Ex-SpaceX Engineers Aim to Build the Tesla of Electric Boats
In July of 2003, Tesla started working with an ambitious vision to make an electric car from scratch while developing core technologies like the battery, computer software, and the electric motor. In the following two decades, Tesla Motors has made its mark in electric cars. And now, a group of engineers wants to pull off a similar feat in the electric boat segment with their high-end all-electric boat, Arc One.
Their revolutionary company, Arc Boats, was founded earlier this year by two former SpaceX engineers with experience in building rockets. "We started in February with no team, no money, and no warehouse," founder Mitch Lee, told The Guardian. But the company has now secured a seed funding of $4.25 million and has ambitious plans to sell its first model, Arc One, by the end of the year.
Lee believes that the boating industry is where the car industry was 10-15 years ago and is shaping up to be the next frontier of electric revolution. "Electric boats are superior to gas boats in almost every way. Not only are they significantly easier to maintain and much cheaper to operate, but they are also quieter, quicker, and — most of all — cleaner, with no fumes or pollutants," Lee told Interesting Engineering.
But to compete with gas-powered boats, the team needs to deliver on price as well as range. The team of engineers is using their expertise to build a high-performance electric boat with a lightweight and low-cost hull.
Priced at $300,000, Arc One is a limited edition electric boat that already has a waitlist that you can sign up for by paying a $1000 deposit. The 24-foot-long (7.3 m) boat is made of aluminum and can seat up to 10 people. Its 475 HP electric motor will deliver a top speed of 40 miles (64.3 km) per hour. A 200kWh battery pack will allow an average usage time between three to five hours, the company claims. "We're pairing an aerospace-inspired hull with custom battery packs for unprecedented stability, range, and speed and tying it all together with a seamless software system," Lee told Interesting Engineering.
The company is using the Tesla approach to deliver upmarket products at first and then use the funds to research and develop products that are more affordable. Eventually, the company believes that their technology will be applicable to larger boats as well and eventually all boats could go electric.
Electric boats are close to hitting the 90 miles (144 km) per hour mark and an electric boat racing circuit aims to propel technologies in the field in the coming years, just like Formula 1 does for automobile industry.