So far, the world hasn’t really settled on its favorite personal transporter. But if the world ever does, it’s going to have to be something compact, reasonably fast and pack serviceable range. While the jury is still out for the Onewheel, it definitely ticks all those boxes.
Billed as a “self-balancing electric skateboard that gives you a feeling of flying,” it consists of a deck with a large hole in the center and a large wheel lodged into it, with the deck measuring about the size of an S-Walker Board. Armed with a self-balancing mechanism, you just hop on to get riding, then lean forward to accelerate, lean backwards to slow down, and press your heels/toes to make turns. Definitely beats kicking the ground as you do with conventional electric skateboards.
Created by California-based Future Motion, the Onewheel comes with solid-state inertial sensors and control electronics that facilitate the self-balancing function, along with a new 500W brushless hub motor that offers more power and reliability than previously available motors. Designed to be simple, it has just one moving part, the wheel, with no gears, chains, or belts that can complicate maintenance. It can run at speeds of up to 12 mph, with a range of 4 to 6 miles depending on terrain and riding style. The onboard 48V lithium nano-phosphate battery can fully recharge in 20 minutes with a fast charger and 2 hours on a standard one.
Construction is solid billet aluminum for the frame and Canadian maple for the deck. They’re also developing an accompanying app (for Android and iOS), where you can set riding modes, electronically limit the top speed, and lock the wheel, among other functions.
A big hit at CES last week, the Onewheel is currently a fully-funded Kickstarter project. You can still get in on the upcoming production run with pledges starting at $1,299.