Start-up ECO Watercraft is developing a lithium-ion powered all-electric jet ski. With an operational prototype already skimming over San Francisco Bay, the company plans to begin sales of its first unit in late 2010, according to company founder Barrett Taylor.
In 1998 it was reported that a seven hour ride on a 2-stroke jet ski kicked out more pollution than an old model car driving 100,000 miles, according to Eco Watercraft.
The company is planing two different models initially. A larger “luxury model” will seat three, cruise at speeds of 50+ mph (43 knots, 80 km/h) and have a longer runtime than a gasoline equivalent, according to Taylor— more than 1 hour 30 minutes at heavy speeds, with a cruise time around 3 hours under light riding.
The initial price will be $32,000 for the luxury model, with a $2,000 discount for customers that can prove they are hooking ECO up to solar panel or another source of renewables.
The second unit, to be available a year later, is a smaller two-person sit-down vessel that will be limited to speeds of 40 mph (35 knots, 64 km/h). There will be an adjustable controller for parents to minimize the speeds at which children can ride. The unit, with a lower run time of 1 hour 15 minutes of heavy speeds and 2 hours at cruising speeds, should sell for $10,000-$12,000.
Barrett says the company is taking the “Rolls Royce” approach to its impeller jet propulsion system—i.e., sealing the technology in an airtight casing to prevent customers from tampering with technology (when wet or just curious).
Barrett said that his company is also looking at individual skis and fully electric boats, for which they will produce prototypes in the next year or so.
Videos of the electric jet ski in action are available on the company’s website.