4 Wheel Drives: A Comparison Review – Carvon, Jed, Acton, Walnutt

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Welcome to the web's first comparison review of the current esk8 industry's 4-wheel drive skateboards by the staff at ElectricBoarder.com.

The growing esk8 market has brought much innovation to the next generation of electric skateboards.   2018 marks the year where a number of manufacturers are selling 4 wheel drive boards.  Last year, Carvon, Jed, Acton, and Walnutt announced their new 4 motor boards.   Of the 4 boards, the Acton Qu4tro and Walnutt SPECTRA silver are available now (as of 5/5/18, the release date of this review).   Note that the QU4TRO is available in limited quantity which indicates that Acton only built a small number of boards in their initial batch.   The Carvon EXO 4WD  is sold out, and the Jed Board AWD is expected to ship later this month.

Jed 4 Motor Drives Electric Skateboard

Image from jedboards.com

What are the major differences?

There are a number of notable differences among this group of boards and the only thing in common is that all the boards are powered by 4 brushless motors.   Some key observations below in no particular order of importance:

  • If you don't factor in price, the Carvon board is the best of the breed.  It has more than twice the power as well as battery capacity than all the others.  It can reach up to a top speed of 80 km'/h (50 mph).  Reminder:  Please always wear a helmet at all times.
  • The Walnutt and Acton boards utilize hub motors (the motor is built into the wheel).  The Jed Board utilizes a patented drive using rotating metal gears to allow the motor to be placed outside the wheel providing the ability to swap out the wheel without needing a new motor.  The Carvon board uses wheel adapters which connect the wheel to the motor, thus essentially achieving the same benefit as the Jed Board in providing the flexibility to swap out wheels.
  • The most unique among the four is the Walnutt SPECTRA Silver.  Because of its short wheelbase, it can navigate in more crowded places and thus is more suited for city or campus commutes.  The others are longboards for commuting in less dense areas.   The Walnutt board is also a handsfree board and utilizes their patented posture control for accelerating or braking.  
  • Each of the boards are of a different material as shown in the comparison table:

Carvon EXO 4WD

JED AWD

Acton QU4TRO

Walnutt SPECTRA

Silver

Carvon EXO 4WD Electric Skateboard
Jed Board Electric Skateboard
Acton Qu4tro Electric Skateboard
Walnut SPECTRA Silver Electric Skateboard

Price:

$2,999 USD

$1,599 USD

$1,699 USD

$1,399 USD

Range:

40 km (25 mi.)

40 km (25 mi.)

35 km (22 mi.)

32 km (20 mi.)

Top Speed:

80 km/h (50 mph)

40 km/h (25 mph)

37 km/h (23 mph)

37 km/h (23 mph)

Maximum Incline:

25%

30%

30%

36%

Weight:

10.5 kg (23 lbs)

7.6 kg (16.8 lbs)

7.7 kg (17 lbs)

6.9 kg (15.4 lbs)

Charge Time:

2 - 3 hr.

(648 Wh Battery)

45 - 60 min.

(320 Wh Battery)

3 hr.

(240 Wh Battery)

110 min.

(148 Wh Battery)

Motor:

4x2500W (DD Hub)

4x1200W (DD Hub)

4x500W (Hub)

4x200W (Hub)

Board Dimensions:

99.7 cm x 25.4 cm

(39.5" x 10")

106 cm x 22.8 cm

(42" x 9")

86.4 cm x 22.8 cm

(34" x 9")

61.7 cm x 17.8 cm

(24.3" x 7")

Board Material:

Maple

(LANDYACHTZ)

Bamboo

Aircraft Graded Aluminum, Carbon Fiber

Magnesium

Wheel Size:

107 mm (ABEC11)

80 mm (Orangatang)

88 mm

80 mm

Maximum User Weight:

147 kg (325 lbs)

150 kg (330 lbs)

127 kg (280 lbs)

131 kg (290 lbs)

Warranty:

12 months

24 months

6 months

6 months

Walnutt SPECTRA Silver

Walnutt runs its business out of New York City, New York, USA.  They appeared on the Esk8 market last year (2017) when they raised over $650K USD for their line of 4 boards on Indiegogo.  The SPECTRA Silver is their highest end board.   They are one of two manufacturers who provide hands-free control (the other being ZBoard).  We believe they have a solid team and may evolve to be a key player in the esk8 industry.  Their patented system, termed 3D Posture control, uses your weight and posture to provide acceleration or braking.   Initial feedback from various users though is that the posture control is somewhat unreliable.

 As was mentioned previously. because of its much shorter wheelbase, you can carve at a tighter radius than the other boards to allow greater maneuverability in dense areas.  It is short enough to fit in a large backpack.  At 6.9 kg (15.4 lbs) though, you will not be able to carry much more without being a strain on your back.  Their board has a limited 6 month warranty (a little short in our opinion for a 4 motor board).  If you purchase outside the USA, you will be charged for extra shipping.  

Walnutt SPECTRA Silver Skateboard

Image from Walnutt.com

Acton QU4TRO

Walnutt began on the East Coast of the United States and Acton (Santa Clara, CA) is based on the West Coast.  Like Walnutt, they also have a product line of 4 boards with the QU4TRO being their flagship product. Our opinion is that for its current price , it is on the expensive side, but as of May 6, 2018, it is the only 4 motor longboard available (the Jed Board has been slipping and is now scheduled for a late May delivery).   For us the jury is still out in terms of the board's quality and the company's customer support.  Hopefully they will begin to get things right.    

Acton QU4TRO Skateboard

Image from actonglobal.com

Jed Board AWD

Of the four boards, we feel the Jed Board provides the best value.   We did a preview of this board last month.  The company is still young and as with many young companies, there will be hiccups along the way.  But the product is outstanding, the parts are of high quality (backed up by an industry leading 24 month warranty), and we hope the customer service will prove to be excellent as well.   

Their unique drivetrain is a first in the esk8 industry.  It should be noted that the sound emanating from the grinding of the two gears has been an issue with some of the early testers.  This may be due to the fact that some riders are not used to the frequency of this type of sound since most are familiar with the motor noise from belt-drives or the quieter hub drives.

Jed Electric Skateboard Gears

image from jedboards.com

Carvon EXO 4WD

The founder of Carvon, Jerry Palacio, has been in the skateboard building business for more than 5 years.  The Carvon board , like the Jed Board, is constructed of high quality parts.  It may have the largest capacity battery of all pre-built skateboards, but this is one reason why the board is expensive.  The cost of the battery itself is about $800 USD.

Its drivetrain is also unique to the esk8 industry.  Instead of two gears like the Jed Board, Carvon uses a wheel adaptor to connect the motor to the wheel.  Feedback from early testers of the board have been very positive.   As with Jed, the question is can the company transition itself to a full service manufacturer.

Carvon SpeedDrive Electric Skateboard

Image from carvonskates.com

Conclusion

As the esk8 industry continues to develop, we believe more 4 wheel drive boards will enter the market.  Today, if price were not a factor, we would choose the Carvon EXO 4WD.    The best value pick without a doubt is the Jed Board AWD.   If you decide to go with the Acton QU4TRO, the concern in our opinion would be the quality of its parts along with the customer service.  With the Walnutt SPECTRA silver, the posture control may need some maturation and improvement before we would fully endorse it.

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