Things like electric skateboards and folding electric scooters may be good forms of last-mile transit, but they can be a bit of a hassle to carry while on buses or trains. That's why a group of San Francisco and China-based entrepreneurs created Blizwheel ESkates. They work somewhat like the existing electric Rocketskates, although they fold flat and can be carried in a laptop-sized bag when not in use.
Each ESkate consists of a motorized wheel with a solid rubber tread, which a foot platform folds down from the inside of – that platform has three smaller unpowered stability wheels of its own. Users strap their feet in, wearing pretty much any type of shoe, then go.
There are actually three models to choose from, which have different battery capacities and motor sizes. The top-of-the-line Blizwheel Pro can go up to 15 mph (24 km/h) and has a maximum range of 15 miles per charge. It weighs 13 lb (6 kg) a pair.
Depending on the model, speed is wirelessly controlled via either a Bluetooth handheld remote, or a finger control in which bending the finger causes the rider to accelerate, and straightening it causes them to slow down. There's also a bracelet-style "dashboard" device that displays data such as current speed, mileage and remaining battery life.
Blizwheel ESkates are currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$569 is required for a set of the Pros. The planned retail price is $999, assuming they reach production. At the other end of the scale, the bottom-of-the-line Blizwheel Lite can be had for a pledge of $299, although they only have a top speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) and a range of five miles.
You can see the ESkates in use, in the video below.
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