What Is An Electric Skateboard? – Ultimate Guide

What Is An Electric Skateboard Eboard Facts

An electric skateboard is a battery and motor-powered personal transporter. Requiring a handheld remote control to initiate the movement for electric skateboarding. Riders can shift body weight between the front of the board for navigation.

Obviously, you didn’t come here to read the literal definition of “what is an electric skateboard”. This post will unpack and e-boards history, dangers, inner workings, rules, and regulations.

Electric Skateboard History

In the early 1940s, people began attaching roller-skating wheels to planks of wood. It all started somewhere around the 1940s to early 50s.

Surfers, wanting to have something to do when there were poor surfing conditions. Attaching the roller wheels to simple boards, and skateboarding was born. 

In 1958, Bill and Mark Richards from Vals Surf Shop in Dana Point, CA, first made their own homemade boards.

Then contracted with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to attach wheels to thin, poorly made boards which they sold for $8 each. {2}

Fast forward to the early 70s. Motoboards, gas-powered skateboards came into existence and almost as quickly lost popularity.

This was because of their loud noise. Though they are still in existence, there are banned by many states and countries due to the noise.

Meanwhile, Louis Finkle of Seal Beach CA, created the first e-board. The first e-board was costly. Costing $1200 back in 1999, shortly after he filed a patent for it. 

Today, electronic skateboards are a multi-million dollar industry. Although in many respects, like e-bikes, electric skateboards are still in their infancy stage.

How Do Electric Skateboards Work?

What Is An Electric Skateboard? - Ultimate Guide 1

There are actually two methods of powering a skateboard electrically. Either through hub-powered motors in the wheels or through belt-driven.

Which is the drivetrain connected to the bottom of the skateboard. Going forward, going faster, slowing down and braking are controlled with a hand-controller.

Hub motors in the wheels are cheaper and typically give a longer range. While belt-driven systems are more expensive and require strong motors. The range is also somewhat reduced.

Most electric skateboards seem to concentrate on five main things:

1. The weight of the electric skateboard itself 

If an electric skateboard is too heavy, then its ease of portability is greatly reduced. A college student, whether man or woman, can easily carry around a 4-pound skateboard. Stick it in a backpack or just carry it under his or her arm. 

However, if the skateboard weighs 16 pounds, it’s not nearly as portable. Some chargers for electronic skateboards weigh nearly as much as the skateboard itself.

2. The range of the skateboard 

Electric skateboards are very substantially in range. A typical skateboard may have a range of around 7 miles, to as many as 22 miles per charge.

Although a note of caution. Subtract around 25 percent of the range off of any electric skateboard manufactures estimate. So if they say it gets 20 miles per charge, figure on around 15. 

The range is very important to consider when purchasing an electric skateboard. If you will, as many 20-somethings do, commute to work or school.

If you are just using your electric skateboard for fun on the weekends. 

Well then, who cares, but if you live more than 10 miles roundtrip to your destination. Plan on bringing your charger with you to work or school. 

3. The Load capacity 

While granted, there aren’t too many 400-pound sumo wrestlers seen on skateboards, electric or otherwise. how much weight the board will carry and not bog down on the way is important. 

There are some boards that are designed to carry 250 pounders. Yet if you tend to be on the heavy side when compared to the listed load capacity.

Then you should ask will this board be suited for me? It’s an honest question to ask, like speed, range, and overall performance is based on it.

4. The brakes 

Believe it or not, one of the drawbacks of electric skateboards is the system of regenerative braking. Just like electric cars, when you hit the hand controller to put on the brakes. The electric energy is in a set of magnets in the braking system.

Takes kinetic energy and uses it to brake or it sends the energy back to the battery.

What this means is that if the battery is at or near full charge, your brakes won’t work at all.

So you better know how to use your foot to brake and for goodness sake, don’t ride in either flip-flops or barefooted.

5. Speed

Do you want to be like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights, crying out to the world, “I want to go fast” Believe it or not, there is a production electric skateboard Patterned after Mischo Erban, a Slovenian.

Who’s 68 mile-an-hour feat on a souped-up electric skateboard set a Guinness World Record. You can watch his breathtaking feat on YouTube at Electric Skateboard World Record.

Fortunately, most production-level electric skateboards go quite a bit slower. A typical electric skateboard will go at around 10 to 15 miles per hour.

Some of the more expensive boards, however, straight out of the box, will allow a rider to cruise at up to 25 miles per hour. 

As a side-by-side comparison, World’s Fastest Runner, Usain Bolt. Runs at nearly 28 miles per hour when running the 100-yard dash.

Those are speeds that would put the proverbial road-runner, a grisly bear, and a bull elephant to shame. 

So yes, speed is important. Note that many upper-level e-boards can go significantly faster than even an experienced bicyclist.

Even hills with a 15-degree grade are no problem with a strong, electronic skateboard.

What Makes The Wheels Turn

As mentioned earlier, there are two ways of electrically moving the wheels on an electric skateboard. The first is with a hub motor.

A hub motor is relatively small and fits into the axis connected to the wheel of the skateboard. A single wire connects the battery to the wheel and as the motor spins, it propels the skateboard.

There are two major advantages and two major disadvantages to a hub motor. The first advantage is that it is significantly quieter than a belt-driven motor.

In addition, it is possible to buy a conversion kit, and transform a standard skateboard into an electric one.

The two disadvantages are that the space is so small that the motor can’t be as powerful as one driven by a belt. The other disadvantage is that like all motors, it generates heat.

In order to dissipate some of the heat, small holes are punched into the surrounding casing to help the heat flow out.

However, that also means that an electric skateboard, powered by a hub motor, is subject to rust and corrosion.

As you travel over puddles and wet grass, water can get into the motor, causing it to burn out sooner.

In addition, with a skateboard with a hub motor, you are stuck with the wheels it is connected to. The motor, hub, and wheels are pretty much a singular unit.

With a belt motor, the motor pulls a motor pulley which in turn pulls a wheel pulley belt, similar to an e-bicycle. The motor gets more air.

So there is no necessity to punch ventilation holes in the chassis. The belt motor setups allow for significantly more powerful engines.

Typically, a belt motor electric skateboard will have anywhere from a 400 watt all the way to a 2,000-watt motor. The additional torque that these large motors create makes a breeze out going up inclines or carrying heavier passengers.

The bottom line is that most people choose an integrated electric belt-driven system. With the exception of those who prefer to do it themselves.

Regardless of which type of motor system you have. Virtually all electric skateboards have a hand-controlled Electronic Speed Controller. Essentially the brains of an electronic skateboard.

The ESC (electric speed controller) works by controlling how much juice the battery sends to the motor. Thereby controlling both speed and the brakes.

Are Electric Skateboards Good For Beginners?

Electric skateboards can be a great alternative for public transport. For beginners with some sort of experience riding traditional skateboards, e-boards won’t be too different.

Riding an electric skateboard isn’t as hard but will require some getting used to. This is especially true for the remote control. This doesn’t mean an electric skateboard can’t come without risk.

You’ll be more vulnerable to injuries and accidents. An Electric skateboard top speed can be underestimated, and the quick stop n go action will take you off guard.

Beginners should go through a few practice runs. Before taking it out on the road, find a large university parking lot and ride it out there on the weekend.

Start by going slow. Say 3 to 5 miles per hour. Then gradually increase your speed.

Pay particular attention to breaking. Go 10 feet then brake, Go another 10 feet then brake. Practice this maneuver at least 50 to 100 times.

Also if there is a slight incline, practice navigating it a dozen times before you set out onto the street.

Are electric skateboards dangerous?

What Is An Electric Skateboard? - Ultimate Guide 2

It depends upon who you talk to, but if you speak to Orthopedic Surgeon, the verdict is fairly negative.

First of all, according to a CBS news report, almost 64,000 people, mostly young teens, are admitted to hospitals for skateboard accidents every single year. This amounts to 175 accidents per day. You can dig more into the report here.

However, e-board skateboards are particularly dangerous for a number of reasons.

  1. They are ridden more on the street. Except for college campuses, electric skateboard are almost exclusively driven in the street. Not only do young children tend not to have them, but they go too fast for sidewalk driving.
  2. They and their riders are hard to see Electric skateboard riders share the same space as cars, trucks and city buses. First of all, skateboard riders are hard to see. So that as cars approach, seeing a skateboard in their lane is often a big surprise.
  3. In addition, while a few skateboards have headlights, there are no models of skateboards with tail lights. Besides that, many cars start to pull out from parking on the street without looking fully where they are going. 
  4. This means it’s easy to miss a skateboarder. Finally, it’s common for street parkers to open up their car doors to get out or let their passengers out.
  5. The streets are a minefield of hazards Potholes, broken glass, street carts, pedestrians jaywalking against the light. There are dozens of obstructions lying out there waiting to trip up a skateboarder that isn’t fully attentive.
  6. A tendency to disobey the traffic laws, Electric skateboarders, like big bike couriers, have a tendency to ignore traffic laws. They will often be the first to zip past a red light, or to skirt onto the sidewalk to go around a traffic jam.

This doesn’t mean that every electric skateboarder is an accident waiting to happen, but many don’t use the plain precautions necessary.

First, protective equipment is necessary. Needless to say, a helmet is absolutely critical. Falling off a skateboard into the street at 10 miles per hour even, can permanently injure your brain without a helmet.

Next, there are wrist pads. The number one fracture or broken bone among skateboarders, young and old, is a broken wrist. When you fall, you naturally try to brace yourself with your wrists.

Also, unless you are secretly screaming on the inside at passing cars – “go ahead and hit me,”. Anyone driving in most conditions on city streets, needs a reflective vest, particularly when it’s dark. You want cars to be seeing you and to go around you.

Where To Buy Electric Skateboard

Sadly, there isn’t a big box retailer we can recommend you go to. As mentioned earlier electric skateboards are still in their infancy stage.

Retailers are typically late to the table. Focusing on market trends and increased demand to vindicate in-store stock of these sorts of niche items.

Also, there is a lot of unproven private sellers, companies may feel uncomfortable supporting them.

Let’s not forget that conventional skateboards and accessories are still very popular. Typically, conventional skateboards can be found in specialty shops that focus on action sports. If you are lucky these sorts of stores may have a few e-boards laying around.

But if your looking for more selection than the best bet is to search online through sites like Amazon and eBay. Here you’ll find popular brands like Boosted or Teamgee.

Some boards are more budget-friendly than others. The newness of electric skateboards means you’ll find lots of unproven sellers so be mindful of that as you shop.

Will be posting the top ten e-boards for every situation you can think of to help.

Best Electric Skateboard

Boosted Plus Electric Skateboard

Boosted 2nd Gen Electric Skateboard
  • Amazing acceleration/braking system
  • Features a remote
  • Suitable for hilly trails
  • Can be serviced alone
  • Can be expensive
  • Low Battery Life
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If you can’t bear to wait on our top ten list then recommend you start off your search with the Boosted plus electric skateboard.

Boosted Plus is a beginner-friendly board. Packs enough power so you can enjoy the ride from point A to B. Reaching a thrilling top speed of 22 mph.

The extended range battery pack provides up to 14 miles of range. The design of the Boosted Plus allows you to take on steep hills with ease.

Strong, yet lightweight poplar spine for sparingly, lively ride. It’s a great e-board to consider if you’re looking for that all-in-one look and feel. Take a look at the full features on amazon.

What Is An Electric Skateboard? - Ultimate Guide 3

Are electric skateboards worth it?

Electric skateboards are worth it. Just ask anyone stuck in traffic on a Monday morning going to work. Cities for example are e-boards best use cases.

In the city, you’ll contend with cars, trucks, and buses and none of them will expect an electric skateboarder to wizz by them.

The convince and portability that can be had with an electric skateboard can really make for an easy decision. As long as you are aware of some of the dangers that come with electric skateboarding.

Like the sudden stop and go motion had when pressing on e-skateboards remote control. Pay attention to the speed shown by the remote control and your surroundings.

But outside of riding a unicycle on the streets, electric skateboarding is probably no more dangerous than a vehicle.

In addition, be very careful about your purchase choice. Besides the things covered earlier such as capacity, range, speed, etc.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re all for electric skateboards. But do us all a favor and learn how to ride it thoroughly before you share the same streets with us.

Sturdy Wheel