An ex-BMW Electric Car Engineer, Kilian Green, and a board sports enthusiast and sports economist, Johanes Schewe have developed an electric engine and set of wheels which can be attached to the rear of skateboards and similar devices to provide motorised boarding, reaching speeds of up to 40 mph. Do you dare?
In fact, this isn’t an exclusive product for gnarly boarders but a contraption that its founders say could become a serious player in the e-mobility market. After meeting on a surf trip, the Kilian and Johanes developed a prototype engine and soon afterwards founded the company Mellow Boards GMbh, later launching a Kickstarter campaign, in June 2015, which raised over €300k.
Since then they have built a team of fellow boardsports enthusiasts and developers across Europe, released a final design and brought a technology partner on board. The engine will be shipped to its first paying customers in September 2016.
All of the company’s product is manufactured in Germany and it is both Air Travel approved and waterproof with a range of around 15kms before the battery runs out (although the engine also converts brake power into extra energy to recharge the battery).
Schewe says “In the early days, it was all about the search for the Endless Ride; Imagine catching a wave or gliding through powder in the city. We quickly realized that a high-performance system had much more potential than novelty ridables.”
“Mellow is serious fun, but not a toy. It is both durable and versatile, adapting to those stepping onto a skateboard for the first time in their lives, while giving unparalled sensations to those who never seem able to get off of one”, adds Green.
The company’s technology partner, TQ Systems, have pledged €1.5m euros to the project via a Series A funding round. Mellow Boards like to think of themselves as a credible alternative to the latest offering from Tesla, the model S, which many people see as the future of electric motoring. Both companies use the same parts supplier. Perhaps Mellow Boards will make Tesla think twice?
Marty McFly eat your heart out! Realistically that’s a tough ask , but that’s no reason to suggest that Mellow Board engines won’t sell in their thousands; and who knows – perhaps Mellow Boards can be the next GoPro, instead?
Its advantage is its lightweight size; the device weighs approximately 3 kilograms which means it doesn’t affect the skateboarder’s ride but can propel its passenger at a comfortable speed as well as a more hair raising one.
The engine comes with 4 settings; rookie, eco, pro, and endless ride and comes with a custom built, handheld device to accelerate and brake. Using pro speeds of up to 40kph can be achieved, whereas endless ride regulates the speed at which you initially push the board and keeps things ticking over at about 10kph. Especially useful for the “last mile” home after tearing it up in the park.
Unlike many rival products the Mellow Boards engine has a dual stop braking system making it a safer bet for riders as when the engine is fully charged, the brakes do not switch off as they do on similar devices. It is correspondingly a touch more expensive, retailing at €1299 euros.
The first batch of boards will be shipped in September to their no doubt excited new owners – the earliest delivery date for those signing up now is March 2017 although payment is asked for upfront, in part to demonstrate traction and demand for the product to their investors.
With a crowdfunding and a Series A, albeit a small one, behind them Mellow Boards are doing their best to propel their growth as effectively as their engine propels its passengers. The engine could also be used on water boards, snowboards and a range of other devices.
A venture backed eco-friendly German startup developing electric engine skateboards – it doesn’t get more hipster than that! The company are currently looking to work with European distributors or anybody who knows distribution channels and are happy to exchange with fans of smart cities and eco-friendly transport. If that’s the way you roll get in touch.