ZBoard is the world’s first, weight-sensing electric skateboard. It is faster and easier to ride than a regular skateboard and is more cool, fun and portable than a bike. The demand of ZBoards is increasing fast. Retails stores and rental equipment businesses are showing more interest to carry ZBoards. The main target for Zboard is young people between 15-25 years old. However, Zboard’s price ($ 649 – $949) could be expensive for the majority of this segment composed by students. Due to this interesting niche, the company wants to study the possibility to launch a Zboard rental service for California Universities.

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UCI’s reputation as a leader University for promoting new alternatives of sustainable transportation would be an excellent test market for this service. The main objective of this project is to determine if there is a market opportunity for ZBoard rentals in UCI for students and staff/employees who live near/in the campus where everything is too far to walk and too short to drive. In order to reach this business objective, I have gathered primary data about the Zboard company and secondary data about the Skateboard Industry, UCI’s population size, their current methods of alternative transportation and Zotwheels (UCI Bike rental service) information.

I will use a quantitative method on my research by conducting an email survey to know in-deph information about UCI’s population transportation behavior patterns and their attitude towards electric skateboards and ZBoard rentals in UCI. The survey will be sponsored by the UCI Sustainable Transportation Department to guarantee the highest and fastest response at a minimum coast. The sample size would be 381 participants.

They will be selected by quota sampling method: 200 students (100 undergraduate and 100 graduate) and 200 staff/employees (100 Administrative and 100 Academic). I will analyze the data and submit the report to Zboard Directors to make the most suitable business decision. The total coast of this research would be $3000 and it would take 8 weeks to finish.

BACKGROUND

The ZBoard is the world’s first, weight-sensing electric skateboard. Simply lean forward to go (up to a top speed of 17mph) and lean back to stop (kicking in regenerative braking). It is a brand new product developed in Hermosa Beach California by the startup company Intuitive Motion Inc., and designed by mechanical engineers with a passion for skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing; looking for a new innovative device to commute faster and easier to ride than skateboard and more fun and portable than a bike. ZBoard has developed great audience, reviews and reception from the public, from boarders fans through hi-tech enthusiasts, in both the domestic and international markets. Their orders and demand of ZBoards is increasing fast. Retails stores and rental equipment businesses are showing more interest to have ZBoards on their show rooms and shelves displays.

MARKET SITUATION

According to the Board-Track ‘s Specialty Retail Report 2009, Skateboard hard goods are one of the most important categories to specialty sports retailers business. The highest percentage of skateboard’s users is between 12-35 years old. However, Zboard’s price ($ 649 – $949) could be expensive for the majority of this segment composed by students. Due to this interesting niche, the company wants to study the possibility to launch a Zboard rental service for California Universities.

UCI’s reputation as a leader University for promoting new alternatives of sustainable transportation would be an excellent test market for this service. UCI’s campus area is big and the distances between campus facilities, housing and off campus services are too far to walk. Also the campus location, characteristics of the terreno Skate devices’ usage is not tracked (yet) as the use of skateboards, roller skates, and inline skates are not permitted on UCI campus core areas at any time. The use of skate devices is just permitted in residential and outlying areas of the campus (http://bike.uci.edu/pdf/skatedevices.pdf) This doesn’t mean that UCI don’t recognize that skating is a valid form of transportation. Actually they have notice that the usage of skateboards has increase and they are interested in the results of my project.

COMPETITORS

There are other methods of alternative transportation for the UCI population who live near/in the campus (Carpool, Anteater Express, OCTA, Bicycle and Walking), but just one with rental mode. It is Zotwheels Bike rental service. Accordinf to Mr, Zavala, ZotWheels is not run for profit. It is an amenity to the campus community. The vast majority of the expense comes from the establishment of the system and since the university also administer it, upkeep expense is minimal.

An individual Zotwheels membership is $40 annually, allowing to have unlimited use of the ZotWheels bikes with no additional charges, as long as the bike has been returned within three hours of rental. Zotwheels usage fluctuates severely. People use it frequently when they get membership and then frequently stop using the system in favor of buying their own bikes after getting comfortable riding ZotWheels around campus.

There are other electric skateboard companies but none with weight-sensing capabilities or rental options. They use a wired or wireless remote control to determine throttle and they’re not as cool or fun as ZBoard. and the good weather all year long are favorable to the use of skating devices. As reported by Mr. Ramon Zavala (Interim Supervisor of UCI Sustainable Transportation Department, the 2011-2012 UC Irvine AQMD Survey Results certified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, combined UCI staff, faculty, and graduate employee commute behavior is approximately 52.96% for all forms of sustainable transportation: