Much as I like the look of the various direct-drives and gear-drives coming to market, the real e-skate game changer for me the new open-source electronic speed-controller (ESCs) that are born from the VESC Project.
If you are not aware of the VESC open-source project, let me explain: the VESC project is an open-source project for programmable motor controllers, for anything that uses electric motors: e-skate, e-scooter, drone, robot lawn-mowers, anything. Off the back of the great work the project has done, companies like the innovative Australian company Enertion with their FOCBOX, are now using the specification and starting to sell component ESCs for self-building electric skateboards.
This is a massive game changer, as until now there has only really been proprietary controllers available, which made self-builds difficult if not using a complete kit, with a matched proprietary controller, or someone’s complete blueprint. E-skates are relatively simple things when you break them down, there is a deck, a battery, wheels, trucks, drive-unit or hub-motors, remote and the ESC. Assembling them should be like building lego, but until now it has been difficult, even hit or miss, matching the ESC to the motors, battery and the remote-control.
Now, with VESC based ESCs, you can tune/program your controller to match your battery and motors. Upgrading your battery or motors is just a re-program; swapping from hub-motors to belt-drive, just a re-program. Plus I expect to see lots of people publishing their custom profiles, making it even easier. The outcome of this may not be more self-build parts, that will still come down to demand as this will still be a niche pastime, but I would expect to see more people self-building (including me) their future rides, plus start-ups and small e-skate companies selling better products. The outcome will be that we all benefit, those who want to self-build and those that just want to buy a complete e-skate.
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