SEA LEGS AMPS UP

Sealegs has been mak­ing am­phibi­ous craft for 17 years, driv­ing a con­tin­u­ous process of de­vel­op­ment and im­prove­ment. The lat­est it­er­a­tion, the 7.3m Elec­tric E4, is bat­tery-pow­ered.

Boating NZ - - Feature - WORDS BY JOHN EICHELSHEIM PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JOHN EICHELSHEIM AND SUP­PLIED

Elec­tric propul­sion is noth­ing new for the com­pany – the very first Sealegs, built in 2001 by com­pany founder Mau­rice Bry­ham in his garage, had elec­tric mo­tors driv­ing the wheels. Two later ver­sions, termed E2 and E3, also used elec­tric­ity, the E3 em­ploy­ing an elec­tric mo­tor to power the hy­draulic pump driv­ing the wheels.

Hy­draulic propul­sion is stan­dard across the rest of Sealegs’ model range, a petrol en­gine pow­er­ing a hy­draulic pump to drive the wheels. But the Elec­tric E4’s com­bi­na­tion of brush­less elec­tric wheel mo­tors and lithium bat­tery tech­nol­ogy quite pos­si­bly rep­re­sents the fu­ture of am­phibi­ous boat­ing. Sealegs calls its elec­tric driv­e­train Amptracs – Am­phibi­ous Trac­tion and Con­trol Sys­tem.

In many ways the new E4 is the best Sealegs yet. It’s qui­eter, faster and pro­vides longer run times than con­ven­tional Sealegs mod­els. Re­leased at the re­cent Auck­land on Wa­ter Boat Show, the Elec­tric E4 was in­tended as a show-stop­per, its sleek Euro styling aimed at in­ter­na­tional mar­kets as much as do­mes­tic cus­tomers. With its Bent­ley-qual­ity uphol­stery, strik­ing graph­ics, steeply raked one-piece wind­screen, high-tech glass bridge and stylish rear arch, it looks like a su­pery­acht ten­der.

SHOW BOAT

This is a show boat, ex­plained Sealegs’ Global Sales and Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Peter Small, pre­sented for max­i­mum vis­ual im­pact.

“Quite a few vis­i­tors to the show asked us where the rod hold­ers are, but in many ways, this is a con­cept boat that’s meant to turn heads.”

CAD work and styling stud­ies be­gan in 2017.

The styling has been ex­tremely well re­ceived in­ter­na­tion­ally...

“The styling has been ex­tremely well re­ceived in­ter­na­tion­ally, but fifth gen­er­a­tion pro­duc­tion boats, which will be sold as Elec­tric E5s, will be avail­able in a va­ri­ety of lay­outs and in two- or all-wheel-drive vari­ants,” ex­plained Peter.

With­out hav­ing to ac­com­mo­date a sec­ondary petrol en­gine, Sealegs has more flex­i­bil­ity when con­fig­ur­ing the boat’s in­te­rior. This boat fea­tures the lux­ury Xlounge, which com­pletely fills the cock­pit. Fea­tur­ing a fold­ing ta­ble topped with the same graphic mo­tif as the tubes (but in white with em­bed­ded colour-chang­ing LEDS), it has an aft-fac­ing bench seat with stor­age un­der­neath, cor­ner seats and padded seats on the tubes.

All the seat­ing, as well as the raised sun bed in the bow, is up­hol­stered in di­a­mond-stitched black vinyl us­ing con­trast­ing blue thread. The Xlounge can eas­ily seat eight in a so­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Blue high­lights ex­tend to the di­ag­o­nal pat­tern cut into the dark-grey U-dek on the cock­pit sole and to the boat’s graphic mo­tif, which is laser-cut and em­bed­ded in the Hy­palon tubes. The 200hp E-TEC out­board is match­ing char­coal and grey with a cowl­ing high­light panel in blue.

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