Electric skateboards have become increasingly popular as a mode of transportation and recreation in recent years. However, many riders wonder what happens when the battery runs out while they are out on a ride. Can an electric skateboard still be used normally without power?
This blog will explore the answer to this common question and other related topics to help you better understand how to use and maintain your electric skateboard. By following these guidelines, you can ensure optimal performance and safety for every electric skateboard ride.
Understanding Electric Skateboard Battery Life
The battery life of an electric skateboard depends on many factors, but riders can typically expect between 6-35 miles of range on a single charge. Several things influence how long a board’s battery will power it:
- Cell chemistry: Lithium-ion batteries last longer and charge faster than lead-acid or nickel-metal hydride batteries. Lithium polymer batteries offer the best performance.
- Load: Heavier riders and rougher terrain drain batteries more quickly due to increased motor demands; boards with dual motors last half as long.
- Speed: Traveling at higher speeds burns through battery power at an accelerated rate. Aggressive riding habits shorten battery life.
- Temperature: Extreme cold or heat shortens battery life by impacting chemical reactions inside the cells. Avoid leaving boards in hot cars for long periods.
To maximize an electric skateboard’s battery longevity and performance, owners should:
- Avoid fully draining the battery. Charge after each ride while at least 20-30% power remains.
- Store boards at room temperature and in a dry place when not in use for long periods.
- Use lower speed settings when possible to conserve battery life.
- Replace battery packs from reputable manufacturers when capacity noticeably degrades after a few years.
The Impact of a Dead Battery on Performance
Riding your electric skateboard with a dead or near-dead battery can impact performance, handling, and safety. Here’s how:
- Speed and power. A dying battery dramatically reduces the amount of power available to the motors, causing the board to lose speed and acceleration. You’ll struggle to get up even slight hills.
- Handling. As the battery runs low, the electric skateboard’s responsiveness suffers. The motors cannot provide full torque or regenerative braking, affecting steering control and making the board sluggish.
- Safety. With severely diminished power and maneuverability, a near-dead board becomes harder to brake and steer safely, increasing the risk of losing control or coming to a sudden stop that could throw you off.
Watch for these warning signs of a low battery:
- Slowing down noticeably faster after accelerating
- Inability to hit top speed
- Dimming of battery level indicator lights
- Significant loss of torque when hitting slopes or rough spots
When these symptoms appear, stop riding immediately and recharge your board as soon as possible. Electric skateboards are most stable and manageable when batteries are fully charged.
Alternatives When Riding With a Dead Battery
What do you do if your electric skateboard battery dies mid-ride? Fortunately, there are a few safe alternatives to get you home until you can charge up.
- Pushing: Treat your electric skateboard like a manual push carving board and simply push yourself along with your feet. Learn to turn and drag your foot to brake. Maintain low speeds and focus on balancing.
- Foot-braking: Another manual option is foot-braking, where you jam your foot against the rear or front wheel to slow down and stop. This works well for speed control on long downhill sections. Be careful not to jam your foot against a moving wheel.
- Using as a standard skateboard: If you have some basic skateboarding experience, you can ride your electric board like a regular longboard and kick-push to gain momentum. Carve and slide to control your speed. However, this may be difficult without motor assist.
- Carrying a spare battery: The most reliable backup is a secondary lithium-ion battery that you charge separately. With a charged spare, you can simply swap batteries if one goes dead during a ride. This avoids having to abruptly end your session due to lack of power.
While none of these alternatives match the ease and fun of riding on motor power, they offer options to get you home safely or at least to the nearest charging point when your electric skateboard’s battery dies unexpectedly.
Proper Maintenance for Optimal Battery Life
Proper care and maintenance are essential to maximizing the lifespan of your electric skateboard battery. Here are some tips:
- Charging: Only charge batteries between 0-100% capacity. Avoid fully draining the battery – recharge once it hits around 30%. This helps avoid over-discharging and extends battery life.
- Storage: Store boards and batteries at room temperature, between 50-80°F. Avoid hot attics or cold garages. Higher temperatures can reduce capacity over time. Fully charge batteries before long-term storage.
- Maintenance: Give batteries a refresh charge every few months, even while in storage. This helps condition the cells and keep them balanced. Check wire connections for corrosion and clear away debris.
- Monitoring: Check battery health using an app that displays voltage, current and internal resistance. High resistance indicates degraded performance. Voltage below 10.8V (for a 12V battery) also signals reduced capacity.
- Replacement: Batteries typically last 300-500 charge cycles before needing replacement.
However, capacity may decrease noticeably after just 2-3 years of regular use. Consider replacing the battery if you find:
- The significantly shorter range between charges
- Inability to hit maximum speeds
- Longer charging times
With proper care and the right strategies in place, from spare batteries to pushing techniques, riders can minimize problems when their electric skateboard’s battery runs out and maximize the longevity and performance of their board’s battery through proper charging, maintenance, and timely replacement. These steps ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
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