Is this the future of electric skateboards?
A cult hobby, a serious sport, and possibly, a futuristic mode of city transport – electric skateboards are gaining momentum. Here’s how product designers are responding…
Skateboarding has come a long way since its humble beginnings in California. Back then, wannabe boardies (usually surfers who wanted something to do when the waves were flat) made make-shift boards by attaching old roller-skate wheels to wooden planks. “Sidewalk Surfing” as it was known became so popular that skateboard companies formed and by 1963, over 50 million were sold.
In the late 1990’s, skateboarding had become a cult hobby among fearless teenagers and a fascination of one inventor in particular, Louie Finkle. Also known as Electric Louie, he invented and patented the wireless electric skateboard. His patent, which he filed back in 1996, shows a design charging power to one set of wheels and controlled via a wireless remote.
Louie eventually founded Exkate producing more than 1500 boards and filing over fifty patents for products including X24, which twenty years ago set skateboard enthusiasts back around $1,200.
Thankfully today, competition is stiff and innovation is travelling at full speed. Skateboarding has become an olympic sport and electric skateboards are evolving to become a more mainstream mode of transport. The only thing in their way to becoming a viable solution for governments focusing on smartening up their cities is legislation.
Nevertheless, product designers are pouring their creativity into the idea as progressions in technology broaden what is possible. So, we’ve rounded up 9 of the best we could find, including a compact miniboard designed for city limits and a chromatic concept that uses a rainbow of colour to highlight the future potential of electric skateboards…
Razor X1 Cruiser Electric Skateboard
Just because it’s electric doesn’t mean it should look like a hoverboard. With a 125-watt, geared motor and speeds of up to 10mph, the Razor X1 Cruiser features a 5-ply maple deck with a polyurethane coating, an aesthetic nod to retro models.
This electric skateboard is powered by a wireless hand-held remote and features a soft-start kick to activate. Meanwhile, designers have included variable-speed control to help ease users in and out of the skate action.
Eager to discover more designs using green technology? Don’t miss EARTH 300, a 984-foot atomic superyacht on a mission to save the world!
Exway Flex Electric Longboard
Next is a more contemporary take on traditional skateboards. The Exway Flex Electric Longboard pairs alternating layers of multi-directional fiberglass and bamboo to create a super-tough and elastic deck.
Similar to the Razor X1, electric components are mounted beneath the deck instead of integrated within the board itself, a modular design that makes swapping out parts easy and simple. Users can also choose between hub and belt motors, each one designed to tackle flat or tricky terrain respectively.
Skateboard Electric Elwing Halokee Longboard
For a truly modular design, Elwing’s Halokee Longboard is built from a collection of parts that are all compatible with one another. That means users can switch to lighter boards and more powerful motors whenever they want.
Designed for large curves and long descents, Halokee is a great electric longboard for those who want to cruise and coast around the city, with a long deck that allows for smooth turns and absorbs all vibrations.
The Onewheel Pint distils the riding experience into a small package for every-day journeys, powered by a 750 Watt motor housed in a 10.5 inch fat tyre positioned at the center of the board. This 27-inch, compact model features impact bumpers and an ultra-resistant matt powder coating. Meanwhile, footpad sensors detect users and know when to activate motion.
Making the whole thing even more convenient, it weighs a (somewhat) manageable 23 pounds and features an integrated handle that allows you to take the board with you on-the-go.
Boosted Mini X
Another small but mighty model is the Boosted Mini X, an electric skateboard also aiming to miniaturize the traditional electric longboard. At 29.5 inches and only 16.8 pounds, the board is made from a composite material containing poplar wood core and triaxial fiberglass for maximum strength.
The board features a unique concave shape that locks users’ feet in position for maximum control and response and a kicktail enables sharp 90 degree turns for ultimate maneuverability.
For something a little more futuristic, the Chromatix concept by Turkish industrial designer Elif Özügeldi highlights a carbon body with LED strip lights, all powered by a lithium battery.
Chromatix connects to the user’s phone via bluetooth and adjusts colour according to the rhythm of the music they are listening to. Alternatively, a colour wheel accessible through an app allows for complete customisation.
Nike Electric Skateboard Concept
South Korean industrial designer Jaehyuk Lim has come up with an interesting concept for a Nike Cruiser Board, an electric personal transportation device that’s easy to use, charge and carry around.
A streamlined design features what looks like a cobalt body with rubber grip wheels. The concept also comes with a ‘Cruiser Backpack’, which lets users charge their board on the go.
PLMM is an electric four-wheel skateboard concept which can be accelerated, decelerated and reversed by merely tilting the elevated deck. By using two inclinometers, the centre of gravity is checked by measuring the tilt 1,000 times per second so that it is stable even when accelerating or decelerating.
Designed by Naver Labs, the concept features a chrome body for strength, and a combination of dynamic curves and straight lines to create a unique, modern aesthetic.
Complete with a built-in camera and wheels that can recognise ground conditions, the Delight concept imagines the future of smart electric skateboard design.
Designed by industrial designer Sungwoo Park, it comes with an app designed to enhance the rider’s enjoyment, capturing data via the camera and a set of haptic wheels to build an understanding of a user’s personal preferences and the skateboarding community as a whole.
Ready to have fun and to discover new places? Delight, the smart electric skateboard designed by Sungwoo Park is waiting for you!