Connect with us



The future has officially arrived, and its in the form of all-electric skates designed by Escend out of the UK. These aren’t roller skates with fireworks attached to them like the early pioneers of MTV’s Jackass, nor are they the regular old inlines we donned during our first couple’s skate in the 90s. Instead, the Escend Blades Alpha have successfully combined the joy of inline skating with the unmatched, effortless velocity that comes with electric motors. I kicked, pushed, and wobbled my way through two different variations of these electric skates for you, so be sure to check out my video below to get my thoughts.

Table of contents

Escend Blades is born

First things first. What is a futuristic microbility product without its makers? You probably haven’t heard of Escend Blades yet, but I doubt you’ll forget their name after you watch me zoom back and forth across your screen on electric skates below.

Believe it or not, Escend’s journey toward creating the first electric motorized skates I’ve ever seen started as recently as October 2020. Cofounders Anton and Rashid met while working for Arrival – another electric mobility company in the UK often covered here on Electrek.

Each founder realized they were not alone in their respective love for skating and quest to deliver an all-electric version to the masses. When they discovered they both were working on their own prototypes separately, the duo then combined forces, quit their day jobs, and began development of the nascent Escend Blades Alphas you see before you.

A year later is when yours truly came in. The Escend team reached out to me and explained they were developing an electric skate prototype and asked if I’d be interested in being one of the first people on Earth to try them out. Naturally, I said no.

Kidding! Aside from being flattered, I was thoroughly excited to try something in micromobility the world had not seen before. We held video calls where I got to see the prototypes, and the cofounders even gave me a demonstration outside their office.

Flash forward to fall 2022. After months of conversations, certification delays, and a hefty wait through customs, the Escend Alphas were on my doorstep. Finally, I could charge ’em up, roll ’em out, and try not to break my wrists while I share my experience with you all. Aside from one minor hole in my jeans, I found great success in these electric skates, which you can learn about below. But first, check out some images and a few of the pertinent specs.

  • electric skates
  • electric skates

Check out the Alpha electric skates

I explain most of the good and bad with the Escend Blades in my video review, but I still want to point out some of the thoughts I didn’t have room for on YouTube and share some of the performance specs in greater detail.

As you can probably tell from the images above, the Escend Blades Alpha electric skates get their power from the two-wheeled skates themselves. Each “blade” is powered by a 5.2Ah battery pack in its center, housing lithium-ion cells. Each pack powers its respective 400-watt hub motor, powering the rear wheel. The rear also houses brakes, which certainly came in handy during my experience.

What’s cool about Escend’s electric skates is their modularity in that you can choose from two different boot styles to suit your preference/usage (i.e. to share or not to share). The Metro Boots resemble ski shoes and are ordered to your specific shoe size, hence harder to share.

The Doop Boots, however, are more like snowboard bindings, in which you keep your shoes on, step in, and strap up. This option serves a multitude of different feet sizes and offers more opportunity for others to impersonate a newborn giraffe along with you. Escend was awesome enough to send me both options to test out for you, and I definitely have a preference after trying both. More on that below. First, however, you gotta see some of the specs these electric skates offer:

  • Motor Power: 800w (2x400w)
  • Battery: 2 x 5.2Ah lithium-ion packs
  • Frame: Aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Tires: 105mm diameter custom-made silicon rubber. Shock-absorbing, wear-resistant on and off-road tires that can be ridden for a minimum of 1000 km (621 mi) before requiring replacement.
  • Remote: Wireless with tactile vibration and predictive alerts
  • Top Speed: 25 km/h (15.5 mph)
  • Three speed modes:
    • Eco: 0-10 km/h (0-6.2 mph)
    • Commute: 10-18 km/h (6.2-11.2 mph)
    • Turbo: 18-25 km/h (11.2-15.5 mph)
    • There is also a reverse feature capable in all three speed modes
  • Range: 15 km (9.3 miles) on a single charge
  • Charge times:
    • Remote: 30 mins
    • Skates: 20-80% in 1.25 hours, 20-100% in 2 hours
  • Other features: Regenerative braking, throttle control for acceleration and braking, IP66 certified waterproof, replaceable battery packs.
  • Fun Fact: The Escend Blades Alpha electric skates adhere to FAA guidelines and can be taken abroad.
electric skates
The unboxing haul

How to buy and the full video review

Are you sold already? Without even watching my video yet? Damn, I’m good. Hold that thought, though, because we need to talk prices real quick. The Escend Blade Alpha electric skates are currently on sale via the Escend website, starting at a price of $799 for the blade platforms only.

The set with the Metro Boots costs $869, while the Doop Boots package costs $919. Don’t worry, though – Scoot’s got ya. Use promo code SCOOTERSKATES for… 3% off (sorry).

You may not be all-in on electric skates yet, and I totally understand. Regardless, you’ve gotta see these things in action. Please check out my video review below, and let me know what you think about the Escend Blades. Are these the future?

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Continue Reading


Tesla Cybertruck body spotted ahead of production start




Tesla Cybertruck body spotted ahead of production start

A Tesla Cybertruck body has been spotted being worked on ahead of the electric pickup truck’s upcoming start of production in Texas.

There are about 1.5 million people interested in the Tesla Cybertruck and they have starved of information for a while.

An update on the production version with final specs and pricing has been expected for the past year, but the automaker has decided to stay quiet about the electric truck, which already had some delays.

When Tesla unveiled the Cybertruck back in 2019, Tesla said that the electric pickup truck would make it to market by the end of 2021. As the deadline was approaching, the automaker confirmed that production slipped to 2022.

CEO Elon Musk later said that Tesla was targeting a start of production for the electric pickup truck in “late 2022” at Gigafactory Texas. With the focus clearly on bringing the Model Y to production at the factory, and that being delayed as well, it appeared likely that the Cybertruck production timeline could also slip.

In March 2022, it was confirmed that Tesla aims to complete Cybertruck development this year for production in 2023, and in June, Musk said that Tesla is aiming for production to start in mid-2023.

In its communications, Tesla has stuck to a mid-2023 timeline over the last few months, and it is starting to become more real than just words with actual production equipment specific to Cybertruck coming to Gigafactory Texas.

Now the image of what appears to be a Tesla Cybertruck body has leaked through the Youtube channel Kim Java without much more information than the image itself:

The image appears to reveal the body of the Cybertruck that we have seen arrived at Gigafactory Texas two months ago.

It shows large casting parts in the back of the truck. It’s hard to tell how many parts make up the entire back of the body since it appears to be partially coated.

The automaker appears to be using both aluminum casted parts and steel for parts of the frame.

Tesla originally talked about the Cybertruck being equipped with an exoskeleton:

Although some dispute Tesla’s use of the word “exoskeleton” since it’s not clear that parts of the external body are structural.

Here’s how Tesla describes it on its website:

Cybertruck is built with an exterior shell made for ultimate durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass.

The picture of the body also doesn’t make any external structural parts clear.

Any body-in-white expert out there who wants to share their opinion on the Cybertruck body picture? Let us know in the comment section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Continue Reading


Democratic lawmakers accuse big oil companies of ‘greenwashing’




Democratic lawmakers accuse big oil companies of 'greenwashing'

Gas prices are displayed at an Exxon gas station on July 29, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Exxon and Chevron posted record high earnings during the second quarter of 2022 as energy stocks have faltered in recent months.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

A pair of Democratic lawmakers on Friday accused the largest oil companies in the United States of “greenwashing” their public image and not doing enough to decarbonize fast enough to meet climate change targets.

Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives’ main investigative committee, the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Ro Khanna, a member of the same committee and the chair of the Oversight Environmental Subcommittee, sent a 31-page letter on Friday to the rest of the members of the committee with the latest findings from their ongoing investigation into the fossil fuel industry.

Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and causes global warming. The Oversight Committee began its investigation into what it calls a “climate disinformation” campaign in Sept. 2021 and held a hearing with top executives from oil and gas giants on Oct. 28 of that year.

The letter is the latest installment in the committee’s bid to demonstrate that oil companies are not trying to reduce their CO2 emissions quickly enough, while obscuring their lack of participation.

“These documents demonstrate how the fossil fuel industry ‘greenwashed’ its public image with promises and actions that oil and gas executives knew would not meaningfully reduce emissions, even as the industry moved aggressively to lock in continued fossil fuel production for decades to come — actions that could doom global efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change,” the letter reads.

These efforts are particularly offensive, Maloney and Khanna said, because of the amount of money the biggest oil companies are making right now.

“The fossil fuel industry’s failure to make meaningful investments in a long-term transition to cleaner energy is particularly outrageous in light of the enormous profits these companies are raking in at the expense of consumers — including nearly $100 billion in combined profits for Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and BP in just the last two quarters,” the letter reads.

The letter also details ways in which the oil companies have made insufficient efforts to decarbonize their businesses, and points to internal documents that show how the companies are continuing to invest in fossil fuel production and increase output.

“Each of the companies has publicly pledged to reach ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” the letter reads. “However, experts have found that not one of the net zero pledges from BP, Shell, Exxon, or Chevron are aligned with the pace and scope of cuts necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and avert catastrophic climate change.”

The letter also points to documents that show how the industry is pushing natural gas as a long-term climate solution.

“In 2021, natural gas contributed to 34% of U.S. energy-related emissions and 22% of emissions globally,” the letter reads. “Documents obtained by the Committee show fossil fuel companies and lobbying groups seek to publicly position natural gas as a clean source of energy and part of the transition to renewables, even as the industry is privately planning for expanded natural gas production over the long term.” 

Burning natural gas results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal or other kinds of fossil fuels for the same amount of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but it still releases greenhouse gas emissions. Burning natural gas produces about 117 pounds of carbon dioxide per million British thermal units (a measure of heat). That’s compared with 200 pounds for coal and 160 pounds for fuel oil.

Equally critically, the production of natural gas results in leaks of methane all throughout the production process and methane is a greenhouse gas, too. It’s a different greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but still contributes to global warming.

Oil companies stand firm and deny allegations

The oil companies targeted in this investigation categorically deny the allegations made by the House Committee.

“The Committee’s fourteen month investigation, which included several hours of executive testimony and nearly a half-million pages of documents, failed on all fronts to uncover evidence of a climate disinformation campaign,” Curtis Smith, the media lead for Shell North America, told CNBC. “In fact, the handful of subpoenaed documents the Committee chose to highlight from Shell are evidence of the company’s extensive efforts to set aggressive targets, transform its portfolio and meaningfully participate in the ongoing energy transition.”

Exxon claims the House Committee lawmakers have been disingenuous in their representation of the oil company’s engagement.

“Our CEO has testified under oath on this subject during two all-day Congressional hearings before two separate committees, we’ve been in regular communication with the committee for over a year, and have provided staff with more than one million pages of documents, including board materials and internal communications,” Todd Spitler, corporate media relations senior advisor for Exxon, told CNBC.

“The House Oversight Committee report has sought to misrepresent ExxonMobil’s position on climate science, and its support for effective policy solutions, by recasting well intended, internal policy debates as an attempted company disinformation campaign. If specific members of the committee are so certain they’re right, why did they have to take so many things out of context to prove their point?”

The industry trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, says it is focused on both providing secure sources of energy and addressing climate change at the same time.

“Our industry is focused on continuing to produce affordable, reliable energy while tackling the climate challenge, and any allegations to the contrary are false.  The U.S. natural gas and oil industry has contributed to the significant progress the U.S. has made in reducing America’s CO2 emissions to near generational lows with the increased use of natural gas,” Megan Bloomgren, senior vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, told CNBC.

The API also pointed to the industry’s focus on developing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen technologies.

“We are poised to be a leader in the next generation of low carbon technologies, including CCUS and Hydrogen — technologies widely recognized to be critical to meet the world’s emissions reduction targets.  API will continue to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle for policies that support industry innovation and further the progress we’ve made on emissions reductions,” Bloomgren said.

Chevron declined to comment. In June, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth wrote an open letter to President Joe Biden saying that the oil company had produced the highest volume of oil and gas in its 143-year history in 2021. And Wirth pointed out that carbon emissions associated with segments of its oil and gas production was lower than global averages.

“At roughly 15 kg of CO2-equivalent per barrel, Chevron’s Permian Basin carbon intensity is some two-thirds lower than the global industry average. U.S. Gulf of Mexico production has carbon intensity just a fraction of the global industry average,” Wirth wrote. In the letter Wirth also said the oil company was investing $10 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scale carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, and grow its renewable liquid fuels production. 

BP did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

How Exxon Mobil plans to meet the energy transition: Extended Interview with CEO Darren Woods

Continue Reading


GM’s Ultium battery plant votes overwhelmingly to unionize with UAW




GM's Ultium battery plant votes overwhelmingly to unionize with UAW

GM’s first Ultium battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio has voted to join the United Auto Workers, with 98% of workers voting in favor of union representation.

Ultium is GM’s battery joint venture with LG Energy. GM will establish at least four factories in the US to build the batteries for their upcoming EVs. Just today, GM announced an additional $275 million investment in the second plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The Lordstown/Warren plant in Ohio is already up and running, though, and producing batteries for GM’s current and upcoming EVs. The Hummer EV already uses Ultium batteries, and the Ultium-powered Equinox, Blazer, Silverado and Cadillac Lyriq are all expected in the next year. GM’s other current EV, the Chevy Bolt – which we just named Electrek’s EV of the year – does not use Ultium cells as it came out before Ultium was developed.

While US companies have largely relied on foreign-supplied batteries until now, the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act included measures to encourage onshoring of US EV production, which has led several companies to announce battery factories in the US. An early draft of the bill included an additional tax credit for union-built EVs, but that credit didn’t make it to the final bill.

Labor has been experiencing somewhat of a renaissance in the US in the past year or two, as COVID-related supply disruptions and general levels of discontent among the populace have led workers to demand better treatment from employers. Several industries have seen surges in unionization efforts, which have also been aided by pro-union comments from President Joe Biden.

But US battery production has heretofore mainly been non-unionized, as the largest US battery producer, Tesla, does not have a union either for battery manufacturing or for auto production. There have been a few spurts of unionization efforts at Tesla’s plants, though they met retaliation from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and were not successful.

So today’s union vote at GM’s first battery plant was closely watched, as it could set the tone not only for GM’s electrification efforts, but labor in the US battery supply industry as a whole. A positive vote was expected, though perhaps not as near-unanimous as today’s 98% result.

UAW is eyeing battery factories as the industry transitions to electric vehicles, which have fewer parts and take less labor to build than traditional gas vehicles. This would lead to fewer workers required to build cars, though targeting battery workers could help buoy union membership.

The UAW released a short statement about the vote, stating:

Our entire union welcomes our latest members from Ultium. As the auto industry transitions to electric vehicles, new workers entering the auto sector at plants like Ultium are thinking about their value and worth. This vote shows that they want to be a part of maintaining the high standards and wages that UAW members have built in the auto industry.

Ray Curry, UAW President

One potential sticking point in today’s union deal relates to pay. Previously, GM has held the position that battery suppliers should command similar pay to other auto supply factories, around $20/hr, which is what Ultium hourly workers currently make. But mainline auto workers can be paid closer to $30/hour, and battery workers may argue that due to how integral the battery is to an EV, that they should be paid closer to final assembly line workers.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Continue Reading