Cobus tinkers his way out

of traffic hell

KAREN PRETORIUS

The everyday commute to and from work can be a drag – with traffic gridlock and the price of petrol sending motorists into a flat spin.

Not so for Summer Greens resident Jacobus “Cobus” Kai, who takes a leisurely ride to work on a battery-operated skateboard.

Spotted close to Century Gate, Cobus has time for a brief chat as he’s off to work in Paarden Eiland, a 12km ride from home.

Days later, he tells Tabletalk he built his motorised skateboard five months ago.

At the time, his car needed repairs but he did not have the money to fix it. So he started riding to work on the skateboard, and it worked so well he continued.

He works as a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) operator but says he has always loved to “tinker with stuff”.

“I had a radiator motor from a car, and then I used a throttle from an old electric scooter,” he explains.

His ride takes three batteries, and a switch controller – the same one used for automated garage doors.

Some of the components he bought through online classified ads.

He said it took a while to design, but once his plans were sorted, the skateboard was motorised in two days.

It cost about R4 700 to build, much cheaper than fuel or public transport, says Cobus, who sourced DIY tips from the internet.

A British YouTuber explains how he built his electric skateboard, which can run for 10km and reach 19km/* .

According to his tutorial, a store-bought electric skateboard can cost up to 1200 British pounds, or more than R26 000.

Cobus says he’s seen models advertised for between R10 000 and R12 000 online.

The skateboard attracts a lot of attention in traffic, and Cobus is often stopped for a chat. “When I ride past them (motorists), and we get to the robot, then people open their windows to talk to me,” he said.

“It costs less than 60 cents to charge the battery, which will last for 25km”.

Just enough to get to work and back, but at his workplace, he recharges for the trip back home. It reaches a top speed of 60km/* .

This is not his first time remodelling a set of wheels, as he proudly speaks of the “motorised mountain bike with a petrol engine”.

While his mode of transport gets heads turning in traffic, at home in Summer Greens it’s no big deal for his family.

“They know me like that. I always like to tinker with stuff,” he said.