Electric skateboard

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An electric skateboard being demonstrated at TED 2013[1]

An electric skateboard is a personal transporter based on a skateboard. The speed is usually controlled by a wireless hand-held throttle remote or rider body weight-shifting between front of the board for forward motion and rear for braking. As for the direction of travel to the right or left, it is adjusted by tilting the board to one side or the other. Electric skateboards are not considered as vehicles and do not require registration or licensing.

History[edit]

Early incarnations[edit]

The MotoBoard, which was gasoline-powered was released in the summer of 1975,[2] but were banned in California due to their noise and pollution in 1997.[3][4]

Modern electric devices[edit]

walkcar' by cocoa motors

Louie Finkle of Seal Beach, California is often cited as an originator of the modern electric skateboard, offering his first wireless electric skateboard in 1997[2][5] and a patent filed in April 1999,[6] however it was not until the 2004–2006 that electric motors and batteries were available with sufficient torque and efficiency to power boards effectively.[5]

In 2012, ZBoard,[7] raised nearly 30 times their target for a balance controlled electric skateboard on Kickstarter,[8] which was well received at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2013.[9][10] Their 2015 campaign on Indiegogo was 86 time over-subscribed, raising $1 million.[11]

Design and operation[edit]

Electric skateboards of various sizes

It was originally designed for local transport, but now offer a more serious "Off Road" model as a new thrill sport. The Off Road style boards are able to traverse grass, gravel, dirt and hard sand with ease and are often seen at low tide on the beach.

The basic design of an electric skateboard consists of an electric motor (out-runner or hub), batteries, speed controller (often the specially designed VESC), and a wireless throttle on top of a regular skateboard, longboard or other variant (e.g. penny board, mountain board).

Motor[edit]

Electric skateboard motors can be divided into two groups:

  • Hub motors – More affordable and easier to maintain, hub motors are built directly into the wheels so they produce less torque, but typically gives you more range
  • Out-runner motors – Noisier, more mechanically complex and more expensive than hub motors, belt drives produce more torque but also require more power and typically gives you a little less range compared to hub motors.
  • Direct drive motors - They are placed between the wheels and the trucks. They don't need a belt as they are directly connected to the wheels. Their advantages over the in-wheel hub motors are that being outside they cool off the heat better and also they are compatible with most of the quality wheels on the market, while the hub motors usually need cover wheels manufactured specifically for their size.

The out-runner motor uses a belt and pulley system which drives the wheel. Because of this, different sized pulleys can be used to gear the drive system. Hub motors are incorporated into the wheel hubs themselves, which give a smaller overall footprint. Hub motors are often used in smaller electric skateboards.

Board deck[edit]

Electric skateboards are able to travel at high speeds, as well as go off-road. The stability, in turn, is determined by a couple of key deck features:

  • Length – Achieving high speed almost always requires the use of a longboard. The longer the deck is, the more stable the skateboard will be.
  • Wheelbase – The wheelbase is distance between the front truck and rear truck, with a wider wheelbase providing better weight distribution and stability at speed.
  • Flexibility – Flexibility is the deck's ability to absorb shocks. Greater flexibility has a negative impact on the unit's stability, so downhill racers require stiffer decks.

Electronic Speed Controller[edit]

All electric skateboards need an electronic speed controller (ESC) in order to vary the speed of the motor for accelerating or braking. The rise of hobbyists building their own electric skateboards meant demand for a more functional and specific ESC. The VESC (which stands for Vedder Electronic Speed Controller) is a more advanced ESC which allows for features such as better motor and battery protection, regenerative braking, programming options like acceleration and deceleration curves, and other advanced features. Previously these hobbyists had been using RC ESCs which were not as robust. Companies selling the VESC have modified and improved on these original blueprints.

Truck[edit]

Trucks are important and extremely durable parts that are mounted under the surface of the electric skateboard.

Trucks are part of a T-shaped metal body under the two ends of the skateboard.

When choosing trucks, user should choose an axis with the length of 2 closest to the width of the board. The slight difference in width between the skateboard axis and the skateboard surface will greatly affect the time skateboarding. To have a safe and accurate way to buy skateboards, you just need to pay attention "the bigger the surface of the board, the bigger the axis of the board."

Safety[edit]

Many boards can reach speeds of over 20 mph (32 km/h), with many (including D.I.Y boards) heading up towards 30 mph (48 km/h).[citation needed] . The world's fastest electric skateboard could attained 95.83 km/h (59.55 mph).[12] Mischo Erban ride NEXT BOARD by NGV and set Guinness World Record in 2015 at the airport in Potoroz, Piran, Slovenia.[13] Although many boards have brakes, they are not as efficient as brakes found on other personal transporters such as bicycles.[citation needed]

As accidents can be fatal,[14][15] personal protective equipment including helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads are recommended for high speed riding.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sanjay Dastoor: A skateboard, with a boost". TED. February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "History Of Electric Skateboarding / Electric Longboard". magnetoelectricskateboard.
  3. ^ "SK8Laws.pdf" (PDF). Learn to ride a skateboard. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  4. ^ Oppenheimer, Tracy. "The Fight Against California's Electric Skateboard Ban". Reason.comn. Reason Foundation. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Altered ExKate History". Altered AxKate.
  6. ^ US Patent 5893425A Remote control electric powered skateboard
  7. ^ "The ZBoard Website". KickStarter. April 2012.
  8. ^ d-the-weight-sensing-electric-skateboard/description "The ZBoard: The Weight-sensing Electric Skateboard" Check |url= value (help). KickStarter. April 2012.
  9. ^ "I rode the ZBoard in Las Vegas and it changed my life". The Verge. 11 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Skate through 2013 on your very own ZBoard (video)". PC World. 9 January 2013.
  11. ^ "ZBoard 2: The Most Advanced Electric Skateboard". Indiegogo. January 2015.
  12. ^ "Fastest electric skateboard and reviews". The News Region. 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  13. ^ "Fastest speed on an electric skateboard". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  14. ^ Rollins, Khadrice. "Minor League Catcher Chace Numata Dies After Skateboarding Accident". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  15. ^ Zucker, Joseph. "Tigers Double-A Catcher Chace Numata Dies at 27 After Skateboarding Accident". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 3 September 2019.