Is there anything you can't do with a PWC?
The personal watercraft market has been anything but idle in recent years. Which makes sense when you think about it -- as a small craft, they're relatively easier (and cheaper) to design, test, and build than boats.
Even names you'd never expect like Cigarette Racing are getting into the PWC game (and electric, no less!). You can even buy kits to make rad modifications to your Sea-Doo to turn it into a water go-kart.
That's not to say that every idea has been a winner, however. Sometimes, trying to cram a bunch of fancy technology into a PWC just leads to... a really big, heavy PWC. That being said, the first electric PWC's from Taiga are finally on the market, and there's much to be excited about.
Now companies like San Francisco's Boundary Layer Technologies are taking the electric PWC concept to the next level. In fact, they're onto something pretty clever. It makes sense that it should come from the heart of Silicon Valley.
We've said before that the hydrofoil is the design that just won't go away. Boat manufacturers have tried every permutation there is to make it work on recreational boats.
But no one had tried to put a hydrofoil on a PWC. Until now.
The Valo Hyperfoil is an electric hydrofoiling PWC that is obviously unlike any personal watercraft on the market.
The sleek machine uses carbon fiber hydrofoils to lift itself out of the water, providing the same ultra-efficiency that hydrofoil boat manufacturers have been trying to master for decades.
It's quite clever, really. In much the same way boatbuilders like Candela are trying to blend the efficiency of the hydrofoil with the battery capacity of electric power, the Valo Hyperfoil adopts the same premise, just on a smaller and more maneuverable platform.
The Valo Hyperfoil is 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long and 3.9 feet (1.2 m) wide and is made of high-modulus carbon fiber composite, titanium, ultra-high strength stainless steel, and even vegan leather seats. A little California influence. It weighs a modest 595 lbs (270 kg) and can hold up to 1025 lbs (465 kg) of passengers and/or gear.
It's also100% electric-powered and offers up to 2.3 hours of operation (140 minutes) with a top speed of 42 mph (67 km/h). It can travel up to 68 miles (107 km) at 30 mph (48 km/h) on a single charge of the 80 kW battery. It only takes 3 hours to fully recharge on a Level 2 240v car charge, and only one hour to get a 50% charge.
Those are decent figures for an electric PWC, and the carbon fiber hydrofoils are the key.
The Hyperfoil uses a stabilization software called SkyRide flight control to balance the craft's performance and agility. Height sensors, accelerators, and rate gyros work in partnership to keep the pitch and yaw stable while traveling over waves. In other words, the onboard system ensures that the height and angle of the hydrofoils are optimal to provide the smoothest ride, thereby creating the longest battery life possible.
“This is a major milestone, and we did this in just 6 months while other companies can take 6 years. It really proves that a small vehicle like this allows hyper-fast engineering iteration, getting us to market fast,” said CEO Ed Kearney.
“The vehicle itself is magical to ride. It’s near silent, with the only sounds being the gentle splash of the water on the struts, the wind in your hair, and a barely perceptible humm from the electric motor,” added Kearney. “When you see it and ride it, it really feels like this is the future.”
Pricepoint for the base production model is $59,000 USD, which is on par with other high-end, high-tech PWC's. It's certainly not on the lower end of the spectrum, but as a testament to the Hyperfoil's potential they've already sold out production space for 2023.
However, you can still reserve your own Hyperfoil on their website to receive delivery by the end of 2024 with just a $1000 refundable deposit.
Check out the Valo Hyperfoil being tested in the video below: