NEW TECH

In­no­va­tive French start-up gets ready to launch its foil­ing elec­tric river shut­tles

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents -

Se­abub­bles fly­ing taxi boat plus Crewsaver lif­er­afts, Fu­sion Sound-panel and more

So you thought foils were the pre­serve of ex­otic rac­ing yachts and high­speed fer­ries? Think again.

An am­bi­tious French start-up hopes to rev­o­lu­tionise public trans­port with a new gen­er­a­tion of au­tonomous foil­ing river taxis. De­signed to look as cute and friendly as the Se­abub­bles name sounds, they are in fact at the bleed­ing edge of boat­ing tech­nol­ogy, com­bin­ing the very lat­est de­vel­op­ments in elec­tric propul­sion and foil de­sign.

The Bub­bles them­selves seat up to five peo­ple and ‘fly’ at a height of 16in above the sur­face of the water. Pow­ered by twin elec­tric pod drives, they rise up on a pair of fixed foils to skim above the waves at speeds of up to 30 knots.

The com­pany is the brain­child of vi­sion­ary French sailor Alain Thébault, who holds nu­mer­ous sail­ing speed records in his foil­ing tri­maran Hy­droptere, and An­ders Bring­dal, the first man to break the 50-knot bar­rier on a wind­surfer. De­spite their shared pas­sion for speed sail­ing, it’s the de­sire to pro­vide an eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to our con­gested road trans­port sys­tem that has driven the Se­abub­bles project.

Their ul­ti­mate goal is to cre­ate a net­work of Se­abub­bles’ dock­ing sta­tions along the main wa­ter­ways of every ma­jor city, al­low­ing peo­ple to hop on and off a Bub­ble as eas­ily as they would a taxi. A spe­cially de­vel­oped app us­ing sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy to Uber will di­rect users to the near­est dock and re­serve their seats on the next avail­able Bub­ble. Lon­don, Venice, Am­s­ter­dam and San Fran­cisco have all been men­tioned

MY TAKE It takes some­one with real vi­sion to pro­pose this as a vi­able means of public trans­port but if suc­cess­ful, it could do more to pro­mote elec­tric boat­ing than any of the cur­rent leisure boat­builders. Hugo

The pro­to­type of the foil­ing elec­tric Se­abub­ble proved the con­cept but the pro­duc­tion craft will look much bet­ter

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