Bikes > Alternative

Would you ride through traffic on a pair of electric skis?

The French have come up with the Skwheel One

You won't need snow to ride this electric ski. IMAGE FROM SKWHEEL

You’ve seen e-bikes, e-trikes, and e-scooters, but we bet you’ve never laid eyes on a pair of electric skis. Called the Skwheel One, this contraption wants to change the way we move around by faithfully imitating the sensation of skiing. Could this be a valid alternative to traveling around by car or bike?

The Skwheel One is a crowdfunded idea that currently lives on Indiegogo where you can buy one by pledging at least $1,849 (P104,000) toward the project. In return, you’ll get two electric skis that you strap yourself onto with bindings similar to those found on snowboards.

Once set, you can whiz around town at up to 25km/h—because doing so at the unrestricted top speed of 80km/h, quite frankly, sounds like a pretty scary proposition.

An electric ski looks like a fun and efficient ride to get around the city. PHOTOS FROM SKWHEEL

A charge of the removable 300Wh batteries is enough for around 30km of skiing (at 25km/h), and the power packs can be recharged in around three hours, making this a potential way to commute to work and back.

All of the wheels are powered, making this a de facto four-wheel-drive product, with each motor having a juicy 600W of power. The whole setup weighs just 12.5kg thanks to ample use of carbon fiber, and it comes with a handle that lets you carry the units around like a suitcase.

Where would you go with a pair of electric skis? PHOTOS FROM SKWHEEL

What apparently makes the Skwheel so different to similar inventions is the pivot mechanism that allows the front wheels to swivel, which in turn promises to make you feel like you’re actually skiing.

It also comes with front and rear lights for visibility and safety, as well as mechanical and electronic brakes to stop you from bumping into things. The handle used to carry them doubles as a controller; the tires are air-filled; and the whole thing is IP64-rated to protect it from dust and water.

The inventors claim it’s made for all-terrain riding, which means it should fare pretty well in the urban jungle of Metro Manila. Is anyone brave enough to buy one and try it out?

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.