Before we get started let's make one thing clear, as the infamous Bill Friedman clearly stated "Riding a skateboard is not safe. Riding an electric skateboard is not safe."
So our engineers in Nerdistan digged deep into safety features when they developed the Mellow Drive. Why is safety such an important topic for us? First of all, electric skateboards are still pretty new. They look like toys, but they pack the power and speed of a tiny electric car, without the protective shell. Riders, experienced skaters or absolute rookies, have to get used to electric skateboards to be able to safely operate them and avoid an accident. Also, in most places e-skates are still not officially allowed in traffic. So a vehicle that is safe and easy to keep under control will much more likely push legislation into the right direction, right?
First Riders License for electric skateboards
One safety feature we came up with is the world’s first Riders License for electric skateboards. It’s a small but significant feature to make sure you take your time to get used to the Mellow Drive, for your own good and the safety of the people around you. Here’s how it works: The speed of every brand new Mellow is limited to 25 km/h. You already have full acceleration on the Pro Mode, but you will have to cover a distance of 30 km (18.5 miles) with your drive before you can unlock the top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). The Mellow App shows you how much distance you still have to unlock it. Or if you want to take it slow and mellow or you let your children ride you can also choose not to unlock or to relock the top speed.
Safest dual braking system on the market
The Mellow Drive features the most advanced dual braking system for skateboards. Like other e-skates it feeds energy back into the battery while braking. But this regenerative system has its limits. When the battery is full you cannot apply the brakes as the energy cannot go anywhere. This is a problem which most electric skateboards on the market have which causes the e-skate to shut off creating a dangerous scenario. Mellow came up with a solution, a heat resistor that dissipates excess energy as heat. This also allows for much safer braking in extreme situations like long downhill rides.
Though Mellow’s dual braking system is the safest on the market, it’s important to note that electric brakes do NOT work like mechanical brakes. They still can possibly switch off i.e. when there is too much energy/heat generation due to very long downhill braking or a lost Bluetooth connection between drive and remote. This is why you should not skate faster than a speed where you can still safely stop without relying on the electrical brakes. Start slowly, learn back-up braking alternatives and accustom yourself with the braking ability of the Mellow Drive.
Push start to get rolling
You have to push start or roll the Mellow Drive before you can start accelerating with the remote. This not only saves you a lot of battery capacity, it also gives you a much safer stance on the board as we don’t want you to fall off when applying the throttle. And it makes Mellowboarding the closest possible to natural skateboarding, especially in combination with the Endless Mode.
Intelligent Run Off Blocker
If you ever experienced a board accidentally running away and crashing into something (hopefully not someone) you’ll probably love an additional safety feature we implemented recently. The Run Off Blocker brings the Mellow Board to an automatic stop if it shoots off without a rider. A false start can happen for a few reasons, whether your riding surface isn’t absolutely flat, accidentally accelerating, falling off or the remote hanging from the lanyard or sticking it in a pocket causes the remote to request acceleration.
Hack-proof Bluetooth connection
Nerdistan also came up with an encrypted Bluetooth connection between remote, drive and app, so that no one can hack into your ride and you always stay in control over your board. If for any reason (i.e. remote is lost or runs out of battery) the remote loses connection to the drive we implemented an Intelligent Emergency Braking, an automatic braking sequence that slowly brings you to a full stop. So everything is under control.
Get alerted by important safety warnings
The drive as well as the remote have a range of safety warnings that make you aware of critical situations. You will not only know when your battery is running low and you soon need to juice it up, you will also get notified about riding temperatures of the system (i.e. due to very long braking processes) prior to a complete shut-off of the brakes or the whole system. Via beeps, buzzes and light signals, your Mellow will always keep you informed about its well-being.
Take it easy with the Rookie Mode
As the Mellow Drive is a serious riding machine, skateboard beginners and children need to take it slow. The Rookie Mode with really smooth acceleration and a top speed of 10 km/h is the perfect choice for them. With a range of 4 different riding modes the Mellow Drives is suitable for all riders and adapts to a variety of situations:
- Rookie Mode: smooth acceleration, top speed 10 km/h
- Eco Mode: swifter acceleration, top speed 25 km/h
- Pro Mode: strong acceleration, top speed 40 km/h
- Endless Mode: the motor maintains the speed at which you push the board like a cruise control, top speed 25 km/h
Mellow School – Listen up!
Apart from all the implemented safety features the rider also needs to know his e-skate limits and how to skateboard properly. This is why we started the Mellow School, our video series on specific Mellow as well as general (e-) skate topics. Mellowboarders for example learn how to mount and pair their drive, how to avoid safety risks like speed wobbles and get familiar with options for emergency braking. They get to know different skateboard stances, some tips for maintenance and how to update their drive to always keep it state of the art. Plus many more topics still to come…
To wrap it up, Mellow is a pretty safe choice.
Nevertheless, we always recommend to wear a helmet and if you are going really fast on unknown or rough terrain you should definitely also put on further safety gear. Mount lights on your board or your person to be noticed at night. Be aware of the fact that others estimate someone on a skateboard will roll at a lower speed than you probably will. Therefore, always ride in anticipation and assumption that others don’t see you.