Although we're now seeing a wide variety of electric skateboards, most of them utilize the same setup – a motor mounted on the underside of the deck, that drives one or two of the wheels via a belt. The designers at California-based Inboard Sports, however, are setting out to change that. Their Monolith is claimed to be the world's first skateboard to feature hub motors in the two rear wheels.
According to Inboard Sports, there are several advantages to going with direct-drive hub motors.
For one thing, there's no motor dangling precariously under the board, where it could be damaged or cause the board to get hung up on obstacles. Additionally, the two water-resistant hub motors are claimed to be lighter than a single larger conventional motor and associated hardware. Finally, because the wheels aren't attached to a belt drive, they're able to spin more freely when coasting.
Riders control the throttle using a Bluetooth handheld remote, plus they can use an accompanying app to set the acceleration and top speed to Beginner, Advanced or Eco modes. In Advanced mode, the board has a top speed of 24 mph (39 km/h).
The app can also be used to lock the wheels when the 12-lb (5.4-kg) Monolith isn't in use, and to check the charge level of the lithium iron phosphate battery pack. That pack can be accessed through a hatch in the composite-bodied deck, and swapped on the spot with a fully-charged replacement if it runs low while out and about. One 90-minute USB charge should be good for about 10 miles (16 km) of use. Regenerative braking helps it reach that range.
Inboard Sports is now raising production funds for the Monolith, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$1,099 will currently get you one, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $1,399.