The Jackson Kayak Flex Drive E
A decade ago I came up with adventurous solutions to attach a stabilizer to the kayak so that an electric motor could be installed. The batteries were almost as heavy as the kayak and I never even thought of pedal kayaks with interchangeable electric motors in the distant future. Now it is 2020 and the future is here! The new Flex Drive E from Jackson Kayak can now be ordered online in the US and through dealers in Europe.
I have tested the innovative Flex Drive E extensively in the last few weeks, on rivers for trolling and vertical fishing or just to reach my spots. It is so easy and takes a short time to replace the motor with the upper drive. The Flex Drive E is compatible with all Flex Drive-equipped boats from Jackson Kayak and Blue Sky Boatworks and weighs just less than eight pounds.
How does the Flex Drive E work?
The electric drive interchanges with the pedal drive unit in seconds, all you have to do is loosen the two wing nuts on the Gear Track. After inserting the magnetic key, the Flex Drive E is ready to go (after a 3 second safety lock). The key is connected to the lever of the lower Flex Drive unit by a strap, so it works like a kill switch when you have ground contact. The forward, reverse and speed control is controlled by a single knob. Absolutely simple operation.
Which cable kit do I need?
If you want to order a Flex Drive E, no need to decide first which power supply you will choose, as there are one cable kit, and it comes with the drive:
– 24V 22Ah lithium
– 24V 9.6Ah lithium
– 12V lithium or group deep cycle batteries
Simply swap the connector to the right one for your battery choice, and you are on your way.
What about the power supply?
In the USA you can use your own battery or order a Battery & Case Kit from Jackson Kayak. In Europe this is not possible due to the import rules, but over here I will help you choose the right battery. For European customers, I have a battery recommendation below. American customers are best advised to contact customer service when they need help.
My recommendation for Europe is to operate the Flex Dive E with a Rebelcell lithium battery or Rebelcell Outdoorbox. The Rebelcell batteries are great lightweights and ingenious power sources. I have done the first test drives with the Rebelcell 12V70Ah lithium battery and even after a whole weekend full throttle and trolling with 3 km/h, the battery had 60% remaining charge. I am now using the new Rebelcell 12V35 compact and lightweight (3,7 kg) waterproof (IP65) Outdoorbox made in NL and specially engineered as robust portable powersource for outdoor use.
– Continuous high thrust even if battery is nearly empty.
– Can be fully discharged without negative effects on performance or cycle life.
– 1 click connecting of motor and charger.
– Rapid charging (4-5 hrs to fully charge with 10A charger).
– Can be charged with a solar panel (special solar charge controller required).
In addition, the outdoor box has a 12V connection to either supply the fish finder with power at the same time (you need the Quick Connect cable) or to charge your mobile phone and the GoPros!
Learn more about the rebelcell batteries on the website: https://www.rebel-cell.com/en/index.html
The benefits of a 24V battery would only be reflected in the top speed, which is factory set at 5 mph (8 km/h). With the 12V battery I could reach 4.5 mph (7 km/h, it depends on how strong the current or the wind is). Another advantage of the 12V variant: the propeller does not have to be replaced and can therefore always be used, regardless of whether you are pedaling with the Flex Drive or using the Flex Drive E.
So if you would like to reach your hot spots without paddling or pedaling, or if you want to enjoy relaxed trolling or want to slow down the drift while vertical fishing, the Flex Drive E is exactly what you are looking for! Kick back and let your Flex Drive E Motor do the work.