Eon drive adds a motorized wheel (or two) to skateboards
Over the years, we've seen numerous aftermarket electric skateboard drives, including the LaGrange L1, the Mellow and the Sk8-Booster. Generally speaking, the hardware and implementation have grown cleaner over time, and the new Eon from Unlimited might just be the most seamless yet. It not only electrifies various shapes and sizes of board, it lets you choose between one or two battery packs and motors to get the perfect blend of range, power and capability. Stop skating and start motoring.
Electric skateboards have all kinds of fun and short-distance transportation potential, but they tend to be quite expensive, often running into four figures. Add-on electric drives make things a little cheaper (though not as much as many would like) by pulling the board out of the sale and letting you electrify your own board, maybe an old skateboard that's just sitting in the garage collecting dust.
If its Kickstarter campaign and development plans work out, Spain's Unlimited Engineering will offer an e-drive that's more flexible than the competition and also more affordable than some of the others out there. Instead of developing a single e-drive, Unlimited has used its 1,000-watt, wheel-integrated motors and 99 Wh lithium-ion battery packs as building blocks for three different packages.
The basic Solo kit gives you a single wheel motor and battery pack for up to 7.5 miles (12 km) of range and a top speed of 22 mph (35 km/h). That kit slides in at Kickstarter levels as low as €369 (approx. US$405), making it a fairly affordable option as far as electric skateboard hardware goes. It weighs 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).
Those looking for more range can step up to the Cruiser, the mid-level drive that Ultimate seems to think will be the best solution for most of its customers. This drive includes the same 1,000-watt single-wheel motor but has two battery packs for twice the range. It weighs in at 4.6 lb (2.1 kg).
The high-performance flagship in the Eon range is the R kit, which has two wheel motors and two battery packs. If you're hoping for double the top speed, too, you'll be sorely disappointed, that spec doesn't move a single mph. Instead, the extra motor power goes toward improving acceleration and hill-climbing capabilities, according to Unlimited. The company doesn't list any specific acceleration numbers, but it does say that the Eon R will climb grades up to 20 percent while the Cruiser and Solo will get bogged down over 9 percent. The R's range is listed at the same 15 miles (24 km) as the Cruiser and weight is 6.4 lb (2.9 kg).
The one- or two-battery carbon mounting plate slides below the rear truck, allowing the battery packs to easily attach and detach, which also allows for quick swapping if you have extra packs on hand. Charging time is estimated at 75 minutes with the included 2 A charger. Each kit contains the motorized wheel(s) and the other two or three to give you four matching 81-mm 71a wheels. The wheels are designed to work with a wide variety of standard trucks. Unlimited says total mounting time for an Eon kit is around 15 minutes.
All kits include a pocket-sized handheld remote control with slim OLED screen. When not in use, the remote secures to the battery pack to help prevent loss. A regenerative braking feature provides progressive braking and helps extend the battery life.
The accompanying smartphone app lets you switch between three standard modes – slow, easy-going "beginner," range-optimizing "eco," and all-out performance-focused "pro." You also get a custom mode, through which you can fine-tune the ride to your preferences, and a "nitro" boost feature in each mode that gives you short bursts of added acceleration.
It's not there yet, but Unlimited imagines using the modular Eon design in a greater urban transport ecosystem that includes multiple vehicle types. It mentions working on a system for swapping battery packs between electric skateboards and electric bicycles with Eon motors.
Before it gets more serious about that type of multi-vehicle ecosystem, it'll need to get Eon production up and running. It hopes to raise €100,000 ($111K) on Kickstarter and is already over a third of the way there as of writing.
In addition to the €369-pledge early bird Solo kit, Kickstarters will find the Cruiser starting at the €469 ($520) pledge level and the R kit at €729 ($805). They'll also find complete Eon-powered boards. Unlimited estimates retail at €699 for the Solo kit, €799 for the Cruiser and €1,149 for the R.