Although we may not have functional hover boards yet (that don’t rely on a leaf blower at least), the past few years have presented skaters with a bevy of new technologies that have helped switch-up the four-wheeled board experience for the better. Of course, technology will never replace the raw skill of shredding the gnar via old-school methods, but it can definitely help make things a little more fun for the rest of us. Among others, the Mellow Drive is perhaps on of the most significant pieces of skateboard tech that we’ve seen in awhile.
Hailed as the “first-ever drive system for skateboards that can be mounted under pretty much any deck,” the Mellow encourages riders of all types to “just pick (their) favorite board and turn it into a full-on riding machine.”
Designed in Hamburg, Germany by boardsport fanatics Johannes and Kilian, the two perhaps couldn’t come from more perfect backgrounds: while Johannes has over 15 years in the boardsports industry with a degree in Sports and Economics, Kilian is an ex-BMW electric car engineer who spends his off-time surfing.
“We are boardsports enthusiasts,” says the duo.
“And like many others we miss the feeling of freedom we get from surfing and snowboarding when we are back home in the city. Inspired by the invention of the first skateboards 50 years ago, we now want to take the asphalt surf to the next level.”
To help carry this “effortless, floating feeling of the ride” over to the streets, the designers focused their early product development on engineering a product that capitalized on the least amount of weight while delivering the maximum amount of latitude. What resulted was a system that features two in-wheel motors that deliver high torque with virtually no noise. Since they are completely encapsulated, they are also 100% water and dust proof.
As for power, the swappable click-in battery pack was tailor-made for the Mellow Drive – thanks in no small part to Johannes’ prior experience as an electrical car engineer for BMW. According to the designers, the battery cells used for the board are sourced from the same place that Tesla sources the cells for their electric cars.
To top it all off, a well-considered and intuitive remote and braking system ensures that users won’t be flying through red lights or stop signs unexpectedly:
“With Mellow you can go really fast. Going fast is great as long as you can handle the speed. We want you to feel safe and in full control at any given speed, so we equipped the Mellow Drive with a Dual Braking System. It uses the regenerated braking power to recharge the battery, but unlike other electric skates an internal braking resistor also prevents the brake from switching off in case the battery is fully recharged. If you ever run out of juice your board will just roll out without friction or abrupt braking, so you can push home easily.”
The designers have already raised nearly 25% of their campaign goal of $111,589 in just a single day – could this be the dawn of an entirely new urban transportation vehicle? In any case, it’ll do just fine until the hover board finally arrives. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can purchase your own Mellow Drive starting at $963 over on Kickstarter.