An electric skateboard is typically a modified skateboard propelled by an electric engine, the thrust of which is usually controlled with an RF remote. As with a regular skateboard, it is steered by the rider shifting his or her weight. It was originally designed for local transport, but with the advent of more serious "Off Road" models is emerging as a new thrill sport. The Off Road style boards are able to traverse grass, gravel, dirt and hard sand and are often seen at low tide on the beach.
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The typical range for an 800-watt unit with a LiFePO4 battery is between 16 and 20 km (9–12 miles). 600 W units achieve 20% less range than their 800 W counterparts, and units using the older sealed lead acid batteries achieve 30% less range than those using the LiFePO4 batteries. The maximum speed of a typical electric skateboard is about 25–40 kilometres per hour (16–25 mph).
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Many manufacturers now offer 12 Ah LiFePO4 packs as an optional upgrade over the more standard SLA battery packs, which reduces the weight of the boards by 10 kg (LiFePO4 packs weigh in at 5 kg compared to the 15 kg of the standard SLA pack). This results in a lighter, more agile board. Additionally, discharge chemistry of a LiFePO4 battery allows the motor to run at top speed constantly until the battery is exhausted, compared to the initial high current from an SLA battery which quickly tapers off as it discharges. Furthermore, a high quality 12 Ah-rated LiFePO4 pack can realistically deliver 9–10 Ah, compared to a 12 Ah-rated SLA pack which realistically delivers 7–8 Ah due to the high energy demands of an electric skateboard's motor (typically 25–35 amps when riding at high speed, over rough or sloping terrain).
By increasing the battery capacity to 20 Ah (using small-factor LiFePO4 pouch cells), ranges of 30 kilometers or more can be achieved even when riding at constant high speed.
The first mass-produced powered skateboard was the Motoboard. It was first created in the summer of 1975. The Motoboard is gasoline powered[contradiction] and served as a grandfather to the electric skateboards we have today.
The Motoboard, and similar skateboards, were banned in the mid-1970s in California under section 21968., as their gas engines cause a lot of pollution and were extremely loud. Most of developments for motorized skateboards, however, have occurred in California. Modesto Assemblywomen Kirsten Olsen is leading the change to make electric skateboards legal in California by proposing bill no. 2054 which would legalize motorized skateboards if they ran off of electricity, not gas; their motor would be under 1,000 watts; they could not go faster than 20 mph; and have electic skateboard manufacturers to disclose to their consumers that their insurace policy may not cover electric skateboards. The bill was submitted February 20, 2014 and has yet to be voted upon.
Electric Skateboards came into the public eye more recently when a number of different companies started raising funds through crowdfunding website Kickstarter. One of the pioneers was ZBoard. Rivals such as Boosted, Inboard and Marbel soon followed suit. There are now more than 40 manufacturers of electric skateboards around the world.
The electric skateboard market is constantly changing and new eSkateboards are constantly being announced. Some people would rather create their own electric skateboard, and there are forums: 1, 2 dedicated to helping people create their own electric skateboard.