Urban Transport

Video review: Evolve 2 in 1 Carbon Series electric skateboard

Video review: Evolve 2 in 1 Ca...
Gizmag's Nick Lavars takes the Carbon Series 2 in 1 for a spin (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Gizmag's Nick Lavars takes the Carbon Series 2 in 1 for a spin (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
View 29 Images
The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The battery is recharged via a regular wall outlet and takes around two hours. From here, you should be free to ride for 30 km (18 mi) until you need to plug in again (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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The battery is recharged via a regular wall outlet and takes around two hours. From here, you should be free to ride for 30 km (18 mi) until you need to plug in again (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
The 2 in 1 Carbon Series is named so for an extra set of trucks and wheels designed for the street (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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The 2 in 1 Carbon Series is named so for an extra set of trucks and wheels designed for the street (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
We have spent the last few weeks cruising the streets with this zippy little number, and apart from having a hell of a time, found it to be a more than practical way of getting around (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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We have spent the last few weeks cruising the streets with this zippy little number, and apart from having a hell of a time, found it to be a more than practical way of getting around (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
The battery is recharged via a regular wall outlet and takes around two hours (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
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The battery is recharged via a regular wall outlet and takes around two hours (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series is a polished product right from the chrome trucks and sleek, lightweight deck to the minimal finger controller that fits snugly in-hand (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series is a polished product right from the chrome trucks and sleek, lightweight deck to the minimal finger controller that fits snugly in-hand (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
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Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Throughout our testing, riding 5 km (3.1 mi) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph)(Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series is perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph)(Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Gizmag's Nick Lavars takes the Carbon Series 2 in 1 for a spin (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Gizmag's Nick Lavars takes the Carbon Series 2 in 1 for a spin (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
It might be hard to justify the cost if you're looking at the board purely for enjoyment, but the 2 in 1 Carbon Series is a perfectly capable commuter in its own right (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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It might be hard to justify the cost if you're looking at the board purely for enjoyment, but the 2 in 1 Carbon Series is a perfectly capable commuter in its own right (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
As an urban transport option, the 2 in 1 Carbon Series strikes off quite a few of the important criteria (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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As an urban transport option, the 2 in 1 Carbon Series strikes off quite a few of the important criteria (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
As an urban transport option, the 2 in 1 Carbon Series strikes off quite a few of the important criteria (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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As an urban transport option, the 2 in 1 Carbon Series strikes off quite a few of the important criteria (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The street wheels will make for a smoother ride depending on the surface, while bumping the top speed up to around 23 mph (38 km/h) (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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The street wheels will make for a smoother ride depending on the surface, while bumping the top speed up to around 23 mph (38 km/h) (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Gizmag's Noel McKeegan becoming acquainted with the Carbon Series 2 in 1 (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Gizmag's Noel McKeegan becoming acquainted with the Carbon Series 2 in 1 (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
Gizmag's Noel McKeegan becoming acquainted with the Carbon Series 2 in 1 (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
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Gizmag's Noel McKeegan becoming acquainted with the Carbon Series 2 in 1 (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
View gallery - 29 images

Jeff Anning was scoping out waves at his local surf spot back in 2008 when somebody buzzed past him on a motorized long board. In that moment the seed for what was to become Evolve Skateboards was planted. Since the launch of its own first generation Electric Pintail in 2012, Evolve has continued to refine its idea of what electric skateboards should be. This most recently culminated in the 2 in 1 Carbon Series, which has gone on to become the company's biggest seller by some margin. We have spent the last few weeks cruising the streets with this zippy little number, and apart from having a hell of a time, we found it to be a more than practical way of getting around.

Evolve Electric Skateboard

"The inspiration was wanting an electric skateboard that doesn't look like an electric skateboard," explains Anning, a structural landscaper by trade. "We wanted something that was more stealthy than a typical electric skateboard, so you can ride it around and not be hassled on the street."

This design philosophy is most evident in the way the 36 V, 10 Ah lithium polymer battery is built into the carbon/kevlar composite deck. Measuring 43 inches (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 0.2 inch (5 mm) overhang when you peer underneath. And when it comes to picking up all 10.5 kg (23 lb) of the skateboard, this slimline design certainly does make it easier to wrap your arm around.

Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)

Batteries for days

The battery is recharged via a regular wall outlet and takes around two hours. From here, you should be free to ride for 18 miles (30 km) until you need to plug in again. This mammoth range puts the Carbon Series well ahead of some competitors. The Marbel Board, for example, will travel 10 miles (16 km) on a single charge, while the latest models from Boosted Boards will travel 7 or 8 miles (11.2 or 12.9 km).

If you are using the board for commuting to work, or just taking it for a lengthy spin each day, this will probably be far more charge than you'll really need. But such a range does remove any anxiety about running out of puff when you're far from home. Throughout our testing, riding approximately 3 mile (5 km) round trips to the office and even longer journeys across town we were never once caught out with a flat battery, and we weren't exactly being conservative with the throttle either.

When less equals more

The Carbon Series runs on a single brushless 350 W motor. This is attached to one of the rear wheels. This means the board has less output than that afforded by some models available today, but Anning makes a solid case for how less can sometimes mean more.

"We went with a single wheel drive because it means better battery range, less noise and less moving parts," he says. "We don't feel the need for a two-wheel drive setup here."

At the other end of the spectrum, the Epic Skateboard Dominator Pro that we reviewed last month has a total power output of 3,200 W, while Boosted Boards' latest creations churn out between 1,000 and 2,000 W and the weight sensing skateboard from ZBoard is powered by a 500 W motor.

Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)
Measuring 43 in (111 cm) long, the board houses the electrics inside, with an approximately 5 mm (0.2 in) overhang when you peer underneath (Photo Nick Lavars/Gizmag.com)

This minimal power output combined with the single wheel drive means that it will take a little while to get going. Again, to compare it to the all-wheel drive Dominator Pro where you so much as think about touching the throttle and you're already hurtling down the street, acceleration is not a strong point. But the Carbon Series is still perfectly capable of going fast, with a top speed of around 21.7 mph (35 km/h) and though it does take a little longer to reach these speeds, it certainly is no slouch.

What's it like to ride?

Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we spoke with him for this story, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard. Its approach to replicating that carving sensation on concrete places emphasis on making a vehicle that looks and feels like a regular skateboard, rather than having the build dictated by the electrics.

The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)
The Carbon Series runs on a brushless 350 W motor (Photo Loz Blain/Gizmag.com)

The result is an electric skateboard that really is a joy to ride. It's a polished product right from the chrome trucks and sleek, lightweight deck to the minimal finger controller that fits snugly in-hand. Once you've built up some momentum, veering around corners and shifting your weight from left to right to make turns feels eerily similar to burning your way down long mountain slopes. While you won't be able to spray powder all over your friends, we reckon its about as close as you'll get on the city streets.

The 2 in 1 Carbon Series is named so for an extra set of trucks and wheels that come designed for the street. Out of the box it comes equipped with larger all-terrain tires. The tread on these isn't overly thick, but the size of the wheels means you'll have no trouble riding over rougher sections of pavement, or even dirt and rough grass.

The street setup can be swapped over in around 10 minutes. This process is a little more involved than we had anticipated, but Evolve has video tutorials on its site to guide you through (just be prepared to get your hands dirty). The street wheels will make for a smoother ride depending on the surface, while bumping the top speed up to around 23 mph (38 km/h). They will also tighten the turning circle and allow for sharper carving, but we mostly preferred the all-terrain variety for the assurance offered by the beefier wheels.

Is it worth it?

The 2 in 1 Carbon Series is priced at AU$1,949 (around US$1,500), so you probably wouldn't describe it as cheap. But for your outlay you'd be getting beautifully designed vehicle with consideration given to every nut, bolt and bearing. This attention to detail sees Evolve now up for a 2015 Good Design Award, which comes as no surprise to us after having spent a few weeks riding it around.

Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)
Evolve's overarching design principle, from when Anning first spotted that electric skateboard at the beach right up until when we recently spoke with him, is creating a riding experience similar to what you'll get on a surfboard or snowboard (Photo Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)

It might be hard to justify the cost if you're looking at the board purely for enjoyment, but the 2 in 1 Carbon Series is a perfectly capable commuter in its own right. It should be noted that this is still a relatively big, awkward skateboard, and isn't all that comfortable to carry. Short walks from the elevator to your desk will be fine, but if, like us, you become so attached to the board that you ride it to the supermarket to do some shopping or take it to the cinema, you might need to ask staff to keep an eye on it as you go about your business.

Still, as an urban transport option the 2 in 1 Carbon Series ticks off quite a few of the important criteria. It shaved several minutes off my 3 miles (5 km) commute to work, for which I usually rely on my trusty pushbike. This trip includes more than one pretty steep hill, and while we wouldn't say the board powered up them, it did get me to the top ahead of some out-of-breath cyclists. So for my set of circumstances, living a short distance from work with paved roads in between, it proved a very efficient way to get from point A to point B. And it just happens to be a whole lot more fun as well.

Anning tells us that he has another electric four-wheeler in the works, though he is tight-lipped on the details for now. But after getting to know the Carbon Series 2 in 1, we can say with some confidence that whatever direction electric vehicle technology does take in the future, Evolve Skateboards will be right there slashing at its edge.

Product Page: Evolve Skateboards

View gallery - 29 images
9 comments
Gadgeteer
Sorry, but this is in no way a "perfectly capable commuter." Maybe if your commute is on paths free of cars, pedestrians, bikes or any other kind of traffic. But throw any another vehicle into the mix and the lack of any emergency braking capability makes it a suicide machine, especially at the 23mph top speed. Good luck stepping off at that speed if an obstacle suddenly appears in your way.
Daishi
@Gadgeteer I think some common sense is probably required. Just because the top speed is 23 MPH (21 with other wheels) it doesn't mean you are required to ride that fast it at all times.
That would be as silly as me saying "I love my car but sometimes it's really hard to get my kid dropped off at school safely with the 120 MPH (193 km/h) top speed" and part of the reason it makes enough power to hit those speeds is for acceleration and hill climbs.
I like the bigger wheels on this. Normal skateboard wheels aren't so forgiving of rocks.
mhpr262
Glad to see those things are taking off. Maybe one car less on the road for every board sold, at least some of the time. The small wheels and no brake make them not so well suited for everyone though. I'd appreciate more articles on electric scooters, and maybe the new electric self-balancing unicycles that are currently gaining popularity in China.
Kevin Ritchey
Why not make the entire undersurface lithium plate batt while composing the surface with photocells to recharge via exposed areas while in use?
Gadgeteer
Daishi, this thing has no real braking at any speed, never mind top speed. Do you really think you'd be able to stay on the board during hard braking with no handlebars or any other control point other than the soles of your feet? Google longboarding accident rates and you'll see it's not a safe sport to begin with, even before electrification.
Daishi
@Gadgeteer It doesn't have a friction brake but it does have regenerative braking like most other electrics. It will begin slowing you as soon as you let off the power/throttle.
That puts the stopping capability ahead of other unpowered skateboards. A lot of the longboarding crashes on youtube are people going over 30 or 40 MPH. Some longboarders hit speeds of 60 or 70 MPH which on a skateboard is nuts.
A 21 MPH top speed means you probably won't be going much more than about 15 MPH most the time. At that speed if the regen braking isn't slowing it quick enough you could jump off and pick it up. A helmet is never a bad idea but this really doesn't seem that dangerous.
Fleur Anning
Hi @gadgeteer, it has ABS brakes via the remote and emergency braking if you jump off and the board goes out of range - adjusting your weight to the back foot helps to stop you from getting thrown off. There are already tens of thousands of people using them to commute in urban areas around the world and the industry is growing at a rapid rate but just like any any form of transport there are always risks so safety gear is a must. It might not be for everyone but it's a super fun carving tool and an alternative to many other forms of transport out there! :)
Gadgeteer
Almost on cue, Slate just published an article by Seth Stevenson testing various last mile vehicles, including an electric skateboard. His conclusions after testing it exactly match my suspicions.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2015/04/electric_scooter_reviews_testing_the_ecoreco_myway_boosted_dual_and_solowheel.html
SebastianPowsey
@gadgeteer google the rate of car accidents and you'll realize its not safe transportation to begin with....