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.
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.
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.