Top Portable Electric Skateboards for College Students

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

As college campuses grow ever more sprawling, students are turning to innovative forms of transportation to navigate their collegiate terrains swiftly and stylishly. Among these new-age vehicles, portable electric skateboards have surged in popularity, heralding a revolution in personal mobility. With a focus on convenience, speed, and efficiency, these rideables are transforming the student commute. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the world of top portable electric skateboards, spotlighting models like the nimble Backfire Mini, the balanced Boosted Mini X, and the stealthy Teamgee H5. Each has its unique strengths, designed to cater to the dynamic needs of a college student darting from lecture halls to libraries and everywhere in-between.

Backfire Mini

When space is at a premium but your thirst for power remains unquenchable, finding a compact ride that can satiate that desire for speed and maneuverability is akin to hitting the vehicular jackpot. Fortunately, the automotive industry has been attentive to this niche, providing some exceptional options that bring together the best of both worlds. Here’s a peek at some compact powerhouses that punch well above their weight.

Honda Civic Type R

Don’t let the Civic moniker fool you. The Type R variant is a far cry from its demure cousins, boasting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that serves up a heart-racing 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with an adaptive suspension system and Brembo brakes, the Type R is a track-ready beast that can handle daily driving with equal aplomb.

Subaru WRX

A rally car disguised as a daily driver, the Subaru WRX is a legend in its own right. Under the hood lies a turbocharged boxer engine that delivers thrilling performance, with standard all-wheel drive to ensure that power meets the pavement with unwavering grip. It’s the kind of ride that invites adventurous detours.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

This German pocket rocket has been an enthusiast favorite for decades, and for good reason. The Golf GTI combines practicality with an infectious driving experience. The 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI engine provides spirited acceleration, and with a finely tuned chassis, it remains a benchmark in the hot hatch segment.

Ford Fiesta ST

It may be the smallest contender on the list, but the Ford Fiesta ST is a giant when it comes to sheer enjoyment. The 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine propels this little number with vim and vigor, making it a joy in tight corners and open roads alike. It’s proof positive that great thrills come in small packages.

Mini John Cooper Works

With a heritage steeped in racing pedigree, the Mini John Cooper Works brings its A-game to the table with a turbocharged engine that churns out over 200 horsepower. Its go-kart-like handling exemplifies what a fun drive is all about, offering an engaging driving experience that echoes the storied brand’s motorsport background.

BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe

For those who prefer a dollop of luxury with their dose of adrenaline, BMW presents the M235i xDrive Gran Coupe. It’s an entry-level Bimmer that’s anything but basic, with a 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder that manages to extract 301 horsepower. Add intelligent all-wheel drive to the mix, and you have a car that delivers on multiple fronts.

Audi S3

The Audi S3 blends performance, technology, and refined design into one appealing package. The 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI engine generates a compelling 306 horsepower, which, when combined with Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system, results in dynamic performance in all driving conditions. Compact luxury has never looked so good—or gone so fast.

There you have it—a lineup of compact cars that deliver exhilarating performance without demanding you rent out a hangar for parking space. Whether it’s for the joyous daily drive, the weekend track days, or simply the pleasure of possessing a combination of power and practicality, these models check the boxes with gusto. Ready, set, zoom!

A lineup of compact cars, showcasing their sleek design and sporty appeal for automotive enthusiasts

Photo by exposureexplorer on Unsplash

Boosted Mini X

When it comes to mastering the daily commute without sacrificing the thrill of driving, it’s essential to strike the right balance between a car’s physical footprint and its performance capabilities. We’ve explored several options that satisfy that speed-savvy appetite while keeping practicality in check. But the quest for that perfect harmony between size and power doesn’t end there. Let’s dive into a few more contenders that deliver agility and pep within a compact package.

Hyundai Veloster N

This quirky three-door hatchback stands out in a crowd, not only for its unique styling but also for its punchy performance. The Veloster N is the performance-focused variant of Hyundai’s already popular model. With a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine churning out upwards of 275 horsepower and a chassis that’s been fine-tuned on the infamous Nürburgring, this car strikes an impressive balance. It’s small enough to weave through city traffic with ease, yet robust enough to ignite excitement on open stretches.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

A beloved classic in the realm of small sports cars, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the embodiment of joy in motoring. The Miata’s lightweight nature, coupled with its rear-wheel-drive setup, ensures an exhilarating drive every time. It may not have the highest horsepower in its class—the current generation skates by with just over 180 hp—but its agile handling and weight distribution make it a powerhouse of fun. As an added bonus, its size makes parking a breeze, no matter how tight the spot.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Hailing from Italy, the Fiat 500 Abarth is the performance version of Fiat’s iconic 500 model. This pocket rocket is equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that throws down around 160 horsepower. And while it may be the smallest option on this list, don’t let its stature fool you—this vehicle packs a punch. With its aggressive exhaust note and sport-tuned suspension, the 500 Abarth offers an engaging drive that overflows with character, proving that power and fun aren’t reserved for the largest of vehicles.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Switching gears to the electric arena, the Chevrolet Bolt EV reshapes the conversation around size, power, and efficiency. It offers zippy acceleration thanks to its 200 horsepower electric motor, which is more than enough for spirited daily commuting. What’s more, the Bolt EV’s compact dimensions make it practical for city driving, allowing you to zip into tight parking spots and navigate congested streets with confidence. Factor in its range of approximately 259 miles on a full charge, and the Bolt stands out as a capable all-electric option for the eco-conscious enthusiast.

Each of these vehicles demonstrates that you don’t need a massive, gas-guzzling engine to enjoy the ride to its fullest. Whether it’s the track-tuned finesse of the Hyundai Veloster N, the timeless appeal of the MX-5 Miata, the feisty spirit of the Fiat 500 Abarth, or the eco-friendly pep of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, there’s a ride out there that hits the sweet spot between size and exhilarating performance. Happy commuting!

Image of small sports cars lined up, showcasing different models

Photo by sooprun on Unsplash

Teamgee H5

It’s time to switch gears a bit. Picture this: cruising the streets on something that defies the typical roar and rumble of the models listed so far, something more under-the-radar, but no less thrilling—a stealthy skateboard. No, not the wooden kind that comes to mind, but the electric skateboarding revolution that’s quietly carving up the urban landscape. Here’s the intel on how these whisper-quiet rides are stepping up to the big leagues without so much as a peep.

First up, embrace the torque. Electric skateboards are by no means slouches when it comes to power. Many pack a punch with dual motors that can propel riders at impressive speeds—some even hitting the 25 mph mark—without breaking a sweat. The acceleration is smooth, direct, and, best of all, almost silent.

Battery life is the unsung hero. With advancements in technology, these boards can travel distances that make them serious contenders for handling a daily commute. Ranges of 10-20 miles per charge are becoming standard, and some premium models push that envelope even further. Plus, regenerative braking helps to snake a little power back into the system every time the brakes are engaged.

Construction and design have also evolved. Once considered toys, today’s electric skateboards are built with high-grade materials like carbon fiber and aluminum, not just to last, but to perform. The decks themselves are artfully crafted to provide the perfect blend of flex and stability, allowing for a ride that’s both comfortable and responsive.

Then there’s the connectivity factor. Paired with a smartphone app, many electric skateboards offer a wealth of features at the rider’s fingertips. From tracking rides to adjusting power settings to ensuring firmware is always updated for optimum performance, it’s a level of control that’s hard to match.

Safety has been propelled to the forefront, too. LED lights for visibility during night rides, sturdy all-terrain wheels, and water-resistant electronics are common features for the modern rider who demands reliability in addition to stealth and speed.

And customization? It’s not just about decals and colors anymore. Wheel types for different terrains, interchangeable batteries, various deck lengths for a tailored riding experience—personalizing an electric skateboard is part of the fun and function.

Finally, there’s community and support. With a subculture that’s growing faster than ever, finding fellow enthusiasts, group rides, and local events is a cinch. Aftermarket support, spare parts, upgrade kits, and a wealth of online tutorials mean that riders are never left to roll alone.

In the realm of urban mobility, electric skateboards are fast becoming the ninja warriors of the concrete jungle. Silent but deadly, they slip through the streets with agility and speed, turning heads only when they want to, making the urban commuting experience as exhilarating as it is efficient. Mingle this with eco-friendliness, and it’s clear—carving a path on an electric skateboard is more than a pastime; it’s a statement. So, why not make your next move a stealthy one?

Image of a person riding an electric skateboard alongside cars on a city street

The quest for the ultimate college commute gadget may very well end at the wheels of an electric skateboard. As the Backfire Mini, Boosted Mini X, and Teamgee H5 each bring their distinct flair to the fore, they collectively represent the pinnacle of portable electric skateboards suited for collegiate life. Striking a chord between practicality and pleasure, they empower students with freedom, flair, and a fresh zest for daily campus travels. The future of student transit is here, and it’s electric, ready to meet the pace and pulse of college life with a board for every backpack and a ride for every road.

Matt Powell