Guide to Choosing Electric Skateboard Motors

By Matt Powell •  Updated: 02/14/24 •  9 min read

Choosing the right motor for your electric skateboard is paramount to achieving the ideal blend of speed, power, and efficiency that matches your riding style. The world of electric skateboarding motors can seem labyrinthine, but a deeper understanding of the different types on the market — hub motors, belt-drive motors, and direct-drive motors — can illuminate the path to selecting the perfect heart for your board. Each motor type comes with its unique set of characteristics, and in this exploration, we’ll dissect these nuances to ensure your setup aligns perfectly with your skating aspirations. We will navigate the terrain of motor specifications, heed the call of compatibility requirements, and ensure that the integration of these components translates to a thrilling yet reliable skateboarding experience.

Understanding Skateboard Motor Types

Electric Skateboard Motors: Powering Your Ride

When it comes to the heart of an electric skateboard, the motor is a critical component, influencing everything from speed to torque to overall performance. There are mainly two types of motors used in electric skateboards: hub motors and belt-driven motors. Let’s dive straight into what sets them apart and their advantages.

Hub Motors: Sleek and Low-Maintenance

Belt-Driven Motors: Customizable and Powerful

Direct Drive Motors: The Middle Ground

A less common type of motor is the direct drive motor, which combines elements from both hub and belt-driven systems. They attach directly to the skateboard’s truck and turn the wheels without the need for belts, offering a balance between low maintenance and high performance.

Choosing Your Motor

In selecting the right motor for an electric skateboard, consider the terrain, your need for speed, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do. Hub motors work well for urban commuters looking for a sleek, low-maintenance ride. Belt-driven systems are better for speed and power enthusiasts who don’t mind a bit more upkeep. Direct drive motors cater to those seeking a happy medium between the two.

No matter the type, it’s important to keep in mind that your choice of motor will affect your electric skateboard’s handling, performance capabilities, and upkeep requirements. Choose wisely, and enjoy the ride.

Image description: Illustration of an electric skateboard with a motor attached to the wheel.

Evaluating Motor Performance Specifications

Understanding Motor Specifications and Electric Skateboard Performance

Delving into the details, the performance parameters of electric skateboards hinge on three critical motor specifications: power, torque, and RPMs. These are not mere numbers; they orchestrate the thrill, agility, and efficiency riders experience. Power is measured in watts (W), torque in Newton-meters (Nm), and revolutions per minute (RPM) dictates the rotational speed.

Starting with power, it’s the electric motor equivalent of cardiovascular fitness. Power defines how much work the motor can do over a given time. Higher wattage motors empower skateboards to reach higher top speeds and tackle steep inclines with greater ease. This equates to a more exhilarating and less strenuous ride, especially when confronting challenging terrains or craving speed.

Torque takes the spotlight in acceleration and hill climbing. This key element determines the immediate force exerted when the skateboard takes off or ascends a slope. Motors with substantial torque specifications offer a more responsive start and a robust uphill performance, which is indispensable for riders navigating urban landscapes riddled with ramps and inclines.

RPMs, the unsung hero among specifications, influence the maximum speed and the nature of the acceleration curve. Motors with a high RPM rating revolve faster, translating to a potentially greater top speed if the wheels and gearing are compatible. However, a high RPM could trade-off with lower torque, affecting acceleration.

These specifications are interdependent, each carving out the character of the ride. A high-powered motor with significant RPMs could reach impressive speeds, but without equivalent torque, it might falter during launches or ascents. Conversely, an emphasis on torque may endow the skateboard with snappy acceleration at the expense of ultimate velocity.

Ultimately, the confluence of power, torque, and RPMs must align with the rider’s priorities. Whether it is graceful acceleration, effortless hill climbing, or reaching breathtaking speeds, these specifications tailor performance to variety bespoke rider needs. Riders should weigh these aspects in conjunction to ensure their electric skateboard delivers both thrills and practicality.

In conclusion, when selecting an electric skateboard, diving into these motor specifications is not just for the technically inclined. They are the blueprint for the ride quality, dictating the fusion of speed, strength, and finesse. Understanding them empowers riders to make informed choices, laying the groundwork for an electrifying skating experience.

Compatibility and Installation Considerations

Selecting the Right Motor for Your Electric Skateboard: Voltage and Compatibility Essentials

Embarking on the quest for the perfect electric skateboard reveals a critical junction: matching the motor type to your personal riding ambitions and the electricity that drives them. The voltage of your motor isn’t a decision to make lightly – it orchestrates the board’s overall performance and efficiency. Here, delve into the voltage considerations and compatibility factors pivotal in choosing a motor that’s tailored for both your board and your thirst for the ride.

Voltage: The Electrical Pulse of Your Ride

Envision the voltage as the heartbeat of your electric skateboard. Put simply, it’s the potential energy that awaits to surge through the motor, propelling you forward. Motors and batteries must harmonize like an orchestra; a mismatch in voltage can lead to an underwhelming performance or, worse, damage your equipment. Typically, skateboard motors operate within the 24V to 48V range. Align the voltage of your motor with your battery’s output to ensure a seamless flow of energy and avoid the pitfalls of electrical incompatibility.

Battery and Motor Symbiosis

The duo defines your ride — a battery pushing out more volts than your motor can handle overheats the system, while an underpowered battery leads to a sluggish journey, devoid of the rush you seek. Choose a motor with a maximum voltage rating that either matches or exceeds the battery’s rating. This little bit of foresight guarantees a smile with every push of the throttle.

Connection Types: The Ties That Bind

Various electric skateboard motors come with unique connections — bullet, XT, and barrel — each with its idiosyncrasies. Your selection impacts the ease with which the motor integrates into your skateboard’s electrical circuit. It’s advisable to pair motors and Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) with identical connection types, simplifying the installation process. Should you encounter differing connector types, fear not, for adapters exist, but they are an additional step you might want to sidestep.

Motor Size and Mounting Matters

Bigger doesn’t always equate to better. The motor size impacts not just the board’s aesthetics but also its ground clearance and weight distribution. Measure, with precision, the space available on your skateboard. The motor should nestle in snugly, without flirting with the ground as you carve the concrete waves. Ensure the motor’s mounting scheme is compatible with your skateboard’s design. A mismatch can lead to mount modifications or, in unfavorable cases, a motor that simply cannot join the ride.

ESC Compatibility: The Maestro of Movement

The ESC acts as the brain, taking your commands and translating them into the motor’s motion. It’s pivotal that the ESC supports the motor’s specifications. The ESC and the motor’s types—hub, belt-driven, or direct drive—must be a harmonious pair for the most refined control over your electric ballet on wheels. Input the motor’s specifications into the ESC and adjust parameters to synchronize the duo for an optimized journey.

Climatic Conditions: Navigating Nature’s Nuances

Not all motors are created equally robust against the elements. If your skate sessions frequently dance with rain or conquer dusty trails, prioritize a motor with a higher Ingress Protection (IP) rating. These motors brandish a shield against the sand’s scratch or the water’s waltz, ensuring longevity despite Nature’s whims.

Motor Wattage: A Balancing Act of Power

Wattage whispers the tales of the motor’s might. While more watts suggest a stronger push, they also hint at increased battery consumption. Balance your need for speed and power with the practicality of your usage patterns. Higher wattage motors are ideal for weightier riders or steep terrains while moderate wattage suffices for leisurely cruises on gentler gradients.

Finalizing Your Motor Match

The motor choice is the keystone in your electric skateboard’s architecture of adrenaline. By considering these compatibility aspects diligently, you align closer to that ideal setup that fits your distinctive desires for the way you ride. With your thorough attention to voltage, connection types, motor sizing, ESC congruity, climatic adaptations, and wattage weighting, you stand ready to select a motor that perfectly complements your electric skateboard, ensuring a ride that is not just about getting from point A to B, but about savouring the journey with every sense awakened.

Image describing motors for electric skateboards

Navigated through the intricacies of electric skateboard motors, we emerge with the clarity and confidence to make an informed decision on the ideal motor for our ride. Remembering that the synergy between motor type, performance specifications, and compatibility factors determines the quality of the skateboarding experience, our journey from enthusiast to adept has equipped us with the tools to engineer an electric skateboard that is not just a mode of transportation but a testament to precision and customization. Let this newly gained knowledge serve as the catalyst for creating an electric skateboard that resonates with our individual style, enabling us to carve the streets with an unrivaled sense of command and enjoyment.

Matt Powell