Solving the “last mile problem” with tech + skate culture
by Carl Demolder,
Co-founder, Slithr Electric Vehicles
Two UC students hope urban commuters will take to their 7 pound, 3 horsepower Slithr motor for longboards
I’m an electrical engineering major at UC Santa Cruz, and along with Ganesh Elie, business major at UC Santa Diego, we are the co-founders of Slithr Electric Vehicles. I met Ganesh at a hackathon in San Diego, where we decided to become partners and create a company out of our idea. We wanted to solve the “Last Mile Problem” by providing an economical mode of transportation by combining the technology of Silicon Valley with the skate culture of Santa Cruz.
Patent pending tech
With our patent pending technology, Slithr Electric Vehicles is able to provide urban commuters with customizable lightweight electric vehicles. By using a longboard as our mode of transportation, we are able to develop a vehicle that is lightweight, portable, yet powerful enough to replace inefficient modes of transportation.
Base unit and UI wireless controller options
What makes Slithr Electric Vehicles unique is our adaptable base unit and our variety of user interface controller options. Our base unit can be attached to any longboard deck allowing the user to customize their electric vehicle to match their height, riding ability, and style. Additionally, our base unit can use any longboard wheel, allowing the user to further personalize their electric vehicle.
We not only wanted our product to be a practical method of transportation, but we want tech enthusiast to drool over our hardware. To control the speed and acceleration of their Slithr electric vehicle, users have the option of using a wireless hardware controller, an app on their smartphone, a smart watch, or the Myo Armband. With the wireless hardware controller, users can use a joystick and buttons to perfectly control their riding style. With an app on their smartphone and an app on their smart watch, users can use their electronic devices as a virtual hardware controller. The Myo Armband on the other hand, transmits human gestures such as muscle movements into electronic signals that can be used to accelerate or brake. We are stoked at the opportunity to integrate the Myo Armband into our product as it offers a hands-free controller. We wanted to provide users with the ability to keep track of important real-time data such as their vehicle’s speed, battery life, distance traveled, directions and range through the use of our smartphone app and Google Glasses. We took into account user’s different riding styles and abilities and provided settings through our smartphone app for users to change their vehicle’s speed and acceleration.
Our base unit only weighs 7 pounds making the difference between a Slithr Electric Vehicle and a normal longboard nearly unnoticeable. With nearly a 3 horsepower electric motor, our electric vehicles can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour, climb hills up to a 15% grade, and travel as far as 11 miles on a full charge.
Plans for Kickstarter
Our prototypes started off with 3D printed parts, but they have developed and progressed to where we are now testing and preparing our models for manufacturing. We entered our business into the Entrepreneurship Challenge at UC Santa Cruz, where we gained valuable insight on how to make our business model better. We are continuing with this momentum by applying for accelerators such as YCombinator, Highway 1 or Bolt to get our company off the ground. We plan on gathering low risk funding by launching a Kickstarter campaign, and we are actively looking for Venture Capitalist to back our company.
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