95.83 km/h and 20 meters in 0.751 seconds. Mischo Erban did what no one dared before and set a speed world record on electric board.
Three years ago, the 32-year-old Mischo Erban – who was born in the Czech Republic, but grew up in Canada – became the fastest human in the world on a longboard, by clocking an incredible 130 km/h on a downhill run. This time he did something totally different – he set a world record riding an electric board. His final speed? 95.83 km/h in 0.751 seconds over a 20-meter distance!
When the Slovenian startup NGV (Next Generation Vehicle) designed an electric skateboard, they realized it could actually reach higher speeds than initially anticipated, and no one dared to ride it. They had to find someone with enough guts, so they turned to internet, where a name popped up immediately. The record holder, Mischo Erban's first question for NGV was this: could their board hit 100 km/h? Classic electric boards reach speeds of up to 35 km/h, which is something adrenaline–craving boarders usually aren't so wild about. Mischo was thrilled to get an affirmative answer, and the preparations began.
The skateboard is powered by 2 batteries (each 200 Wh), which take about 30 minutes to charge. The wheels for the board that comes with a mounted electric motor can be used with any type of quality skateboard chassis.The skateboarder holds a trigger in his hand, which enables him to add power and control speed. "The most difficult part was probably the programming of speed control software. The motor, which is of course the heart of the board, was initially designed for airplanes and drones. Basically, it was made to spin in the air and keep the drone flying – however, when mounted on a board, the motor gets overloaded and can break down without proper monitoring. Hence, a lot has been invested into creating the kind of software that is really up to this demanding task," explained Tone Gorup, an NGV inventor. Those who tried riding the electric Nextboard were unable to control it once they reached higher speeds. But Mischo could and did. During practice sessions, he even reached a top speed of 102.9 km/h.
What is the difference between riding a conventional and an electric skateboard?
Obviously, there is noticable difference in the way you reach certain speeds. When riding the electric skateboard, you're holding a trigger in your hand, and you speed up gradually. You can press it a little more and feel the acceleration. That's something that doesn't occur with conventional skateboards. You don't just suddenly get a boost of 10 kilometers per second.
Because of that, you're always on the edge. Boosted or not boosted, that's the question now...
This time I had no idea what the speed was, so I had no choice but to listen to my gut and play with the trigger. I was trying to focus on gently squeezing the trigger, because you have to be ready for anything on every single move you make – if you are not prepared, it's very difficult to keep your balance. What you need to do is increase speed exponentially, so the boost is smooth rather than hectic and unpredictable.
What kind of motor skills are cruical in achieving this remarkable goal?
It is essential to have 100% balance and general strength in the legs. On top of that you, of course, need to be courageous enough to pull the trigger, and be mentally prepared to push the speed limits further and further. I must admit, though, for me it is much creepier to ride the electric board on flatterrain than to hit 130 km/h going downhill. It's because of those sudden jumps of speed that can happen. When I first broke the Guinness world record, I felt kind of powerless, thinking I couldn't do anything more. But with electric boards, you can always do more. The battery will keep getting more and more durable, the runway can be longer, and the trigger can see future upgrades, as well.
What about stopping? You can't just hit the brakes.
Well, of course you need to stop by gradually slowing down. You lift your body up straight, slowly, so the air resistance you are creating by doing so helps you brake. Brakes are installed along with the motor, and you can always footbrake, as well. Stopping is the most difficult part for the programmer, because there are so many things that can go wrong.
What lies ahead, what are your plans?
With the team, we intend to improve the wheels, because the material currently used proved to be inappropriate for such high speeds. The wheels literally started to fall apart. Once we've taken care of that, we're just a step away from new victories and new broken records. I'd like to break my own downhill speed record, but this time with an electric board. To date, I have attended over 80 races, travelled to Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Peru, Australia, South Africa, England and to the USA. My involvement in the sport has even taken me as far off the beaten path of life as Dubai, to skate Jebel Hafeet in 2008. The experience of getting to see the variety of cultures which make up this wonderful planet, and the landscapes that shape them, is nothing short of living a dream!