Moving well beyond rolling out basic maple decks with motors bolted awkwardly on, electric skateboard makers have really taken some major strides in ground-up design and engineering. Companies like Acton and Revoll have incorporated everything from carbon fiber, to four-wheel-drive systems, to smarter, more performance-forward constructions. Carvon uses those elements and more in attempting to raise the bar with its new lineup of add-on motors and on- and off-road electric boards.
California-based Carvon isn't a new player in the electric skateboard market, having close to five years of experience with both aftermarket electric drives and full electric boards and transporters. It's now launching its latest generation of electric drives and high-performance e-boards on Kickstarter.
Carvon's older add-on electric kits rely on hub motors, but its new V3 Dual Direct Drive pulls the motor out of the hub and slides it next to the wheel. The V3 has a pair of motors on a single truck, powering both wheels independently. The company explains that the new motor layout eliminates the need to thin out the wheels to accommodate an inset motor, allowing for thicker urethane wheels that smoothen out the ride and cut stress on the motors.
Carvon's new X Motor features an entirely different configuration: a single motor driving the two wheels of a single truck with a dual belt system. The gearing and one-way bearings allow the wheels to rotate faster than the motor output, ensuring that the outside wheel can spin faster than the inside wheel during turns and carves.
The V3 dual motor drive is available for purchase on its own, but Carvon has also developed a 39.5-in (100-cm) deck, which can be equipped in 2WD layout with the V3 or in 4WD configuration with both the V3 and X drives. The deck features carbon fiber layers to add rigidity around the electronic hardware, preventing any connection breaks or damage. The arched "drop down" shape is meant to position the rider close to the ground for better feel and performance.
Jumping right to the flagship, the Revo 4WD uses the V3 dual motors up front and the X drive in back for a total output of 3,000 watts. Carvon promises that the 4WD set-up offers a combination of smooth start-up acceleration and capable hill climbing. The faster V3 set-up takes over at higher speeds, allowing the board to operate in 2WD as the rear wheels spin faster than the X motor.
Based on Carvon's estimates, the 4WD system does its job in providing well-rounded performance. The 35 mph (56 km/h) top speed estimate jumps off the page as well faster than the average electric skateboard, and the Revo can also climb grades of 25 percent and travel up to 20 miles (32 km) per charge.
As an added bonus, the Revo 4WD wears removable wheels, which can be rotated or swapped. The board comes with both 97-mm urethane wheels and 7-in pneumatic tired wheels for a combination of on and off-road riding. Weight is estimated around 22 lb (10 kg).
The simpler, less expensive Evo board uses the same deck but relies solely on the 2,000-watt V3 dual motors. It is available in street configuration with 90-mm rotatable wheels and has an estimated top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h), hill climbing capability of 15 percent, and up to 14 miles (22.5 km) of range. Estimated weight: 16.5 lb (7.5 kg).
Instead of the basic handheld controller, Carvon has developed a wearable controller that straps to the back of the hand and operates with a simple thumb operation. The purpose of the design is to allow riders to wear slide pucks – protective palm armor for throwing a hand down onto pavement during a slide (this 9-sec YouTube video gives you the idea of slide pucks). Carvon also offers a traditional handheld controller for those who prefer.
Carvon's Kickstarter campaign has climbed halfway to its $49,000 goal, which means that cheaper pledge/reward options like the $999 Evo and $1,499 Revo 4WD have all been reserved. The $499 V3 motors are still available, as are the $1,099 Evo and $1,599 Revo 4WD. If all goes according to plan, V3 shipments will start in May, Evo shipments in July and Revo 4WD shipments in October. Retail prices are estimated at $599 for the V3 motor kit, $1,499 for the Evo and $1,999 for the Revo 4WD.