A few short decades ago, I was a typical feckless college kid slicing through campus on a skateboard like an urban Tony Hawk, minus the ramp tricks (or most any tricks). My adult life still lay ahead of me, seemingly stretching to a far, unimaginable horizon of some measure of adult-like maturity and hopefully, some adventure. At the time, I was carless and quite happy to get around on my beloved and well-worn Powell-Peralta wheeled ducktail deck, which I preferred over a bicycle for getting around campus since I could kick-pop it up and carry it with me to class. Bikes were getting stolen all over the place.
Back then, a “powered skateboard” was something we purist skaters chuckled at; it was more the purview of science fiction movies and incurable tinkerers buying suspect kits out of the back of Popular Mechanics magazines. But still, the thought of riding without pushing was…. compelling, even then. As always, time and technology have combined to make the improbable possible, and even perform beyond expectations. So it is with the Hadean Carbon 2-in-1 electric skateboard by Evolve.
Powered by twin 3,000-watt rear-mounted electric motors spinning both carbon belts and motion-smoothing flywheels, the $3,149 Carbon 2-in-1 tops out at a blistering 31 miles an hour on street wheels, which is frighteningly fast for a skateboard unless you’re a seasoned longboard downhiller, which I’m not – at least, not anymore. But back in the day? Gravity and I were the best of friends to be sure. Now, following a rather severe recent beatdown by physics that I’m still recovering from, I turned the Hadean Carbon over to my teenage son and his best buddy, who has put countless hours into riding and definitely has some of those Tony Hawk moves down pat. They put the Carbon 2-in-1 to the test on some wet Portland streets – and on some local forest paths as well.
Really, if I were to dream-design a powered deck, it would probably look something like the Evolve Hadean Carbon, but maybe with a kick tail. Fortunately, actual engineers at Evolve built it instead of me cobbling some deathtrap together in my garage, so the 29-pound Carbon works well and goes like stink. A toughened hand-held remote with a slick LCD status screen controls stops, speeds and features customizable settings including several ride modes, and the board itself is an amalgamation of numerous technologies once only dreamed of, including a nearly 40-inch forged carbon-fiber longboard-style deck with clearances for the oversize 175mm pneumatic off-road wheels at both ends. However, as the 2-in-1 moniker suggests, this is also a mean street sweeper as well, and Evolve included a set of white 97mm street skate wheels that pop on and off simply enough with a single tool.
Power comes from a large 43.2 Volt, 16amp-hour, 691.2Watt-hour power cell custom made for this board. The unit we were riding was pre-production (but very close to actual production) and I was told that some of the fitment points were a bit rough, and Evolve said production-series boards would be seamless but really, I could hardly tell my review pre-pro unit had any flaws at all.
The bottom of the board features programmable multi-color LED light strips that have a high cool factor, and blink red when the board is braking. However, no headlights are present on the Carbon and I’d also like to see some dedicated high-output tail lights on a machine like this, since it has a generous range of 40 miles in street trim, and if it were mine, damn right I’d commute on it. The board we received was all-black for the most part, especially with the off-road tires mounted (which work great on pavement as well) so some punched-up visibility would certainly be welcome. I also recommend a stout skate helmet and maybe a headlamp given the lack of forward LEDs on the board, especially if you’re going to be mixing with traffic.
Otherwise, the Hadean Carbon rides like many other electric skateboards out there, but with much more power and speed. Hills? Evolve claims it can top a 35-degree grade and while we never specifically tested that, it easily propelled both teenage riders up some gentle paved hills and more severe dirt pitches, often to the point of spinning out the rear wheels on the damp dirt trails. No complaints on motive performance from the combined 6,000 watts of electric motor power, that’s for certain! In fact, it became clear that turning the board on muddy trails was often better done by sliding the back end in addition to regular turning maneuvers, and the Carbon sprayed dirt, mud and pine needles at will as it powered up the hills. Great fun!
Back on the street, the pneumatic wheels were a good fit for our rain-soaked test window, and pushing the Carbon through puddles sent up a curtain of spray but didn’t slow down progress. In fact, the rubber wheels enabled some pretty serious lean angles as they gripped tenaciously. The street skate wheels had less purchase of course, but also allowed for some sliding action on tarmac – and the maximum 31mph speed in the flat. The larger rubber wheels topped out at about 25mph, which is still almost supersonic velocity on a skateboard. Still, my son’s childhood friend, now grown and a proficient skater, rates the Carbon very high on the fun scale. “The foot space is really great,” he said after an afternoon of riding on both street and trails.
My beloved skateboard from college hangs in a place of honor in my garage, unridden for years but still a touchstone to a more exciting, perhaps more naive past. You can buy a lot of old-skool skateboards for the cost of an Evolve Hadean Carbon 2-in-1, but exactly none of them would provide their own power, this kind of off-road capability or the helmet-hooting speed this electrified wonder thrills riders with. If those are boxes needing a tick on your modern skateboard list, look no further.