Arc Board EV- Origin Story
Back in 2014, two young men, Hung Yi and Yong Sheng were in a coffee shop brainstorming for any possible business venture they could work on. Hung Yi was tired of his hectic corporate job and was yearning for something more. This was around the time Boosted boards was making a huge buzz in the States, so these two young men thought it would be a great idea to bring electric skateboarding over to Singapore.
Circa 2014, was kind of the stone age of electric skateboard. At that time, small-size electric skateboards hadn’t got a lot of love yet. (That was even before Bolt, Indiegogo, and Leafboard had been featured on Kickstarter.)
So Hung and Yong make the business decision to build something smaller – an electric penny board and started building a few prototype which they named Arc Board, by sourcing the parts from the DIY community.
“We had a lot of fun with the board that we built. But it was funny that when we started out, the board will not last the test-drive. Every time we finished a field test, the board will need some fixing or repair.”
That was the time where Hung Yi (an industrial designer), and Yong Sheng (experienced in business administration) decided that they would need some help to piece the board together.
That was when the last of the trio, Wei De (a mechanical engineer) a friend of Yong Sheng was brought on board.
With Wei De’s expertise adding to the mix, the prototype’s quality went up significantly.
At the same time, field tests were garnering the attention of many locals.
They were intrigued by the concept and were impressed enough by the Arc Board to express interest in buying the product, even in its early stages of design.
With the product idea validated and pre-orders taken, the trio made their first batch of ten prototypes. Then, following the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust cycle, they collected the feedback from customers and further refined the Arc Board in their following batch. They then repeated the cycle for the next batch and the next batch.
Kickstarter Rise – The Arc Board
On 30th August 2016, Kickstarter announced that they were expanding to Singapore and Hong Kong.
“We have considered Kickstarter from the get-go but it was not available to us at that time.
We were ready to graduate from producing small batches when the Kickstarter announced their launch in Singapore.
It was a perfect timing.”
Arc Board launched their Kickstarter campaign on 5th September 2016, and sure enough, they were successful in meeting fundraising goals.
It was then that they graduated from printing parts with a 3D printer, to actually getting the parts manufactured.
“It was the first time any of us did anything like this.
However, we had been making Arc Board for a while by then so we were able to forecast a somewhat reliable timeline – and then we just added 3 months to it as a buffer, just in case some mistakes happened.”
And sure enough, mistakes did happen during the production process. For example, VESCs weren’t manufactured according to the correct specifications and hence couldn’t be fit into the ESC cases, and some parts were found to be faulty during the post-assembly test and needing extra time for exchange and reassembly.
In the end, the team did it, successfully delivering Arc Board to their customers at the promised time.
It was a rare feat that few Eskate crowd funding campaigns have been able to achieve. (Don’t believe me? Just refer to my Audit of 2017 crowdfunding campaigns.)
A few short words on Arc Board:
I unashamedly call it the Arc Penny and I don’t care if the Arc team approve.
“Most of the Arc Board buyers use it as a commuting tool. It can be fit into the backpack and you can always just grab it and go.”
“It was to the point that, when we tried to arrange a group ride for Arc Boarders in Singapore, people are just not interested…it is just a commuting tool for them.”
To introduce Arc Penny, I would say it is simply the best premium electric penny board out there.
It is small, incredibly light, and charges surprisingly fast.
Belt motor is ideal to provide enough torque and power without sacrificing on weight.
With that, Arc Penny goes as fast as most people dare to go on a penny board (16mph/25kmh).
I tried an Arc Penny and I have to say that this board is not for everyone.
You have to achieve some level of skateboarding proficiency before you can balance on a penny board comfortably.
The fact that it has such a small wheelbase means you will be directly standing on the truck and will be feeling every bit of vibration from the road.
That plus the fact that it is rocking 70mm wheels means you will be limiting yourself to well-paved roads or on the sidewalks.
On the plus side, with the help of the programmable VESC, the acceleration and deceleration of Arc Penny are as smooth as can be.
I also can’t emphasize enough how light this board is. At 7.7lbs(3.5kg), it is lighter than my old laptop!
All in all, Arc Board, as conceptualized, is perfect as a commuting tool for a modern city like Singapore, where you can ride on a well-maintained sidewalk from point A to point B;
while keeping under a government regulated speed of 9mph/ 15kmh (on sidewalks);
and store it in your backpack when you’ve reached your destination (you’ll need a big bag though).
2nd Kickstarter – The Arc Aileron
“You guys are aiming to make something light and portable, why don’t you check out a company in US call 121c? They make awesome carbon fiber deck.” -Anonymous to Arc Team
Based on a hot tip, team Arc Board contacted the 121C team and the Arc Aileron was born.
On March 2017, the team again turned to Kickstarter campaign to bring Arc Aileron alive.
And with their reputation and track record, amassed 3 times their pledged goal.
Even more surprisingly, they delivered on time, again.
A few words on Arc Aileron:
The Arc Aileron is a premium, belt motor, super-lightweight, speedy electric shorter-board.
My first impression when riding the Arc Aileron was how agile and responsive it was.
The lightness of the board, the well-tuned acceleration & deceleration, and the small 70mm wheels all contributed to a very agile and responsive ride, making carving on the Arc Aileron exceptionally enjoyable.
The only downside would be that the 70mm wheels don’t help to ease out bad roads and didn’t allow rolling over bumps confidently.
The Arc team set out to make a lightweight and portable board by choosing the 121C deck, and they have definitely achieved that vision with Arc Aileron.
In fact, the lightness of the board is what strikes me the most when I handled the Arc Aileron for the first time.
The board is 9.5lbs/ 4.3kg!
When carrying the board around by the front truck, I can barely feel the weight!
My experience riding on the Arc Aileron along the beautiful smooth trail of the scenic Marina Bay Park is one of my all-time most enjoyable Eskate experiences.
With the new surge of shorter electric skateboards arriving on the scene, Arc Aileron still holds the title of the lightest electric short-board by a good margin.
However, with the likes of the Riptide, Pulse Echo, and Predator Banshee encroaching on the short-board niche, the Arc Aileron might only be the best choice for a very selected group. (Singaporean, someone looking for a portable lightweight shortboard and prefers small wheels.)
State of the Arc team
Today, the Arc team still consists of the original trio, who personally assembles every single Arc board with care.
The team is still using the same working space that their manufacturer lent them, where they perform all storage, assembly and repairs.
Most of the Arc boards were sold to locals, but for international sales, America makes up the largest share.
[At around $80 for international shipping with FedEx, a very good deal if you ask me.]
The team is also doing a lot of custom builds for local skaters, and have gained a lot of experience, giving them plenty of ideas on the way to bring Arc to the next level.
Despite their success, Team Arc is still very true to their small-team spirits.
Their insistence to assemble boards themselves and not outsourcing the works to China is one of the ways that they ensure the quality of their boards.
With more and more electric skateboard crowding the short-board niche, the Arc team will have to continue to innovate or be left behind. Sure enough, the Arc team recently just teased of a new board – the Arc Finix.
The details and specifications of Arc Finix are still unknown to the world, but I will certainly let you guys know once I get to test it =).
But with the current state of the Arc, I can safely say that:
The Arc Penny is still undisputedly the best premium penny electric skateboard out there; and the
Arc Aileron is one of the best quality electric short-boards on the market.
This is why we rank Arc Board EV as one of the most reliable electric skateboard companies in the industry.