In a sea of pedestrians, skateboarders and cyclists on the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s campus, Sean Meyers stood out like a sore thumb as he zoomed in and out of the crowded sidewalks on a remote controlled, electric skateboard.
Meyers began longboarding at UNCW because it was a convenient way for him to get to class on time. Though he loved the cycling culture of the UNCW community, he became infatuated with the idea of the electric skateboard.
He is now the owner of a local start-up company called Erev that manufactures and sells electronic skateboards.
After Meyers received the first skateboard prototype, the wheels in his head began to spin. He soon designed boards that could handle uneven surfaces and tackle off-road terrain.
"I love the off-road boards, especially in downtown Wilmington with uneven pavement," Meyers said. "Some of the boards we have are perfect for the historic districts."
The Erev skateboard still turns and carves like a regular skateboard, but the speed is controlled by a wireless, pocket-sized handheld controller. The skateboard also has braking capabilities, providing quick deceleration on hills and in traffic.
"There is definitely some torque involved," Meyer said, adding that the skateboard should be used with safety gear.
The speed of the skateboard can be adjusted by three levels. Beginners can start with slower speeds and work their way up as they become more comfortable, Meyers said.
Although the idea of Erev was designed for a campus and coastal lifestyle, the product has attracted buyers of all demographics. Meyers said that a plant manager in Leland uses an Erev board to move efficiently around the facility.
The young company is attempting to brand itself as an eco-friendly mode of transportation. From the deck to the packaging, Meyers said that every aspect of Erev will be as green as possible.
"It is definitely a green way of transportation and that was always the idea when I originally started," Meyers said.
Meyers graduated from UNCW in December 2010 with a degree in history. With little to no experience in engineering or business, he has learned the business from the ground up.
Because the company is still in its infancy, changes are being made to the mechanical design of the skateboard. Recently, Erev switched from a chain drive to a belt drive to reduce noise. It also uses a lithium ion battery that allows the board to travel greater distances.
Erev skateboards are currently an imported product, something that Meyers hopes to change soon. The company also hopes to offer more customizing in the future and to manufacture the boards and their parts in America.
"We will be manufacturing parts for the custom boards in America within the next few months and within the year we hope to be fully Americanized," he said.
As for other future developments, Meyers said he is in the market to patent several new ideas.
"I haven’t even touched where I want to take it," he said.