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Building the world's most portable electric vehicle: The ARC Board

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Meet the three Singaporean creators behind the Kickstarter-funded project.

Think of a penny board with a motor. That's right, the ARC Board, which recently received 118 per cent backing on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, is the world's most portable electric vehicle.

Measuring just 22 inches in length, its size resembles the small and energetic dream-team behind the project. Youth.SG recently met up with the Singaporean trio to try out the prototype and find out how they brought the ARC Board to life.

"What you need is a hipster, a hacker and a hustler. The hipster (Hung Yi, 31) is gonna design the product. The hacker (Wei De, 30), actually builds the product – if not it's just a dream. Then there's me, the hustler, who makes it a business – because if you're not making any money, all your efforts are in vain," explained Yong Sheng, 29, referencing the ideas of Rei Inamoto.

yong sheng WTP
YONG SHENG AT THE WE THE PEOPLE STORE, WHICH PROVIDES A CREDIBLE
SPACE FOR PEOPLE TO TRY OUT KICKSTARTER PRODUCTS IN PERSON.

The ARC Board was created as a solution to the last mile problem, the distance that needs to be covered between a public transportation terminal and one's final destination, which Hung Yi first tried to address in his final year project in the National University of Singapore five years ago.

Not succeeding at his overly-ambitious self-driving electric car endeavour at the time, Hung Yi channeled his energy into creating an extremely durable and portable electric vehicle – one even complete beginners without proper balance can grow to love.

arc board
THE ARC BOARD EVEN WEATHERS THE RAIN.

This prototype was completely sturdy and rode smoothly even for someone like me who had no prior experience skateboarding. Thinking back to how far the prototypes have come, Hung Yi (the spirited "hipster") shared about the most important thing *literally* holding the earlier versions of the ARC Board together – duct tape.

He said: "If anything didn't fit onto the board, we would just duct tape it on and figure out how to mount everything on later. So [the amount of duct tape removed from the board] was the key measure to decide if the ARC Board was ready for the world."

timeline

A VISUAL LOOK AT HOW THE ARC BOARD
HAS PROGRESSED SINCE JANUARY LAST YEAR.
PHOTO CREDIT: ARC BOARDS

You would think having just three members in a team would be simple enough to manage. However, that was not the case.

"There are many arguments. The designer wants it to be perfect, the engineer just wants it to work, and I want it to be well-received in the market," Yong Sheng explained animatedly, earning laughs from the entire team.

Despite the disagreements and the stresses from balancing their full-time day jobs, they managed to make the final product…after creating over 25 prototypes and using between 60 to 80 rolls of duct tape.

Hung Yi mentioned how the team pulled together: "We all have the same intention; we want whatever product that we build to be the best product that we can push out to our customers. So that would be the thing that keeps us grounded as we resolve our conflicts."

assembled in Singapore
WORKING WITH LOCAL COMPONENTS MANUFACTURER, REI PROMAX, THE ARC 
BOARD TEAM WILL BE MANUALLY PIECING TOGETHER EACH BOARD.
PHOTO CREDIT: ARC BOARDS

The ARC Board has seen its fair share of overhauls and the team promises that the final product, which will start to make its way to backers this December, will be worth the wait.

The articulate "hustler" mentioned with a cheeky grin: "The pre-production board is like a Toyota. It's pretty reliable. And then you get a Porsche, the final version. It's so smooth, it brings it to another level."