You control the vehicle via a small handheld device connected to the engine by cable. If you find the dangling wire ungainly, then Exkate, (www.exkate.com), another Californian company, offers wireless control options for its collection of powerboards. These run the gamut from a $250 kid's model (with a top speed of 12 km/h) to the $1,000 top-of-the-line X-24 (with a range of 20 km, a top speed of nearly 32 km/h and cruise control). Nipping to the shops will be more fun and faster than you've ever imagined.
If you're in the market for a compact neighborhood runabout but find Segways too silly and scooters too expensive, then the E-Glide, (www.e-glide.com), may be just your speed. Starting at $419 for a basic model, this powered skateboard or powerboard is made by a Santa Monica-based company and comes with a high-torque, 400-watt electric motor that takes you from zero to 32 km/h in just four seconds. Six styles are available from stiff cruisers built for sidewalk use to those with more flexible boards designed for bumpier terrain and models can travel distances of up to 24 km on a full charge.