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
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).
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 actually 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.
That is why you should 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.
Electric skateboard ranges lead nowhere
Take e.g. EPIC´s “Racer 3200 Pro” which shall get you 6 miles with 97 Wh while Walnut´s “SPECTRA Pro” claims to for 12 miles even though they use a battery with less capacity (89 Wh). A post comparing the range vs. battery problem can be found at Reddit
(BMS means “battery management system” and custom BMS means that Evolve is not just buying the battery in China like most of the others do (correct me if I am wrong), they are customizing it for their boards for optimal use.)