An electric skateboard is a personal transporter based on a skateboard. The speed is usually controlled by a wireless hand-held throttle remote or rider body weight-shifting between front of the board for forward motion and rear for braking. As for the direction of travel to the right or left, it is adjusted by tilting the board to one side or the other. The classification of electric skateboards (e.g. whether they qualify as a 'vehicle') and legality of their use on roads or pavements varies between countries.
The MotoBoard, which was gasoline-powered, was released in the summer of 1975 but was banned in California in 1997 due to noise and pollution.
Louie Finkle of Seal Beach, California is often cited as an originator of the modern electric skateboard, offering his first wireless electric skateboard in 1997 and a patent filed in April 1999, however it was not until the 2004–2006 that electric motors and batteries were available with sufficient torque and efficiency to power boards effectively.
In 2012, ZBoard, raised nearly 30 times their target for a balance controlled electric skateboard on Kickstarter, which was well received at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2013. Their 2015 campaign on Indiegogo was 86 time over-subscribed, raising $1 million.
There are two basic types of electric skateboards in the market.
It was originally designed for local transport, but now offer a more serious "Off Road" model as a new thrill sport. The Off Road style boards are able to traverse grass, gravel, dirt and hard sand with ease and are often seen at low tide on the beach.
The basic design of an electric skateboard consists of an electric motor (out-runner or hub), batteries, speed controller (often the specially designed VESC), and a wireless throttle on top of a regular skateboard, longboard or other variant (e.g. penny board, mountain board).
Traction is typically provided by one or more of the following:
Electric skateboards are able to travel at high speeds, as well as go off-road. The stability, in turn, is determined by a couple of key deck features:
All electric skateboards need an electronic speed controller (ESC) in order to vary the speed of the motor for accelerating or braking. Originally, hobbyists would typically use ESCs from radio-controlled model cars, but the rise in popularity and interest in building electric skateboards created demand for bespoke and more sophisticated ESCs. The VESC (Variable Electronic Speed Controller) may include motor and battery protection, regenerative braking, programming options e.g. acceleration and deceleration curves, and other advanced features.
Trucks are important and extremely durable parts that are mounted under the surface of the electric skateboard.
Trucks are part of a T-shaped metal body under the two ends of the skateboard.
When choosing trucks, user should choose an axis with the length of 2 closest to the width of the board. The slight difference in width between the skateboard axis and the skateboard surface will greatly affect the time skateboarding. To have a safe and accurate way to buy skateboards, you just need to pay attention "the bigger the surface of the board, the bigger the axis of the board."
Typical retail boards such as those from Evolve and Boosted are able to reach top speeds of around 20-25mph (32-40kph) on their fastest modes, while specialist and hobbyist boards can be built with very powerful motors for top speeds of 50mph (80kph) and beyond. Braking is typically implemented as Dynamic braking / Regenerative braking from the rear wheels only and the stopping distance can vary widely between motors and wheels/tyres.
There have been several fatal accidents involving electric skateboards  and many accounts of hospital visits. Personal protective equipment including helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads are recommended for high speed riding.