Battery-Electric Watercraft, an Idea That's Not All Wet

By John O'Dell May 27, 2009

ElectricWatercraft.jpg It has no wheels and can't be used on a road, but we think a new electric personal watercraft is still worth writing about.

After all, regular jetskis are noisy and polluting, so a battery-powered model, as is being developed by startup company Eco Watercraft, could be one heck of an advancement.

And yes, sticking a live wire into a pool of water can cause a nasty shock, but Eco Watercraft says its lithium ion battery pack and power system is to be sealed in an airtight, water- and tamper-proof casing (hybrid- and electric-car manufacturers already have perfected waterproof battery and high voltage electrical systems).

The real shock might be in the price: the initial model, due to go on sale next year, will start at $32,000, according to a Green Car Congress report.

It will be a deluxe model, with seating for three, a 50 mile-an-hour top speed (43 knots for you boaters) and a three-hour range at cruising speeds - 90 minutes at high speed - according to the manufacturer.

A second, two-person model with lower top speed and a two-hour cruising range (75 minutes at high speed) is to be introduced in 2011 with pricing in the $10,000-$12,000 range, Eco Watercraft says.

The company's promotional videos (below) show a working prototype tearing around San Francisco Bay in silent, electric-drive glory, and company founder Barrett Taylor explains on the Eco Watercraft website how he was motivated to develop the electric watercraft after being sickened by exhaust fumes from a gasoline jetski that was accompanying swimmers during one of the triathlons in which he competes. 



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