Motorized methods of transportation have become extremely popular to add some extra zip in your step. Electrical assistance has been added to traditionally human-powered transportation to give it even more zip and make it easier to use. This is most notable in electric bikes and electric skateboards. One thing people are curious about is how much electric skateboards cost.
Believe it or not, you can easily find affordable electric skateboards these days. If you’re interested in picking one up, the prices vary greatly. You can find some for less than $300 and $500, or you can splurge and get some really nice ones for over $2000, depending upon your budget and needs.
If you’re curious enough to be asking how much money are electric skateboards, then this article has everything you may need to know. Before we get into the base pricing, we will go over a variety of different features. These features all work together to determine the price of your electric skateboard. Once you determine which features you need and which ones you’re willing to sacrifice, you’ll have a better picture of the amount of money you’ll need to spend for yours.
Why so damn expensive? There’s a reason…
A lot of beginners expect to spend only a little bit more on electric skateboards than they spend on regular skateboards. They get a major sticker shock when they look into the prices because even the cheaper electric skateboards cost quite a bit more money than even the expensive regular boards. This is only to be expected, though, because the most expensive part of the product is the electronics. Regular skateboards are basically wood and wheels, both of which are very cheap materials to source and mass produce. Electrical skateboards require expensive batteries and motors to operate, while still requiring the board and wheels of the original models.
Speaking of electronics, there are more of those parts than many people realize. Not only do motors and batteries run quite a bit of money depending on the amount of power you want for your board, but there are also other parts involved. These electronic skateboards also require remote controls to operate, ESC (a computer unit that does the receiving and computing from the remote), and special wiring to make sure it all fits together in a way that remains safe against bumps and impacts and safeguarded against the elements like rain and mud.
To achieve this, there are additional labor costs, too. Construction of regular skateboards is not too difficult to figure out, even for DIY people creating boards at home. Putting together all of the electric parts in a way that guards against corrosion and remains safe requires specialized tools and labor that doesn’t come cheap. Because of this, electric skateboards can’t be mass-produced as easily as regular skateboards, which increases their value thanks to scarcity. (A) Because these are still a bit of a niche market, manufacturing hasn’t been devoted to making high quantities at a time.
Finally, only a few businesses are manufacturing various electric skateboard models. Without the competition of a ton of businesses, an oligopoly (B) forms that allows for higher prices to be set rather than competition driving prices down. The decreased competition also means that businesses need an edge that keeps their customers loyal, which results in high costs of customer service to differentiate them from competitors.
Skateboard parts that determine pricing
The answer to, “how much are electric skateboards?” can be found by understanding their features and how they work. Let’s take a look at some of the things you will need to consider when purchasing your own electric skateboard.
The deck seems like the most basic part of the board, and a lot of people are confused about how the deck affects the cost of the electric skateboard. After all, they’re all pretty much the same, right?
Wrong! How much are big electric skateboards? Believe it or not, more expensive than smaller ones. (1) That’s because the deck sizing and material factors into the cost. Most electric skateboard decks are made out of wood, but not all of them are created equally. Plywood is thin layers that are pressed together to make the deck. Instead of using a single, solid piece of wood, many decks are made by layering the woods in a cross-grain pattern. This creates a much stronger board. These decks can be anywhere from 7 to 9 layers thick.
Decks can also be made from composites. A lot of manufacturers have been using fewer wooden inner layers and more outer layers of different materials. Sometimes, decks are made entirely from Kevlar, carbon fiber, and fiberglass! These composites usually involve a flexible cloth material and some epoxy to create the right stiffness in the dried material. Composites are much lighter and more durable, less likely to corrode and allow for more different shapes and lengths. The disadvantage is that wood decks are still the most absorbent when it comes to shock impact. Wood is the best dampener available.
Usually, wooden decks cost somewhere between $30 to $200 and carbon decks cost $200 to $500. (2) These prices still vary, ad other factors go into the deck. For example, some people choose to have custom art added to their decks. These graphic designs allow them to express themselves and make their skateboards unique, but they come at an additional cost.
When it comes to deciding the price of electric skateboards, the feature that is weighted the heaviest is the battery. These are the heaviest part of a skateboard, and they are also the most valuable part in terms of cost of replacement. The battery has several smaller battery cells, making them very expensive.
The battery packs on electric skateboards usually hold between 10 to 30 of these individual battery cells, which makes them cost anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on the range and usage you want from them. Fortunately, the average life of an electric skateboard battery lasts from 1 to 3 years with proper upkeep.
Stronger batteries will have a much longer lifespan, so they may be worth the extra initial investment in terms of overall value and cost. Electric skateboard batteries also cost a bit more because manufacturers have added some safety features to prevent overheating and fires. (3)
Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of battery used to power electric skateboards. These are the same batteries found in laptops and smartphones. They are incredibly safe, compact and cylindrical, and have a much longer life cycle than other battery types. They include special microchips that make them safe and discharge. Unfortunately, they have still not discovered a way to avoid voltage sag. Lithium-ion batteries tend to lose capacity after a certain number of cycles, and over time they end up with 80% capacity on a full charge, then 60%, and so forth until the battery’s life is entirely over. (4)
Lithium polymer batteries are the other type of battery commonly found in electric skateboards. These are far more powerful, but they’re also a bit more dangerous. They’re cheaper, with less voltage sag, which is nice, but they also require more maintenance.
These batteries aren’t made of individual cells. Instead, this is a type of fluid battery. This allows them to be built into a variety of different shapes and makes them much cheaper. Unfortunately, in order to store these safely, you need to drain your battery to a certain percentage. They’re also more sensitive to temperature damage and physical damage on impact. They could easily start fires, and their life cycle is also much shorter. (5)
If you’re willing to splurge on a newer, but more expensive option, you can also get a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. The industry has just recently begun using these, so very few electric skateboards will use them. These are pretty awesome if you can find them, though, because they are a great, safe option that has a super long life cycle and no voltage sag! (6)
The thing to look for when it comes to this feature is charge time. Some of the nicer models will have a quick charging option for rapid recharges, so you don’t get stuck waiting for hours for a battery to charge. Some of these batteries charge within an hour and some can take 5 hours or more. Removable batteries will cost even more money, but they’re a great feature to have because you can carry spare batteries and swap them out to get more travel range and ride time.
These batteries are measured in Watts. The more watts you have, the more powerful your skateboard will be. This determines your speed. Essentially, batteries with more watts will cost more money because they will be able to travel faster and make it much farther distances on a single charge. Cheaper, starting boards use around 350 watts and some of the high-end boards have anywhere from 800 to 2000 watts. (7)
Considering the drive is also important. Single drive batteries will power a single wheel, while dual powers can handle 2 wheels. The dual drive boards will be better at handling inclines and will offer faster acceleration because of the extra power boost.
The motor is also incredibly important when it comes to electric skateboards. This is what will power your board. The motor gets power from the battery and turns it into speed and range. Electric skateboard motors work through electromagnets. These motors usually use copper coils, and most electric skateboards come with dual motors. These will cost a few hundred dollars. Single motors start at around $50 and more expensive motors will run up to $300 or so.
Motors usually receive a KV rating. This is basically rotations per minute (RPM) per volt. For electric skateboards, finding a motor around 200 KV will work. The price of your board will go up or down based on motor power, too. The lower the KV rating, the better the torque will be. The higher the KV rating, the faster your top speed will be. The average range is 170 to 270 KV. (8)
These aren’t the only parts involved in electric skateboards, either. They are just the main determinants of pricing variations. If you want to know how much does an electric skateboard cost overall, you also need to look at the small parts that can add up in significant ways when combined together.
For example, the trucks for your electric skateboard (which allow the wheels to move thanks to their drivetrains) can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 each. Good wheels cost $30 to $250 depending on the size, durability, and other factors involved. You also need an ESC (electric speed controller) (9) to act as the brains of your skateboard. These run anywhere from $30 to $280 as well. The remote controls that communicate with your ESC and motor can cost $20 to $200, and all skateboards need great bearings, which can run from $30 to $180.
As you can see, there is a massive amount of money sitting in these different parts. Determining which features and parts are the most important can help you figure out how to find an electric skateboard in your budget range that balances out the features you can’t sacrifice with some you can afford to go cheap on or do without.
Features add to cost – How much do electric skateboards cost?
While parts certainly determine the majority of the cost when it comes to electric skateboards, there are other features that also contribute to the price range. Some of the features will dictate the minimum amount of power you need for specific parts and others are intangible features like customer service. Here are some additional things that may affect the price of your electric skateboard.
As I briefly touched on above, a lot of companies differentiate themselves from the competition by excelling at customer service. These days, customers expect excellent service, especially on more expensive technical products. It is expected that the company will be available with an expert to help solve any issues that may arise. These people cost money, and the training required to make sure they’re experts when it comes to your specific product also costs money. For companies that make it a point to offer 24/7 customer service via phone and live chat, this can get very expensive.
They cover these costs by charging more for each board they sell. If you don’t expect to need 24/7 customer service, you may be able to afford extra features at a lower cost. If, on the other hand, you want someone who can offer instructions if you don’t understand the manual, or tech support if something fails, you may need to spend a little extra or sacrifice some other features. (10)
These days, warranties are also expected when it comes to expensive products. Although defects in parts and workmanship are far less likely on products like electric skateboards, which are usually assembled by hand and not an automated process, customers still expect some reassurance. Providing a warranty offers customers some peace of mind and encourages them to buy your product. It sends a message that you believe in the quality of your parts.
Unfortunately, it also presents a financial risk for the company. If something slips by their quality assurance, someone had a bad day and forgot to properly assemble a part, or even if one of their parts suppliers did manufacture a faulty product, they are responsible for covering the costs of repair or replacement. For this reason, products that have warranties often cost more than those that don’t.
One of the things companies are doing to mitigate this cost is by offering optional warranties. Their products will either come without a warranty or offer a very limited basic warranty. Any buyer who wants the reassurance of a comprehensive extended warranty can purchase extended warranty policies. This allows companies to charge less for the cost of goods and instead, customers who want the extra protection are the only ones who end up paying more for that reassurance. (11)
Another factor in the price of goods is where the company is located. In America, Australia, and Europe, companies have a lot more taxes, fees, and salary requirements for their employees’ pay and benefits. That will drive the cost of their products up compared to companies in places like China, where there are fewer tariffs, taxes, business fees, and labor costs. On top of that, companies located in places where most of the production happens will face lower fees when it comes to shipping their products. (12)
More and more consumers are placing focus on supporting local businesses. A massive change has occurred that encourages ethical business practices when it comes to employee wages and eliminating slave and unfair labor pricing in supply chains. These are amazing strides, and it’s great that people are willing to pay a little more for ethically produced goods. Unfortunately, a lot of people are unaware of the problems and ethical issues that occur along specific chains.
Moreover, many are willing to purchase goods from foreign lines of production if it means lower taxes because the businesses do pay competitive wages for that area of the world. This makes it a matter of personal choice as to where you source your electric skateboard.
Economy of scale
As also mentioned above, electric skateboards are considered a niche market. (13) This means that electric skateboard companies aren’t producing their products in high volumes on assembly lines because they don’t feel the investment would be worth the return. Scaling up to larger operations would lower the cost of production per unit, and thus unit pricing, but it is a large monetary investment that typically doesn’t see enough return in gained income to be worth the investment. (14)
Consequently, given that electric skateboards are such a new market, the demand is lower and the companies are satisfied charging a little more and producing fewer products at a time. This means that, if the market share grows, they may be cheaper in the future, but for now the prices are pretty fixed.
Generally, the lighter an electric skateboard is, the better. Most of them run from 12 to 18 pounds, and the off-roading boards will weigh significantly more. In fact, some off-roading boards can run up to 80 pounds! The main thing to consider is that when you run out of power, you are going to have to carry it with you.
You also need to consider the overall weight capacity of your electric skateboard. A lot of motors will work significantly less efficiently when they are charged with carrying heavier loads. While most electric skateboards can handle a lot of weight, you will need more power to operate the heavier you are. The average electric skateboard is designed to handle a maximum weight of 220 pounds, and running at the maximum weight will significantly diminish the run time of your motor and battery. (15)
Speed and range
For most people looking to purchase electric skateboards, the main things to consider will be the speed and range. These are the most frequently compared selling points, and this is where the most compromise is made when comparing price and budget to features and capabilities.
Some of the fastest electric skateboards on the market can attain wicked top speeds of 25 or 28 miles per hour! Off-road boards usually require tons of power, but their speed will be much slower because of how heavy the board is.
Average electric skateboards will usually come with a few different speed modes, based on whether you want to race along or conserve battery power for longer ranges. These modes can limit and control your board in much the same way a governor does for cars. The ESC that I mentioned above is in charge of this feature.
When it comes to range, there is a ton of variance. Even the high-end e-boards have ranges of only 7 to 8 miles per charge, whereas some of the more affordable ones offer a larger range. This factor has a massive variance, with some boards ranging only 4 miles and several high-end boards hitting 40 miles in range (despite not being the most expensive). Funnily enough, the priciest board in the marker only comes with a 15 mile per hour range and 25 miles per hour top speed, while one of the boards that costs less than $400 boasts the same range and speed. (1)
Electric skateboards can accelerate and brake, which is different from standard ones. The braking system on these can often come with regenerative braking. This feature will help extend the life cycle and range of your batter’s charge by recovering lost energy and converting the motion from the braking process into energy that gets put back into the battery. Not all boards come with this feature, and it is a factor that increases the cost of a board.
As you can see, there are a variety of different factors that work together to determine how much an electric skateboard costs. You will need to determine how you intend to use your skateboard. First, decide on your budget. Costs range from $30 to $3000 for electric skateboards, and you can find some great ones in every range of the category.
Because of this, knowing how far you need to go per trip and how fast you want to go can help narrow down your options. As mentioned above, there are boards in every budget range that offer similar ranges and top speeds. Knowing how much you want to spend on the board will simply allow you to look into the additional features that come with higher-end boards as opposed to the no-frills budget boards.
Here’s a link to a great comparison chart of all the different boards available on the market. You can use this to compare boards across a wide variety of features, including price, manufacturing date, company, range, top speed, weight, whether or not it’s rated for water, battery power, warranty, and more. We know you’ll find a great board at whatever budget you can afford!
Resources and Further Reading
- Scarcity Principle of Economics
- Electric Skateboard Comparison Chart
- Carbon Versus Wood Electric Skateboard Decks
- Electric Skateboard Battery Fire Safety Discussion
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
- Lithium Polymer Batteries
- Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries
- How to Calculate Battery Run Time
- How to Choose a Motor
- Electric Speed Control
- 13 Ways to Calculate the True Cost of Customer Service
- Buying Warranty General Discussion – Electric Skateboard
- Why American Companies Choose China Over Everyone Else
- Niche Market
- Economies of Scale
- Power to Weight Ratio