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