Really? Yes, it´s true. You´ll be looking differently on electric skateboards after reading this article. But lets start with some basics.
Basic Physics also do apply for electric skateboarding
Ever wondered what theses battery specs actually mean? Take for example the Evolve Carbon GT, Evolve describes the battery as
“lithium ion battery 36v, 10Ah with custom BMS”
V stands for Volt which can be compared to pressure. Ah stands for Ampere hours and can be compared to flow through in one hour. Multiply both Volt -> pressure and Ah -> flow through and you know how much power your battery can provide in one hour (which is turn measured in Watt per hour -> Wh ).
In the example of the Evolve Carbon GT, this would be: 36V x 10Ah = 360 Wh. That´s how much power your electric skateboard has available: 1 hour of 360 Watt or 2 hours of each 180 Watt or 0,5 hours of 720 Watt (etc).
BMS by the way means “battery management system” and custom BMS means that Evolve is not just buying the battery in China like most of the others do, they are customizing it for their boards for optimal use.
Key determinat of range: your skateboard motors
Now let us look at what is consuming the battery’s power: your electric skateboard´s motors. Evolve describes these as:
“3000 Watt Dual Outrunner Motors”
That means the two motors can provide maximum power of 3,000 Watt. This is quite a lot and an indicator how fast you board will go. Unfortunately, at this maximum output, your battery would be empty in 0.06 hours (360 Wh divided by 3,000 W x 2 Motors), i.e. in 3.6 minutes.
You rarely need this power.
Once your board accelerated to a reasonable cruising speed, a lot less power is necessary to keep you going. Let us say 200W on average. Under these conditions your battery will last for 360Wh / 200W = 1.8 hours, i.e. 108 minutes.
How much power your motors actually consume depends on wind, wheels, your weight, climb, ground and speed – thus is not sure. Hence, the range is not really sure and therefore difficult to compare between skateboards.
Electric skateboard manufacturers lie about range
So as you can see, it is hard to predict how far an electric skateboard will actually take you. And it even gets worse. Skateboard manufacturers have no incentive to be very honest about their skateboard ranges. Most of them will exaggerate their numbers to boost sales. Here are some examples that show you how far 100Wh can take you, kind of funny actually:
- Walnut: 14.0 miles (per 100 Wh)
- Maxfind 12.7 miles
- Genesis 12.6 miles
- Lou 12.2 miles
- Stary 11.0 miles
And here is the bottom end, likely the more humble (realistic) brands:
- Epic 4.7 miles
- Long Haired Boy 5.7 miles
- DIYElectric 6.2 miles
- Ollin 6.2 miles
- Marbel 6.7 miles
I posted this at Reddit and some user came up with a good rule of thumb which 5 miles per 100Wh. As per my dataset across all companies I get to 8.7 miles, but again this is biased since this is coming from skateboard companies.
So finally, I hope I made this clear: Do not only pay attention to the range of an electric skateboard but also the battery´s capacity measured in Wh, being the power your electric skateboard has actually available.