When it comes to electric skateboards, by far one of the most important questions is range. Virtually every board on the market will have a rough estimate as to how far you can get on a single charge. But it’s important to note that these are educated guesses, and in reality there’s a lot more to consider. In this blog post, we want to take a look at some of the variables that affect range and battery life while out skating – helping dot Board riders get the best out of their setups.
Wheels and road resistance
Speed, performance and range all come down to how you get power down to the road – so one of the first variables to look at there is your choice of wheel. Soft wheels, large wheels, or pneumatic (air filled) wheels can all have a huge effect on range, as they each have a knack for generating resistance with the road. Think about riding a bike with soft or flat tires – it takes way more energy to get the bike rolling when the tires give way. That loss of energy is something you make up for with either a dip in performance, or greater output in energy.
Larger diameter wheels like the 120mm wheels compatible with dot Transporters offer a smoother ride and will roll over the top of all sorts of debris you’ll find there out skating. But their longer diameter also adds a longer lever for the dot Hub motor to work against. To retain power and range, we’ve opted for a hard polyurethane material and a narrow wheel profile. This keeps the contact patch slim and firm – cutting any slack while still offering a smooth ride. Tighter diameter wheels like the 83mm rear wheel sleeve offer a direct to road performance that is hard to argue with – but won’t cruise over debris and cracks the way the 120mm will. It all just comes down to the ride you want. Believe us when we say that our dot Hub motors produce enough torque to make it heaps of fun either way.
Speed and wind resistance
Speaking of fun – speed is a big detail as well. And unfortunately, pinning it at top speed on your electric skateboard for extended periods is a real battery killer – as it simply takes a lot more energy to get moving fast and stay there. But even when we are trying to play it smart with a run down battery the temptation is always there – so it’s useful to know more about why higher speeds chew up battery life.
Road resistance is one aspect, but you’ve also got to think about wind resistance. For those of you who couldn’t fight the urge to stick your head out the car window as a kid, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Moving fast means moving through plenty of wind, and the faster you get under drive, the more wind you run into, the harder the motors have to work to combat that wind resistance.
Conversely, a strong tail wind can improve range significantly. Talk to a cyclist about it, and you’ll get a pretty good idea for how important head-winds and tail-winds are for top-end performance. Just don’t go taking any cues from those guys on wearing lycra – we’re still riding skateboards here. As long as you’re conscious of where you’re using power to combat wind you’ll be making smart choices with your batteries.
Hills and weight
dot Boards are rated for riders up to 120kg or 260lbs – but any weight on the board is something that is going to affect range. We say that because riding uphill means working against gravity, and lifting that weight as opposed to pushing it can eat away at your batteries quickly. Pretty important to remember though – riding a skateboard uphill was pretty much sci-fi until electric skateboards came along. Unless you need every last bit of the power you’ve got left, don’t let range get in the way of this unique experience.
Our patent pending dot Hub motors produce enough torque to carry riders up 30% inclines with a two motor setup – and dot Hub motors can actually generate power under braking, pushing electricity back into your batteries. For rides on hilly terrain that see you alternating between climbs and descents, you’d be blown away at the difference this feature makes. Of course, you can’t get more than what you’re putting into the brakes, and you’d still be going further when skating just on the flat – but the regenerative power of our dot Hub motors can really extend the range of your dot.
Our BM100 battery packs house lithium ion technology – and this way of storing and dispensing power tends to work best at particular temperatures. 15℃ or 60℉ is the bottom end of the optimal window, and temperatures below that will gradually cut range from your batteries. As temperatures approach freezing, the impact will be more and more noticeable.
35℃ or 95℉ is the top end of the optimal window, and lithium ion technology tends to perform better at the higher end of that – but you can start running into issues once the batteries reach 40℃/105℉ or so. The board will still operate outside that range, the performance of your batteries just takes a hit. Riding in extreme temperatures isn’t for the faint hearted though, so it might not be the batteries you’re thinking about!
Getting the most out of a single charge
dot Boards are designed to ride like a traditional board with power – a big part of that is the push-to-start. This feature eliminates the need to power the board on, and even keeps riders from accidentally gassing it when at a standstill. But another key aspect of push-to-start (and kick pushing in general) is what it can do to save battery life. Two or three big kick pushes to start can help save a substantial amount of battery, especially when stopping and starting a lot during a city ride.
Some other tips for getting the most out of the range of your dot Board include:
- Let the accelerator off at regular intervals, coasting wherever you can. dot Boards freewheel better than any other powered board out there – so you can really extend the range of your dot with some good old fashioned freewheel skating on flat and downhill sections.
- Travel light. Avoid carrying anything you don’t have to and avoid wearing anything that is going to catch wind resistance.
- If your route allows it – try to avoid extended hill climbs.
- Pick your day – heavy wind and extreme temperatures can be a hassle anyway!
With these tips in mind, and some reading up on what the modular design of dot Boards makes possible in terms of balancing range and performance – you’ll have everything you need to cover some serious ground.
Check out a dot Board for yourself
The dot Boards Team