Transportation and mobility are a very significant part of the human experience. People in the early years of their careers move closer to the city to commute to and from work easily. The commute takes up a significant portion of people’s daily lives.
With the world’s changing temperatures, we need to be more mindful of how we commute and move around. People within the transportation industry and new tech operators are aware that sustainable commutes and clean energy are trendy right now.
People care about the environment more now than they did perhaps a couple of decades ago.
Due to this awareness, customer demands are now shifting from cars that use fuel and gas to cleaner energy. Tech giant Tesla has created their entire company on this customer demand.
However, not everyone can afford a Tesla, and, more importantly, not everyone wants one.
People want alternatives to cars and public transport that also allows them to do their part in helping save the environment. This want is where electric bikes, electric scooters, and electric skateboards can provide great utility.
All of these are verified to be being environmentally friendly, but what is faster? A bike or a skateboard. Electric forms of bikes and skateboards already bring a little more relaxation to their driver, but what else is different.
Read on as we discuss the difference between electric bikes and skateboards.
What Is an Electric Bike?
An electric bicycle or bike is a bicycle with an electric battery and motor that assists the rider with propulsion. Electric bikes are similar to regular bikes; however, they have electrical components like a motor, battery, and a controller that assists the rider in their journey.
Electric bikes are very common nowadays. According to NDP Group, the sales for electric bikes went up 145 percent between 2019 and 2020, which means that many people buy them and are relatively satisfied.
The pandemic and the subsequent uncertainty it brings are why people are shifting to green alternatives for their commute, and the electric bike is one such alternative.
Bike enthusiasts and companies selling regular bikes are concerned that there might be cannibalization of ordinary bike sales, and inevitably, everything shifts to electric alternatives. However, electric bikes aren’t here to do that.
Electric Bikes: How Do They Work?
Electric bikes work very simply. They have a handle and pedals, just like an ordinary bike. However, the distinction between regular bikes and electric bikes is the electric components it has, i.e., the motor, battery, and controller that enable more function.
These bikes don’t mean to take over the function of a bike completely. Instead, they provide more assistance to the driver, so they’re in better control of the vehicle.
Electric bikes work in 3 main modes:
- Pedal Only
- Pedal Assist or electric assist
In the pedal-only mode, you can use the electric bike as a regular bike, and so everything you would do on an ordinary bike you can achieve with this electric bike. This mode is excellent to have as it helps you have more options within the bike and gives you the choice of deciding whether you want to have assistance or not.
You don’t have to get an entirely new ordinary bike if you’re someone who enjoys them. In the pedal mode, you can switch gears as you would in a normal bike; thus, it doesn’t take away your control.
Pedal-Assist or Electric Assist
Pedal-assist is the mode in which the motor helps with your bicycle journey. In the pedal-assist mode, the electric motor provides power so you can travel more easily and use less of your energy.
This mode is especially helpful when cycling on an ascent or through harsh terrain. This mode can be switched on or off using a controller and thus helps in your movement.
Furthermore, the electric assist mode has three sub-modes for you to choose from. These modes are:
- High mode
- Medium mode
- Low mode
In high mode, you have a greater amount of assistance or power from the motor. In the medium mode, the power that the motor takes from the battery is lesser, and it’s the least in the low mode.
The percentage of power that the motor uses in each mode varies between electric bikes. However, it is safe to say that for most bikes, it’s an equal measure.
In the electric mode, the rider can relax and let the bike do all the work. The bike uses a hundred percent of the power from the motor. There is a different mechanism to switch into this mode for every bike.
This mode means that the owners can use bikes to travel long distances and not have to work necessarily get a workout in. They’re safe, and most places have an area in which electric bikes can be parked and kept securely.
Moreover, electric bikes don’t have motors that go for more than 20 miles an hour, so there are lesser risks of major injuries via accidents.
Components of an Electric Bike
The components of an electric bike are similar to that of an ordinary bike; they have handles, pedals, and wheels. The difference is the electric components which may be of different varieties in different bikes, but the common components, regardless of the company in most bikes, are as follows:
The motor provides power to the bike. Motors come in various ranges for electric bikes; however, most manufacturers keep the power rating low because different states in America and different countries all over the world have legislation that has speed limits regarding electric bikes.
A normal motor on an electric bike can range anywhere from 200 watts to 100 watts. The greater the wattage, the more easily the bike will carry the rider’s weight; however, higher power wattage also means that the battery is likely to run out quicker.
The battery is the component where the motor derives its power. Batteries affect the range, price, and shape of electric bikes immensely, and hence you must choose the right one.
The main types of batteries are Sealed Lead Acid batteries, which are an older technology, bulkier and more affordable, or the newer Lithium-Ion batteries that are relatively more expensive, lightweight, and more durable than SLA batteries.
Controllers are necessary components in electric bikes as they help bikes switch through the different modes mentioned before and provide electrical assistance.
Manufacturers place controllers where drivers can easily access them while on their bikes. Thus, controllers are present on handlebars. Controllers are also of two main types, i.e., the Pedal activated controller or the throttle-based controllers.
|Activated by using pedals no throttle requires.
The controller can monitor the level of assistance
|Activated by using a throttle
No pedal engagement required
What Is an Electric Skateboard?
A skateboard is very similar to a normal skateboard; however, it has a battery, motors, and remote control. It is a personal transporter that is easier to ride than a normal skateboard for beginners, and so if you want to get to places quickly without investing too much energy, this might be a great choice for you.
The legalities regarding electric skateboards also vary between states and counties, so make sure to look into these before you invest in them.
The biggest difference in normal skateboards compared to electric skateboards is how drivers can accelerate them and stop them. In normal skateboards, you’re manually moving the wheels along.
However, in an electric skateboard, the motor does that for you. The breaking process for this skateboard is also similar as you only need to press a button on the remote control to slow down and ultimately stop.
Electric skateboards don’t come with the full-body workout that most bikes come with, but they can be a great way of moving around seamlessly.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned before, every electric skateboard comes with remote control. This remote control generally has triggers and throttles. Suppose the driver pulls the trigger and initiates a throttle.
In that case, the remote control will take this information and send signals via electromagnetic waves to the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) present in all skateboards.
When the driver wants to accelerate, the electronic speed controller will take information from a Bluetooth receiver and calculate the correct amount of battery it needs to transfer from the battery to the motor. Viola! That’s how the electric skateboard works. The power from the battery charges the motor and hence the wheels propelling you and the board forward.
Components of an Electric Skateboard
An electric skateboard’s components can be categorized into three major buckets:
- Basic components
- Mechanical components
- Electrical components
The electric skateboard, like many other electric modes of transportation, is an example of Mechatronics engineering.
These components are pretty much the same between a skateboard and an electric skateboard. These include the following:
- Grip tape
The deck is where the entire weight of the rider is going to be acting, and hence it’s safe to say that there’s no skateboard without a deck. TWood is used to make the deck.
It involves many plies of concave wood that is laminated together to form a deck. Some manufacturers also use fiberglass and carbon to make decks, but for most people, wood is fine too.
There are three main shapes of decks, these are:
The shape isn’t important in electric skateboards because the remote controller controls speed and movement.
It is made out of metal and is the axis of any skateboard. Trucks are what enable the rider to make twists and turns. This component is also responsible for distributing weight on the front and back wheels, which is immensely important.
You can’t cruise\down a hill or even move around at all without having wheels on your skateboard. The wheels are essential in transferring the weight from the trucks to the pavement, and this, in turn, allows you to move by the way on Newton’s third law of motion.
Wheels come in several shapes and sizes and are made of urethane generally. Wheels work in coordination with ball bearings to make your movement easier.
This component is a sheet with adhesive on one side and a surface similar to sandpaper. It gives the rider grip to stay on the board instead of falling off during the movement.
Riders apply it to the top part of the deck where their feet go to stay upright on the board. This grip tape is essential to the skateboarding experience, and you need to replace it now and then due to wear.
The motor for an electric skateboard is similar to that used in an electric bike. The frequently used motors are of two types:
|Placed inside the wheelQuietProne to heating up because the motor is caged inside the wheel holes for airflow make the skateboard susceptive to water damage not water-resistant
|Exposed to airNo need for extra cooling more water-resistant than a hub motorLoud Things can easily get caught in the belt
This component is where the energy for the skateboard is stored. It supplies power to the motor, so movement is possible. It is, however, the heaviest component, and thus you need to place it in a way that its weight is distributed easily —the bigger the battery, the greater its range of speed.
Batteries come in various shapes and sizes, but the most commonly used battery is the Lithium-ion battery.
Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
The ESC controls all the aspects related to speed in the skateboard. It is connected to the motor, the battery, the Bluetooth receiver, and a min-controller to process the data generated by these components.
It manages the signals and operation of the entire electric skateboard. It also decides how much energy to take from the battery and give to the motor so the skateboard can reach a particular speed.
This device helps you control the skateboard and deciding when to accelerate and when to slow down. There are different types of remote control. Some use triggers, some use throttles, and some use joysticks or wheels to control the speed and functions.
Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver
This component in a skateboard helps it be less bulky and allows signals to be transmitted effectively. The controller houses the Bluetooth transmitter, which sends a signal to the Bluetooth receiver in the ESC to establish a connection.
This mechanism allows wireless communication between the remote control and the electric skateboard.
What Is Faster, a Bike, or a Skateboard? Electric Bikes vs. Electric Skateboards
Now that we have explained what electric bikes and electric skateboards are, how they work, and what components they have, we can compare them and answer the question. What is faster, a bike or a skateboard?
Electric bikes and skateboards are both pretty fast, but you may be surprised to know that electric skateboards, on average, are faster than electric bikes. An average electric bike has a speed of 20 mph to 28 mph due to legalities. However, an average electric skateboard speeds up to 29 mph.
Now that we have answered the question of speed, what are the pros and cons of each?
- You can travel long distances
- You can save money on vehicles
- You can ditch public transport
- It’s safe
- It gives a full-body workout
- It can take a long time to charge
- Don’t provide any fitness value
- Can be dangerous
- Prone to damage
- Have limited weight capacities
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- Electric walking bike
- Do Electric Bikes Save You Money?
- How to Remove a Speed Limiter on an Electric Bike
- Best Dog Carriers for Electric Bikes
- 4 Best Electric Bikes with Child Seat
People are still trying to find the balance between saving the planet and their convenience, and it’s great to know that there are so many options open to us. From electric cars to electric bikes and skateboards, you can choose anyone depending on your own needs. We have answered which option is faster and given comprehensive details regarding the utility that they bring.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.