Electric skateboard: a new fad or the best urban rideable ever?


The electric skateboard should be getting the attention it deserves, now that rechargeable rideables are making their way into the market. Electric mobility is the future of personal transportation, and electric skateboards, simply known as e-boards, will play a huge role in that exciting future. Though e-boards have been around since the mid-1970s, they are not as popular as electric cars, self-balancing scooters (hoverboards), e-bikes and e-scooters. But thanks to the public’s growing fondness for alternative transport, the electric skateboard will finally earn its place in the realm of eco-sustainable transport.

If the conventional kick scooter and bicycle can be motorized, how much more for a skateboard? Anything with wheels can be electrified. Any conventional gas-powered vehicle can become a battery-powered machine. And it will not be long before the baby carriage becomes electrified and equipped with a rechargeable battery pack, but we cannot come to that yet. We are talking about the electric skateboard, which we need more than a motorized baby carriage.

The essence of electric skateboarding

Speed is excitement, but is there anything exciting about having to kick push your skateboard? None! Much like pedaling a conventional bike, pushing your skateboard is never exciting. It is tiring, physically draining for a limited amount of fun. Skateboarding is supposed to be fun, but pushing takes all the fun out from it, and what results is the loss of energy to celebrate the joy of skateboarding. Riding an electric skateboard will bring all the fun and energy back into skateboarding.

Anyone who knows about Dilton’s remote control skateboard in Archie comics, the Rocket Racer’s jet engine board in Spider-Man, and Conan’s turbo engine skateboard in Detective Conan will agree that e-boards make an equally exciting ride either for recreation or transportation. Tony Hawk once said, “I won’t quit skating until I’m physically unable.” Well, with an electric skateboard, you will not worry about not being able to ride a skateboard but not having the time to have fun skateboarding.

Just like any other battery-powered rideables

Technology changes the dynamics of what skateboarding can be. One reason e-boards are better than conventional boards is summed up in one word: evolution. Vehicles evolve to get better and more user/rider-centric. This is what an electric skateboard offers: a faster, longer and more enjoyable riding experience. E-boards simply combine the best aspects of the skateboard with other rideables. While it retains its original iconic design, the electric skateboard has the power and speed of an e-bike or electric scooter (depending on motor and battery configuration).

Electric skateboards also obtain the marketability of e-bikes. You can either purchase a ready-made e-board from retailers or electrify your own board by using a conversion kit. Most importantly, it keeps its transportability. You can carry it with you on the subway or bus, put it in the trunk of your car or your school locker, or carry it on a backpack. The electric skateboard makes as the urban commuter’s ultimate travel companion, many ways better than electric scooters and hoverboards.

Why e-boards for urban commuting?

Electric skateboards are safer than hoverboards, more versatile than bicycles, and lighter, more portable than foldable electric scooters. If there is any mode of transport that better exemplify urbanization, then the skateboard it is. Skateboards have long been part of the urban culture, and an electric skateboard is the right vehicle to represent urban commuters’ growing awareness of eco-sustainable transport – a medium to show the power and advantages of electric mobility.  

Most people see skateboarding as a recreational activity and not as a form of transport, but electric skateboards will change all of that. Most commutes with public transportation take between 1 to 2 trips, and most private vehicle owners drive to work and school. Each trip does not take a long distance, usually between 2-5 miles. With private vehicles and public transport all using the road at the same time, the result is gridlock and pollution. This does not include the time and energy lost in a bad traffic situation. On the money side, you could have spent a significant percentage of your income or household budget on gas or fares – money better spent on groceries or noteworthy endeavors. Indirectly you are contributing financially to pollution.

The specs will say why the electric skateboard makes as better alternative urban transport. The best e-boards out there pack up an average speed between 16-25 mph, travel distance between 6 to 20 miles (9 to 12 km), and 35-90 minutes of runtime, depending on motor and battery configuration. Of course, certain variables will come into play, such as rider’s weight, surface conditions, and riding style. Moreover, it takes between 3.5-6 hours to charge an electric skateboard, depending on brand and battery.

What if you commute on an electric skateboard or convert your board into an e-board? You will not have to think about substantial fuel costs or fare increase. You will not whine about the lack of parking space. No traffic jams, no headache for you, the urban commuter on an alternative, eco-friendly transport.

Electric skateboards offer urban commuters the advantage of faster speed, with greater time convenience in the offing. When people want to go somewhere quickly, they know what mode of transport will be able to bring them to where they want to go. If you are just riding a regular skateboard, you are still powering it by pushing your foot. This means you are having a hard time increasing your speed, which is dependent on how hard and fast you can move your foot.

With an electric skateboard, there will be no pushing (unless you want to, to conserve battery life). The electric motor under the deck of your e-board eliminates the need for slow, tedious pushes. You can finally enjoy the pure freedom of speed: with a simple pull of a trigger, you can accelerate faster than you can imagine. Life is too short to keep on pushing. Why push when you can just have fun?

If you happen to live in San Francisco or other urban hilly areas, worry not about having to travel uphill. You may not have an idea what carving uphill feels like, but it is now possible with an electric skateboard. With it, you can reach the same speed uphill as downhill. Thought electric skateboards go slow on an uphill climb? Thanks to the electric motors and durable wheels, they really go – and you would not even have to break a sweat.  

Unlike e-scooters and e-bikes, a standard electric skateboard takes a few hours to charge. It has a battery life or runtime longer than most hoverboards and electric scooters. Given that, e-boards also offer the advantage of range. They have adequate amount of energy to travel a fair amount of distance in between charges. But still you need to be mindful of your electric skateboard’s battery life and guarantee it does not run out of power when you commute or else you could end up powering the board by your foot.

Despite the advantages, some limitations

Some purists in the skateboarding community will dismiss the electric skateboard as a mere fad, but urban commuters will be happy to take up electric skateboarding as a alternative or supplement to public transport. It won’t be long before e-boards become part of the extreme games.

But as owner of an electric skateboard, you need to be mindful of how you use the device. You may be tempted to do a few tricks with it, but take note that you are dealing with something that has electrical components. You should know better that unlike the regular skateboard, the electric skateboard is not a toy.  You can still carve or push it as you desire, but it is built for commuting, not for tricks.

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