Is eskateboarding the next big micromobility event?

As people search for greener ways to travel, the mobility industry is changing – and one of the success stories of recent times is electric skateboarding. Or eskateboard, as the kids say.

You don’t know your truck from your bridge? Well, this guide will get you started. In fact, a lot of the information comes from the skaters themselves, who have kindly shared their knowledge with me.

What is an electric skateboard and how does it work?

The lower spec of an eskateboard. Image source.

Electric skateboards, also called eboards and often written esk8 [god, I feel old] are powered by an electric motor and typically controlled using a handheld wireless remote that communicates via Bluetooth between the controller and the board.

There are also corresponding apps to track metrics like distance traveled and battery life.

The bird’s-eye specifications of an eskateboard. Image source.

Remote control functionality eliminates the need to push or use your foot on the ground to break. Instead, these boards use motion and weight sensors for acceleration and braking, and body weight changes to adjust the speed of the board.

skateboard remote control
Example of remote control. Image source.

What is the speed and range?

The first consumer boards from Boosted Boards offered a range of 9.6 km (6 miles) to 32 km (20 miles) per hour.

In comparison, current skateboards typically offer a top speed of around 55 km / h (34 mph) with a range of between 20 km and around 70 km (44 miles). Some skateboarders will hack their boards to make them go faster.

Power of skateboarding
Eskateboards continually increase their range in terms of range and battery life. Image source:

Jed, an avid eskater and an active member of the community to bring people to the stage, shared this with me on moving around electrical panels::

The announced range is a liar game. Technically these ranges are achievable, but you should still compare the Esk8 range by battery size. These are not cars where Aero is determined by the size and shape of the car and the weight determined by the 1,500 lb battery under the floor.

The size / weight of the rider, road conditions and speed matter much more than whether the engines are 88% or 90% mechanically efficient. So if board A claims 12 miles with a 216Wh battery and board B claims 27 km (17 miles) with a 216Wh battery, board B is lying *.

The rule of thumb is ~ 15Wh / mi at 24 kmpm (15mph) with skate wheels. Riding faster than 4 km / h (25 mph) can blow over 25 Wh / mi.

Many current boards have a haptic in the remote to vibrate when it turns on and off, or to heat up the low voltage in the remote’s battery.

Charging a skateboard typically takes around 2-3 hours.

How can I stop?

Unlike a normal skateboard, you don’t have to put your foot down to stop moving. Instead, there are two types of braking – dynamic and regenerative:

  • Dynamic braking converts electrical (kinetic) energy into heat by transferring electricity from rotating motors into a resistor that creates resistance on the copper wires. This resistance slows down the rotation of the motor and stops the board.
  • With regenerative braking when you press the remote control to stop the electric motor goes into reverse mode, reducing the speed of the wheels of the board. The motor works as an electric generator as the rotor spins backwards, producing electricity which is fed back into the battery, recharging it.

However, the downside of the regenerative model is that, because the brakes recharge the battery, a large hill can overload it. This may cause the device to deactivate the brake function.

Some skateboards come with regenerative and dynamic brakes installed in the same unit.

Confuses? here is a great explanation of the science of braking in more detail.

Are electric skateboards legal? Where can I mount them?

skateboard legality
Eskateboarding is another example where the laws are behind the modes of transportation. Image source.
  • Where can it be used?
  • Who can use it?
  • Who’s deciding ?

Government officials make many local decisions without involving the communities for whom the laws represent the skateboarders themselves.

There are no specific laws that allow or limit the practice of eskateboarding in many countries, which makes things confusing.

However, that doesn’t give you carte blanche as to whether you can ride on the sidewalk, in a cycle lane, on the road, or in public spaces like town squares and shopping malls.

The laws are confusing and complex

The laws also concern the speed of eskateboarding. For example, in France you can skate on city roads where the speed limit is 50 km / h or less, but not on country roads.

It is legal to ride on cycle paths and even on the sidewalk at reduced speed (6 km / h) in some French cities, but it depends on local laws! However, the maximum speed of the electric skateboard should not exceed 25 km / h (15 mph), which is much slower than most electric skateboards.

Useful Resources

get around on an eskateboard
Eskat could make your daily commute much more enjoyable. Image source.

Have you piqued your interest in trying out eskateboarding? Stay turned for more stories.

I will be posting a corresponding article very soon sharing the perspectives of all the amazing skateboarders I interviewed in more detail.

I will also follow this article with an interview with the organizers of a community-led campaign to change the laws – check out this space.

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