Whether it’s your first electric skateboard or you’re looking to upgrade your current one, you need to know these six pieces of advice!
In 2012, the electric skateboard company Boosted Boards, which was just a startup at the time, announced a high-tech, dual-motor electric skateboard. Their product kicked off an innovation avalanche in the electric skateboard industry.
Electric skateboards had actually been around for many years before 2012. However, they just weren't very good. Massive batteries, unimpressive performance, and heavy, bulky designs are a few reasons the industry never received much attention from tech enthusiasts.
4 years later, in 2017, there are more and more ESK8 brands entering the market and they’re all scrambling for market share and bragging rights when it comes to claims about performance and features.
As a electric skateboard engineer & designer, I’ve researched and tested all kinds of eboards. In this article I’ll list the six most important technologies, features, and specifications to look out for when purchasing your electric skateboard.
Since rain can be unpredictable, it’s important to find out whether the e-skateboard you’re purchasing is waterproof. You don’t want to be caught in the rain (or go through an unexpected puddle) with your new skateboard. It's critical to check this before buying any electric skateboard because many of them don't come with environmentally sealed enclosures to protect the components inside.
We all know that electronics and water don’t mix. There are a few other components on some electric skateboards that also don’t like being wet. Can you guess? Most people would probably already know that bearings don't really like being wet, however, there is not much you can do about that if you want a skateboard that rolls :)
Another thing that can eventually by ruined by water exposure is a belt and pulley drive train system. Many electric skateboards use belt and pulley drive trains. These all work very well. However, the teeth tend to get a bit clogged up with dirt and grit when riding over wet surfaces. This tends to reduce the amount of torque that can be transferred into the wheels. The impact of clogged teeth is mostly noticeable during braking, as the brake force is instantly applied with greater force than during the forces of acceleration. If the teeth are clogged up, you may notice the teeth skip. This can lead to shorter life expectancy of your belts, so make sure you buy spares. Also, be sure to do more regular maintenance if riding in the wet with a belt drive, and focus on cleaning the drive train components to ensure any debris that is lodged in the teeth is cleaned out.
If you hate the idea of maintenance and plan to ride in bad conditions, it might be a good idea to shop for a direct drive or hub motor electric skateboard, as the motors are better protected against the elements of nature because there aren’t any external moving parts. In some electric skateboards, the hub motors are completely sealed, making them totally waterproof and maintenance-free.
Do your homework and make sure you find a product that is built to last, no matter what the environment throws at you. Any serious product should have an Ingress Protection Rating clearly indicated. IP65 or greater is what you should look for.
Any skateboard rider will agree that skateboards have a really tough life. They’re constantly exposed to a variety of terrain (some of it rough) and they move at high speeds. For these reasons and others, wear and tear can happen pretty quickly. It's no different with electric skateboards. No matter how well-built an electric skateboard is, there is always a chance they can break down. In fact, with the more complex electric components of ESK8 boards, they’re probably even more prone to breaking down than traditional skateboards.
When it comes to warranties, it pays to read the fine print so you can understand what is actually covered. Also, it may be super obvious, but the longer the warranty the better. If a company only has a 6-month warranty, it might mean that they don’t have confidence in the durability of their product.
Not all warranties are created equal, so do your research and conduct some market research online about any company you plan to buy from. Search online for cases using the company name, and also search in the various online forums to see if people are getting good service and support.
It's also important to know what rights you have as the consumer: Are you allowed to do your own repairs, or will that void your warranty? Will the company send you parts? Do you have to send the item back to the company if it needs repairs? How much will it cost for shipping, or is it free?
Warranties come in all shapes and sizes, so ask yourself before handing over your hard-earned cash: does this product come with a legitimate warranty, and can I easily make claims if I have to? Of course, we all try to buy high quality products and keep them well maintained, but the reality of life is that you might have issues. Make sure you’re covered in case there’s a problem with your electric skateboard.
Also keep in mind that if your board breaks because you’ve been abusing it, you’re probably on your own: most warranties only cover manufacturing faults!
Range anxiety is real! There is nothing worse than heading out on an ESK8 adventure and realising you don't have enough juice to make it home! Pushing totally sucks. And if the board has belt-driven wheels, you’ll have substantially more resistance, making pushing an exhaustive exercise that your legs will remind you about for several days following!
When it comes to batteries, bigger is nearly always better. Generally speaking, the larger the battery, the more power it can store and the further you can ride on one charge. However, not all batteries are made with premium cells from the world's leading battery chemistry experts (such as Samsung, LG, & Panasonic). Be sure to do your research and find out if the battery is capable of delivering the performance you desire. Make sure to confirm it is made using the best quality high-output cells.
A good rule of thumb is that an electric skateboard battery should offer close to 1 hour of ride time and ideally 20 miles or more in terms of range. (Normally an electric skateboard will use around 10 to 15 watt-hours per Kilometer. That’s why 99wh batteries are only good for around 6 miles.)
Also, if you are a fairly heavy person (say 200 lbs or more), or really tall (say 6ft or more), you will create more load on the drive train. This is not just due to your weight! Wind resistance is a real factor, and the taller you stand, the more wind you need to displace when accelerating forwards. So if you are a biggin’, you’ll definitely want to get an electric skateboard with a larger battery. Something with over 300wh capacity is probably the smartest feature to shop for.
To be fair, not everyone shares this opinion about large batteries. It’s common to hear arguments such as; “I never need to ride that far,” or “My legs hurt after 20 minutes.” These are valid points for sure, and I would also agree that 1 hour of riding is a long time, especially if you are riding really hard, crouching down, and leaning into corners. Like they say, time flies when you’re having fun!
However, on a more serious note, it’s always better to make it home safely while there is plenty of juice left in your pack. This way your battery never gets over-discharged, which is very important to avoid, as it will ensure you have a happy battery that can easily be recharged more than 1000 times before noticeably showing less capacity per charge.
Smaller packs that are always being fully depleted & fully recharged will have a shorter life span meaning the cost-to-charge-ratio of a small pack is higher than a larger pack. Larger batteries do have a higher price tag upfront, but don’t balk at this because they are technically more cost effective over their lifespan.
Finally, there’s one really important note to keep in mind with skateboard batteries: most airlines have size restrictions that limit you to carry only 99wh. So don’t take your battery with you if it’s bigger than this. Unfortunately, airlines can change this rule anytime they like, so be prepared to have your board or battery confiscated at the airport if you choose to travel with it.
To Be Continue..........
This article is written by enertionboards and previously published on enertionboards.com