Hot holiday gift comes with restrictions; the lowdown on ‘hoverboard’ ban

They’re not exactly like the hoverboards Marty McFly flew on in Back to the Future.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot of interest in hoverboards because they sure look like fun.

“And it’s starting to become a really really big trend right now here in Hawaii,” said Rick Rock of Xodiac USA – Hawaii, a hoverboard distributor. “We went from selling about one to three boards maybe every two or three days to maybe 15 to 25 a day.”

Hoverboards cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars – so it’s not exactly a cheap toy.

Hoverboards are powered by lithium batteries, the same batteries that power your cell phone.

These batteries have been known to cause some cell phones to catch fire.

Our sister station WNCN talked to Xiangwu Zhang of North Carolina State University, an expert in material science and engineering.

He noticed, in most of the cases, hoverboards seem to catch fire soon after they’re turned on.

He says either they’re overcharging or the batteries being used are poorly designed.

“If you’re just going online, you don’t know which company is producing it. You’re really taking a risk,” said Zhang.

So bottom line – buyer beware. You get what you pay for.

Rock says “As far as our quality for Xodiac,all Xodiac boards we handle through our company, 100 percent safe…the batteries that we have they’re not the cheap China batteries, they’re the Samsung and LG lithium ion batteries so it’s highest quality battery possible.”

Some places like Britain and New York City have banned people from riding hoverboards on the streets and sidewalks, not because of the fire threat, but because they’re considered motor vehicles.

Here on Oahu, Honolulu police tell us people are not allowed to use hoverboards on roads and sidewalks in Waikiki.

We also found out Hawaiian Airlines does not allow hoverboards on board its planes at all, because of the potential fire risk.

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