboard is 1/3 the cost of a Jet-Ski, and half the price of a low-end Snow Mobile.  Even many people who believe they can’t afford these items might think little of paying $4,000 more for a car than they originally planned to.  Ultimately, it just comes down to how much the person wants anything, and whether or not they would be willing to pay more for something that is uniquely NOT part of this “Planned Obsolescence” system:  http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-stuff/

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