By: Scott Way
As one of the leading purveyors of #WeirdBoats, we pride ourselves on uncovering the best oddities that float.
But even for us, the Z-Triton is...unusual. It is technically a boat, insofar as that it does indeed float and has electric propulsion, although pitting it against something like an X-Shore will make its performative shortcomings rather obvious.
What are those performative shortcomings, you may wonder? The Z-Triton also happens to be a bicycle. And an RV. So it's more than just a boat - it's a triumvirate of fun.
Let's start with the boating aspects, because we'll readily admit that's what we're here for.
The Z-Triton is, at least in theory, a two-person electric boat with a steering handle inside the cabin. The electric motor also helps power the pedals when you're in bike mode to make you more efficient (an infinitely trendier).
Then there is the integrated solar roof panel that links to a Li-ion battery back inside the camper to generate enough power for 2 days of use, or roughly 50 km (31 miles) of land usage or 20 km (12 miles) of water usage. In other words, you probably can't cross the English Channel with it unless it's a sunny, and good luck with that, but you can live and travel literally almost anywhere as the captain of a mobilized RV camper/boater/biker/traveler.
The super-hybrid was invented by Latvian entrepreneur Aigars Zausis, and demand has been so high since the launch of Z-Triton 2.0 early 2022 that the company is actively taking orders. The 2.0 is available for roughly $14,500 Euros, or about $16,300 USD.
And that's actually pretty reasonable considering that urban adventurers, or those in high-density urban centres, can accomplish a lot with very little by owning a Z-Triton. It's a lot easier to pedal your way to the lake than to trailer a 40-foot cruiser through downtown traffic.
As for the biking component, it's not particularly complicated. As they say, once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget. The perk of the Z-Triton is that the same electric trolling motor that engages the propeller also provides power to the pedals, meaning you can save energy for the lake rather than busting your hump trying to pedal the 440 lb (199 kg) contraption up a hill. You also sit very high in the seat while biking, almost like an old timey carriage driver, which brings to mind using the Z-Triton as a London-esque tourist carriage or a rickshaw-style downtown taxi in cities like Bangkok or Manila. Converting the machine from bike mode to boat mode is interesting, too -- you basically unlatch and swing the wheels into their 'pods,' then attach an inflatable pontoons on each side. It's kind of like a Transformer, but without a cool name like Ratchet or Galvatron. But if you stay in land mode, it even has roadworthy features like brake lights and turn signals (which double as navigation lights while on-water), so you'll be more of an Optimus Prime in that sense.
Once you're in 'boat mode,' there is a surprisingly cool "N" shaped steering wheel inside the cabin that allows some low mph puttering via the electric motor. You get the sense you'd feel like you were piloting a submarine, in light of the enclosed pod, which may come true if you're in choppy enough water. But don't worry, there's a windshield wiper! That being said, your Captain Nemo-ism could come to an end if your charge runs out, so the Z-Triton is also outfitted with oars for doing it the old-fashioned way.
The RV mode is typical fare given the size of the Z-Triton, but it still packs some ingenuity. There is enough room to sleep two (small) persons in the cabin, although by North American standards that could be reduced to one, or perhaps a cuddling scenario. Strangely there's an actual location reserved for a potted plant, so perhaps you can grow some herbs for cooking healthy meals while camping or cruising. There's also a foldout kitchen table, cooling/heating inside the cabin, and a sound system. To put it simply, the Z-Triton is a camper trailer, but it's still plenty better than trying to sleep on the floor of a canoe.
You can currently rent and test the Z-Triton on Lake Latvia in, you guessed it, Latvia, so if you're touring Europe and would like to explore the coast of the Baltic Sea, give them a ring. If that's not your jam, you can check out the ingenuity of the Z-Triton in the video below: