A Brief History of Electric Skateboards

A Brief History of Electric Skateboards

Skateboarding started in the 1940s by youngsters who strapped roller skates on boards for some risky cheap thrills. In 1975, the earliest motor-based “electric skateboard” was non-electric. It was called the MotoBoard.

The first-ever longboard was gasoline-powered. It turned to be the initial concept for recent electric skateboards. These gasoline-powered boards were initially banned for some reasons. The ban came so soon after its inception.

Compared to bikes, motorized skateboards are easier and more convenient to carry and usually much affordable. Despite their weight, their functionality compensates their weight and justified it. With the ergonomic remote controls, the electric skateboards are so fun and easy to use.

The Invention and Rise of Electric Skateboards

The MotoBoard took the entire planet by storm in the mid-1970s. This gas-powered ride hit the streets in Berkeley, California. Heads were turning, and people started asking questions.

Though the earliest gas-powered skateboard was extraordinarily different than the modern motorized skateboards, it was the pioneer in this industry. Nowadays, the motorized skateboards sold in the market are silent, electric, more efficient, and wireless.

The earliest gas-powered skateboard was the invention of Louie Finkle. According to him, it all started with a story. At that time, he was in a hobby store as he wanted to purchase a motor. So, he got a motor and a wireless controller.

He had a friend who created longboards, so he combined two ideas. Louie said this cool foundation was where the concept for a battery-powered, wireless, and motorized skateboard originated.

About Louie Finkle

Louie was just an ordinary man. He does not have a background in electronics. However, he claimed that he was “destined to understand a machine”. Louie used to work all over his neighborhood using a wagon and collect things that were useless for other people. He got those things that he can recycle and discovered ways to make them useful again.

Louie was a fan of those machines that can move. He also had the natural desire and instinct to understand how these machines work. His understandings of the machines gave him ideas and pushed him to create the earliest motorized skateboard in 1997. He obtained the US patent in 1999.

His skateboard can travel at a speed rate of 0 to 22 miles/hour in just 4 seconds. He sold the machine for around $995. Likewise, his skateboard was different from the rest due to the way it runs under the rider’s control. It surprisingly turned a user’s body into something like a conductor. The metal strip touched under the trigger finger and transferred a low-frequency signal over the feet and about ½ inch over the board’s deck towards the receiver.

The electric skateboard obtained advancements in the mid-2000s with upgrades in the battery’s size and power. When Louie was created electric skateboards, he used lead-acid batteries. Today, many DIY skateboard builders are using LiPo batteries.

The invention of Louie Finkle rapidly became a booming business. He called it eXkate. His business produced over 1,500 skateboards and gathered a large customer base. John Cusack was one of his customers.

The Ban and Availability of Electric Skateboards

Some reasons led to the ban of electric skateboards. These include:

  • Their engines produce noise when in operation
  • These skateboards have gasoline engines, which can harm the environment as they produce pollution.

However, California became the ruling state for the production of motorized skateboards. In the end, the state government lifted the ban for these skates. The officials considered reversing the old ban executed in 1977.

The electric longboarding industry is connected with some hazards in which road accidents are among the main concerns. Therefore, under bill number 2054, the electric longboards should not cross the 20 Mph speed limit. Also, most insurance policies available do not include any loss related to electric skateboards.

The Evolution of Electric Skateboards

While Mr. Finkle got credit for creating the modern electric skateboard, he wasn’t the first one to assume that this kind of machine would be great. There was a company named MotoBoard that created another version of electric skateboards in 1975.

This version seemed the same as the other skateboards in the market today. However, this one can go faster than how much you can propel yourself when you are on level ground. It came up with a multitude of drawbacks and imperfections. These include the need for a cord so that you can connect your skateboard with the control module.

A lot of people found it to be hard to use. This issue led to a temporary disappearance of electric skateboards in the market.

On the other hand, Finkle was eager to keep the idea alive. Due to that, he kept working on his original design until he came up with something that one can operate wirelessly. In spite of the challenges associated with motorized skateboards, Louie’s design was remarkable, considering that he developed it when the wireless technology wasn’t prevalent by all standards.

These days, electric skateboards are extremely reliable and fun to use. They offer people a brand new way to take advantage and have fun with the wireless technology that is widely available to just about any device people are using today.

One thing is sure, the modern electric skateboards can go faster and further compared to their predecessors. It could be both a bad and good thing. However, they can also have their special set of hazards, significantly because they go so quick.

For younger persons who are having fun with skateboards, it’s almost hard to believe that the first few models were created over 40 years ago. The technology used even for the recent versions created in the 1990s is more than 20 years of age.

Therefore, it gives people ample time to develop and explore further the technology so that people can capitalize on it more beneficially. This one of the reasons behind the rising popularity of electric skateboards today.


The use of skateboards is too common among teens. However, not every average individual got the chance to have fun in using these sleek electric rides. With the recent advancement and upgrade of new skateboard makers, electric longboards have become much more accessible for public usage.

The actual capacity and speed of electric skateboards depend on several factors like the battery used as the power source, the battery’s size, and the output and quality of both the drive system and the motor.

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