By: Scott Way
Cigarette Racing, the iconic high-performance company and hallmark of Thunderboat Row, is set to enter the PWC market. The company has changed hands several times since its inception under Don Aronow in 1969, but was recently sold in May 2021 to billionaire entrepreneur John H. Ruiz and Miami-based Lionheart Capital. The move signified a strategic exit from the traditional boating industry and a foray into modern corporate ownership.
At the time of the sale, Ruiz said there were ambitious plans for Cigarette that included delving into both superyachts and PWC's.
In an interview with Robb Report in June 2021, Ruiz stated “We plan to build a 130-footer and also a line of personal watercraft. You’re going to see a lot more products in the brand, with an even more sophisticated build process. We have many new concepts that are patent pending.”
Those initiatives are now bearing fruit as Cigarette has unveiled the first iteration of an electric PWC. The new "E-Jet" is set for 2023 release and will feature a full carbon fiber construction, a collision avoidance system, dual HD touchscreen displays at the helm, a handle bar digital display, and several luxury features owners rightfully expect from the high performance brand.
According to Watercraft Journal, the E-Jet will include multiple powertrains, including the choice between a forced-induction gas-powered engine or a full electric motor. In typical Cigarette fashion, performance reigns supreme with the gas-powered engine generating a top speed of 75 mph, and the electric option generating a comparable 64 mph. It should be noted that U.S. Coast Guard regulations currently stipulate that PWC manufacturers should not build craft that exceed 65 mph, and Canadian manufacturers follow suit. The electric motor is expected to have a runtime of about 2 hours and can recharge with 30 minutes of runtime after just 2 minutes of charging.
The design itself is a collaboration between Cigarette, Alberto Mancini Yacht Design, and NGI. Ruiz has stated previously that future Cigarette yachts "will have a European look, with fine, elegant lines. I think people will be ready for a Cigarette superyacht. They want style and performance in one yacht, and we can do that.” For what it’s worth, Alberto Mancini Yacht Design is based out of Monaco, Italy, although it's unclear to what extent they played a role in the PWC's design and development. Given the E-Jet's sleek lines there is certainly evidence of yacht design influence, but the details remain scarce. The demand for PWC's is also at an all-time high, with several manufacturers already sold out until 2023, so the timing for Cigarette may prove fruitful when they launch later this summer. Orders for the E-Jet are already open, with Cigarette's Chief Communications Officer telling Watercraft Journal that pre-orders have already exceeded $2.5 million. The E-Jet will certainly draw the attention of large yacht owners looking for an additional watertoy, especially those with experience in the high-performance market.