An electric skateboard is a personal transporter based on a skateboard. The speed is controlled by a hand-held throttle or weight-shifting and the direction of travel is adjusted by tilting the board to one side or the other.
Modern electric devices
Louie Finkle of Seal Beach, California is often cited as a originator of the modern electric skateboard, offering his first wireless electric skateboard in 1997 and a patent filed in April 1999, however it wasn't until the 2004-6 that electric motors and batteries were available with sufficient torque and efficiency to power boards effectively.
In 2012 ZBoard raised nearly 30 times their target for a balance controlled electric skateboard on kickstarter, which was well received at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2013. Their 2015 campaign on Indiegogo was 86 time over-subscribed, raising $1m.
Design and operation
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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.
Detailed information about battery and range
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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).
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. In 2016, four companies started to offer electric skateboards with the ability to run over 30 km with an 8Ah battery unlike their predecessors who offer up to 25 km and cost almost double.
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