I was literally riding into the sunset when I began to calculate how fast they would have to move my legs to leave the electric skateboard under my feet. The winding road from the High Point viewpoint of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada to the bottom of the basin sounded like the perfect place for my first trip on the new Dot electric board, until I looked at the small screen on my board’s remote control .
The speedometer read 27 mph. Since high school, I have ridden longboards in cities and suburbs, but never in my life had I gone so fast or so rigid because of fear.
Riding an electric skateboard gives you the false feeling that the hills do not exist because you have battery-operated brakes, that is, until you are running downhill without one. In theory, regenerative braking is a dream. But in reality, it makes braking with a full battery incredibly dangerous. And when you’re standing on a 37-inch piece of wood that is driving you into a desert valley at maximum speed, and your brakes suddenly don’t respond to the controller in your hand, you realize that the hills do, of In fact, it exists.
Before accelerating downhill on a fully loaded Dot skateboard, I fell in love with the traditional feel of the skateboard. The three Dot models, the Compact, the Cruiser and the Transporter, are made of a composite of V-Ply maple and fiberglass. Powerful hub motors allow them to navigate without drag; you must pump or make the wheels move before the motors are activated.
Dot Boards is a creation of three Australian brothers and skaters, Matt, Stephen and Pete Hill. Operating under the belief that most of the electric skateboards on the market didn’t have that true skateboard feeling, people spend six years developing their own. Last year, they finally launched their own products, which are now available for purchase through the company’s website.
Both the Compact and the Cruiser have diplomatic striped covers with kicktails, while the Transporter is a wood grain drop-through. With each board, you have the option of adding additional battery modules. And on the two smaller plates, you can also add an additional hub motor. An engine provides enough power to climb 15 percent up the hill, while two engines double it to 30 percent. Each battery provides six miles of range and costs an additional $ 200 per module. And all tables have built-in rear brake lights.
The compact dot board starts at $ 1,279, and although the size and weight are excellent, the range leaves much to be desired. It has the option of one or two engines, and the latter has an additional cost of $ 170. The speed reaches a maximum of 18 mph, which, in a small table like this, feels very fast. The compact dashboard whips and is easy to transport. It feels extremely similar to the Boosted Mini.
For full speed, reach and comfort, but with much more weight, there is the Transporter. Starting at $ 1,599, this board is the Cadillac of Dot lineup. You can upgrade the wheels to 120mm “stable driving” versions for $ 100. These wheels make you feel like you’re riding on a cloud. I felt comfortable going very fast, very fast. You can get up to 24 mph on this board, with a maximum range of 24 miles per load. But you give up great portability with the Transporter. The board is huge and heavy, and it is definitely an A to B vehicle with few or no stops in between.
The Cruiser sits comfortably between the Compact and the Transporter. Start at $ 1,299 with a top speed of 18 mph and 18 miles of range. This is the ideal spot for electrical panel sizes. It is light enough that if I had to get on the subway, it would not be a nuisance, but it still retains a decent range and speed.
The Dot remote control is a bit different from Boosted. The acceleration and brake buttons are on the back of the remote control. I found myself using the pointer and middle fingers to accelerate and the ring finger and pinky to slow down. But it was a bit complicated, and I was often scared that it would accelerate when I intended to hit the brake. With its accelerated braking and acceleration, a slip of your hand could leave it on the sidewalk.
However, there is a very useful, and very small, screen on the Dot remote. You can see a speedometer, the distance traveled and a variety of settings. While the board is not waterproof, the remote control screen will indicate if your engine is wet. It also has haptic feedback to alert you of certain messages. For example, if your board is vertical and therefore the motors will not start, the remote will emit pulses. I appreciated being able to feel that something was wrong through the haptics.
We need to talk about the regenerative braking system and how I got 27 mph down on an electric skateboard. Dot states that it actually limits the power to just under 100 percent while charging the plate, leaving some space for any additional brake power to be sent back to the “full” battery. But when I took off on a fully loaded cruise ship on top of a viewpoint in Red Rock Canyon, I began to generate more power than I needed.
Once the battery reached its maximum capacity, which was in the middle of a large hill, the braking looked a lot like a wobble of speed. There were really fast pulses that shook the back of my board, then the brake cut off. This is a big problem for anyone riding these tables, and I hope to see Dot address this in a better way than limiting the amount a battery can charge.
I contacted the company about this problem, and Dot responded by saying that the remote control will alert you if you try to stop while the battery is full. The alert will be a repetitive haptic signal and a “low brakes” message on the remote screen. Unfortunately, during my experience, I did not receive this message, and I am concerned that, for an inexperienced pilot, this signal may be too small and too late.
However, what Dot is doing well is modularity and customization. The engines are interchangeable through an Allen key that is stored in the front truck, and the batteries are easy to unscrew and remove. On the contrary, changing a wheel on a reinforced board requires removing engine covers, relieving belt tension and removing engine gears.
I was able to change a wheel in about two minutes and put an additional engine in a minute. I really like that you can buy the base model of any dashboard and, in a few months or years, add additional batteries or motors. Of course, that is based on Dot staying afloat in a market that not only has the great starting player, but has also seen companies coming and going. However, Dot’s bet on customizable DIY boards is refreshing.