Entrepreneur

Singapore-Made Electric Skateboard Gets Over $110k Worth Of Love - And That's Just On Kickstarter

It is dubbed the world’s smallest and lightest electric skateboard that has ever been made, and it was created by a group of Singaporeans.

The Arc Board is making its name known not only throughout Singapore, but through other countries as well, particularly through their successful, ongoing Kickstarter run.

We got in touch with the masterminds of the board, to find out more about their journey.

The Arc Board

So what is the Arc Board? Well, according to the creators of the board, it’s the most portable electric skateboard in the world.

The board, dubbed to be the most affordable performance electric vehicle available currently, is small in size, but big on performance.

Comparisons of the Arc Board to other electric boards/ Image Credit: Arc Boards EV
Comparisons of the Arc Board to other electric boards/ Image Credit: Arc Boards EV

According to the Arc Board’s website, the product is a mere 56cm at length and weighs in at a relatively diminutive 3.5kg.

It also has a maximum speed of 25km/h, and is controlled by a wireless handheld remote control that has a Bluetooth connectivity of 2.4GHz.

Meet The Hipster, Hacker And Hustler

Arc Board's creators/ Image credit: Wei De Toh's Facebook
Arc Board’s creators/ Image credit: Wei De Toh’s Facebook

The Arc Board is created by a team of three, who call themselves The Hipster, The Hacker and The Hustler.

Ho Hung Yi (the Hipster), the designer, sets the design intent of the Arc Board and steers not only the look and feel of the board, but its usability as well. He’s also the main test rider and has fallen off the board the most. Ouch!

Wei De Toh (The Hacker), the engineer, provides input on design practicality and has experience in mass production and assembly processes. He’s also the problem-solver in the team.

Yong Sheng Tan (The Hustler), the business expert, helps to give guidance on how the team should work and operate. He also provides a consumer-centric perspective on how the Arc Board should be as a product.

The group, who started working on the board two years ago, kept their full times jobs, but worked on their project during weeknights and weekends.

Building Something They Could Use

When asked why they decided to create the board, Hung Yi explains that they wanted to create a practical, portable automated last mile vehicle that they themselves could use –  one that they could quickly grab out of the house and takes them to the nearest bus stop or train station and back, he explains.

The Arc Board/ Image credit: Arc Boards
The Arc Board/ Image credit: Arc Boards

“Initially we explored options like scooters and bicycles, but they were all heavy and cumbersome because of the extra materials required to build frames and handlebars. Eventually we settled on the skateboard form because from the way we perceived it, the potential for it was literally ‘Batteries on Wheels’,” says Hung Yi.

Not A Totally Smooth Ride

There were many mechanical challenges the team faced when creating the Arc Board.

First of all, they had to be extremely creative in laying out the electronics of the board, as the space available was limited.

“We had to balance a good sized battery for range with a well rated motor for speed and torque. We tested over 30 battery and motor permutations, before finally settling on what we thought was the ideal configuration and able to be competitive with competition,” discloses Hung Yi.

In addition, they had to make sure the design of the Arc Board was robust enough to be used on a daily basis. Their initial prototypes were very fragile and often broke after 1 or 2 rides, so they had to identify weak spots in the design and engineering and address them immediately.

Unexpected Response To The Board

Local responses towards the homemade skateboard have been exceptional.

The team initially launched the pre-production Arc Boards in April, thinking they would get around five orders but were instead met with even more requests, and ended up selling 25 of them instead.

“When we launched our Kickstarter campaign, we were hoping to get 50 local pledges for the board. But, we sold out within the first 10 days, and had to scramble to open up another batch of 50 boards for Singapore,” says Hung Yi.

The Arc Board has so far received 165 backers, and over $110,000 worth of money pledged since their launch, succeeding in its goal of achieving $100,000.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-12-00-55-pm
Screenshot taken as of 2:15pm, 5 October

They currently have a limited international distribution plan, as it takes quite a bit of work to get certification for every country they plan on shipping to.

By referencing previous Kickstarter projects, they realised that certification was often the main cause of shipment obstruction and delays. Hence, the trio decided to open their shipment to limited regions – namely, the United States and Europe.

“We were always aware that spreading the word about the Arc Board internationally will be challenging, since we firmly believe the best way to experience the Arc Board is to give it a test ride. So, we were quite happy with the reception of the Arc Board from our international Kickstarter backers,” Hung Yi tells us.

“We have also received quite a number of requests for distribution into countries like Malaysia, China, Australia, Korea and South Africa too!” he adds.

Nothing Without Local Support

One thing the team behind Arc Boards wants Singaporeans to know is that they could have never gotten to where they are with the board without the support of the local community.

A customer with a customised Arc Board/ Image credit: Arc Boards
A customer with a customised Arc Board/ Image credit: Arc Boards

In the last seven months since their soft-launch, they’ve met with hundreds of Singaporeans who reached out to give the Arc Board a test ride, reveals Hung Yi.

Furthermore, when they are out testing their prototypes, they also received thumbs up and smiles when they zipped past people, with their faces lighting up when they found out that the board was locally-made.

“There is a sort of Singaporean pride that comes through, and we’re really appreciative of that.”

Singapore is proud of you all too, Arc Board team!

Feature image credit: Ho Hung Yi’s Facebook

 

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