9 Electric Skateboards That Will Change The Way You Look At Commuting
It all started with Marty McFly and the hoverboard in Back to the Future II. If you remember, Marty travels to the year 2015 (sic!), and borrows a little girl’s hoverboard to escape the police that are after him. Coincidentally, we are in the year 2015, and although we are still not quite there yet when it comes to using hoverboards for transportation, we do have a worthy substitute – electric skateboards. Deemed by many as the future of rideables because of their ability to get you quickly from point A to point B, electric skateboards are slowly but surely becoming the thing to look out for.
Not only are they perfect for traveling through congested urban areas, they are super fun to ride. You may not be floating 7 inches off the ground (like Marty McFly) on your way to work, school or just running errands, but electric skateboards will do the job just as well. Although you cannot use them to drop the kids off to school or do your weekly grocery shopping, they’ll do just fine for work commute or getting around campus. Skateboarding has become much more than just a recreational activity – it is now a legitimate mode of transport. Electric skateboards can develop a decent speed (20mph on average), with the fastest recorded speed being 55mph (88.5km/h). Also, forget about the constant cycle of pushing and pushing which takes away the fun and joy from skateboarding. With electric skateboards, all you need to do is hop on and off you go, however if your board runs out of juice you have the option of skateboarding just like on a regular board.
Unlike the Motoboard, which was created in 1975 and is considered the first ever powered skateboard (by the way, it ran on gasoline), the typical electric skateboard runs on lithium iron phosphate battery which, on an 800W unit, can last between 9 and 12 miles (16-20km) on a single charge. Even when the battery expires, you can continue riding it for a few miles. Funnily enough, the aforementioned Motoboard was banned in California in late 1970s for polluting the environment too much. This is definitely not applicable to electric skateboards. They run on clean energy and, with most brands, the recharge time can be quite short and some skateboards will take only 30 minutes to achieve an 85% recharge.
If we have managed to peak your interest, please read on because we are counting down 9 electric skateboards that have made a name on the market.
1 – Yuneec E-GO
Although, Yuneec E-GO electric skateboard is not as fast as some of its competitors (the top speed is up to 15mph), it is worth having for several reasons. First of all, it is incredibly light (13.9lbs) and slim with virtually invisible battery pack. The electric systems are well-integrated into the board and its patented 6-flex-battery case ensures the maximum flexibility of the deck. Yuneec E-GO is operated via an ergonomic wireless handheld remote controller and features aviation brushless motor technology. Its range is respectable 18 miles and with such range you really don’t need to worry about how much battery is left. Actually, the brake is a regenerative system that charges the battery. This board is also powerful enough to take you up most hills and elevations. It is an excellent skateboard both for commute and recreational purposes.
BUY | $669.95
2 – Marbel
This is quite a powerful electric skateboard with an impressive 2000W / 3 horse power DC motor. Marbel can run for at least 10 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 25mph. It is quite lightweight – weighing at only 9.9lbs. The manufacturer claims this is the lightest electric skateboard in the world. Marbel’s deck is made from carbon fiber and Kevlar which means that it is tough and can withstand harsh weather. The rest of the skateboard (the wheels, nose and tail) is made from Urethane rubber. Also, this skateboard can handle any hill up to 20% grade. You can control and customize Marbel through a smartphone app called ‘The Dashboard’.
BUY | $1.299
3 – ZBoard Pro Electric Skateboard
ZBoard is the world’s first weight-sensing electric skateboard meaning that all you need to do to move it along is to lean forward. If you want to stop, just lean back. There are no controllers required. ZBoard can develop a top speed of 17mph and has a 10 mile per single charge range. The deck is made from six-ply Canadian maple while the board is completely made in the USA. ZBoard weighs 18lbs, has premium smooth rubber wheels (you can upgrade to Urethane wheels and, by doing so, increase your speed by 3mph) and it comes with the 110 – 220v charger. You can also additionally purchase LED lights if you are planning on riding it during night.
BUY | $899
4 – ZBoard San Francisco (SF) Special Skateboard
This is a more powerful and much improved version of the Pro Electric. Although it is same as the Pro Electric in terms of the motor (400W Electric) and charge time (between 5 and 6 hours), the SF comes with an 18Ah LiFePO4 battery, it has a top speed of 18 miles and a range of 18 miles on a single battery charge. It also weighs a bit more than the Pro Electric – 28lbs compared to 25lbs. You can upgrade the SF with Urethane wheels (for bigger speed and up to 30% more range), as well as add headlight and tail light.
BUY | $1.099
5 – Fiik Street Surfer
Unlike most of the electric skateboards, Fiik Street Surfer comes with cool-looking pneumatic tires with shorter wheelbase which makes it easier to turn, ride over a tricky terrain or hard surfaces. Another benefit of these retro-styled wheels is increased maneuverability and agility. Fiik also has a stepless digital throttle with three speeds, ABS regenerative braking and pistol grip wireless controller. This skateboard can take a maximum load of 300lbs, has a 22mph range, and a LiFePo4 battery that will last between 10 and 15 miles on a single charge. The deck is concave and, as such, ensures better traction. More importantly, Fiik Street Surfer comes with a fuse protection sensor to prevent the skateboard from heat overload.
BUY | $830
6 – Boosted Dual+ Board
This electric skateboard doesn’t have one but TWO powerful motors, each 1000W which are placed on each end of the deck. These motors can achieve excellent torque and decent speeds, with the starting speed being 15mph. Boosted Dual+ Board’s top speed is 22mph (you change the speed with a press of a button). The board has an impressive uphill capacity because it is capable of a 25% grade climb, which is much faster than a professional cyclist can climb. The board is controlled by an ergonomic Bluetooth controller which has two switches – the one that has to be pressed down at all times to keep the motor running) and the other which is used for acceleration and breaking. The controller also has a battery indicator. The Boosted’s battery usually lasts for up to 7 miles and it will take you 60 minutes to fully charge it or 30 minutes for an 85% charge.
BUY | $1.499
7 – Evolve Skateboards Bamboo Series
The three skateboards from Evolve’s Bamboo Series – Street, 2in1 and AT – are the best examples of low-slung e-boards which provide unmatched balance and board control. All three are made from strong, hand-crafted bamboo (hence the name), and have superfast Kegel wheels. They also have regenerative braking, very quiet 5500 RPM brushless motor (350 Watt) and interchangeable wheel system. The Street model weighs 17.51lbs and can achieve speeds of up to 23mph, the 2in1 weighs a bit less – 17lbs – and can travel up to 22mph, while AT is the heaviest (22lbs) and its top speed is 23mph. Also, all three models are controlled by ergonomically shaped Bluetooth controller which has fast / slow speed variations, a battery indicator, a USB charger and a leash.
BUY | from $1.149
8 – OneWheel Electric Skateboard
This is a very unique skateboard that gives you the almost exact feeling of surfing or snowboarding. OneWheel has just one mobile part – the wheel, as well as sophisticated sensors and electronics to ensure a smooth ride. You control/balance the skateboard by leaning forward to speed up, or leaning backward to slow down and eventually stop. OneWheel is powered by a hub motor that has no chains, gears or belts, and a 48V Lithium Nano-phosphate battery. The skateboard can develop a top speed of up to 12 miles per hour, and it has a range of between 4 to 6 miles (or 6 to 9 km) depending on the terrain and the riding style. It takes only 20 minutes to recharge OneWheel with ultra charger, and up to two hours with a standard charger. The frame is made from solid aluminum, while the deck is made from high-quality Canadian maple, often used to make the best skateboards around.
BUY | $1.499
9 – Mellow Drive
Mellow Drive is a universal electric drive add-on that fits almost all boards. With it, you can turn your favourite board in an electric skateboard. It can reach a speed of up to 25 mph and weighs 5.5 lbs, together with the battery. You can use it on all boards with standard 6-hole skate or longboard truck. It makes no noise, you can change the wheels, all if you run out of battery, it can serve as a regular skateboard. The battery needs to be charged for 2 hours, and it can be swapped in just a few seconds. With Mellow, you’ll get a range of 10 miles. There’s also a small remote control that allows you to control the skateboard. It’s really easy to control, just push it to accelerate, and pull to brake. You can also choose one of the four riding modes. Another cool thing about it, you can download the Mellow App that allows you to monitor the charge, range, speed and distance of your ride.
BUY | from $1823
What to Consider When Buying An Electric Skateboard?
Range – You choose the skateboard’s range in accordance with its purpose. Ask yourself what are you going to use it for? Commuting to work? Riding across campus? Doing errands? For fun and recreation? If you are using your electric skateboard for travelling to work, choose the one that has a longer range, meaning the one that will give you the longest ride on a single battery charge. Another thing to pay attention to is the wheels. The quality of the wheels is of utmost importance for the skateboard’s performance.
Price – As a general rule of thumb, with electric skateboards you get what you pay for. If you go for a cheaper version, you are probably going to get a very heavy board with a lot of hardware. Also, electric skateboards that are powered by a lithium battery are usually more expansive than those than run on lead acid. Please consider in which country the board was assembled and, if you can, avoid the boards made in you know which Asian country. If you are passionate about skateboarding or planning to use your skateboard for years to come, it really pays off to invest in a proper, high quality board.
Motor power – What is the board’s motor wattage? Do not confuse the motor wattage with the speed. Higher wattage doesn’t necessarily mean faster skateboard. Pay attention to skateboard’s rated wattage, NOT the maximum output wattage. Buy one on which you can adjust gear ratios which will give you higher speed. Just think of electric skateboard’s motor as a high speed racing bike. You don’t use the same gear on flat surfaces and on an uphill ride. Also, you need to factor in the noise. Higher the wattage, louder the motor.
Weight – This one is pretty much a no-brainer. If you are planning on using your board on a daily basis, consider the fact that you might have to carry it from time to time. Imagine carrying a board that weighs 25lbs compared to the one that weighs 10lbs. If, God forbid, you have to push it all the way home, you won’t lose much breath if you choose the lightweight one.
Quality of Charger – Don’t pinch pennies when it comes to battery chargers. A bad quality charger can ‘fry’ the batteries which in turn will destroy the electronic circuit board motor controller. If this happens, you are pretty much, for lack of a better word, screwed. You will have do a complete overhaul, get new batteries and a new charger which could cost you a small fortune. Also, it is good to know that lead acid batteries have to be constantly charged and replaced every two years. We would always pick lithium iron phosphate batteries over lead acid ones.
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