A team of former SpaceX rocket engineers have joined the race to build the first commercial electric speedboat.
The Arc Boat company has announced that it has raised $ 4.25million (£ 3million) in seed funding to begin work on a 24ft, 475 horsepower craft that will cost around $ 300,000.
The Los Angeles-based company, which is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (an early backer for Facebook and Airbnb), said the first model of the Arc One boat would be available for sale here. the end of the year.
Mitch Lee, chief executive of Arc, said he wanted to build electric boats because of the impact conventional gasoline or diesel boats have on the environment.
“They don’t just do two miles per gallon, they also pump a lot of these vapors through the water,” Lee said. “In addition, there is the enormous noise pollution factor [of conventional boats] and it is terrible for marine life. With gasoline-powered boats, it’s not just carbon emissions into the air, but also water pollution and noise pollution. Electric boats eliminate all of that.
Lee said electric ships will also reduce the hassle of owning a boat. “I love being on the water, being on a boat is so much fun, but owning a boat is so horrible,” he said. “I have always thought that electric boats made sense. They will be faster, quieter, much cheaper, and easier to use and maintain.
While the first models will be very expensive, Lee said the cost lies mainly in the development of the technology and that cheaper versions will be available in the future. “This is really Tesla’s approach – we start the market and use that income to fund research and development and work our way down the market,” he said.
Lee said the technology could be applied to larger ships and even ferries could run on electricity in the future.
“We started in February without a team, without money and without a warehouse,” he said. “By December, we’re going to sell the Arc One and we’re hiring aggressively because we want to accelerate the adoption of electric boats across a whole range of boats. “
Lee founded the company with his fellow mechanical engineer Ryan Cook. Cook, the company’s chief technology officer, was previously the chief mechanical engineer at Elon Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX, where he worked on the Falcon 9 rocket, the first-class reusable rocket. orbital to the world. Other than Lee, all Arc employees have some experience working at SpaceX.
The Arc boat, which is said to have a top speed of 40 mph, joins a number of startups rushing to manufacture the first large-scale production of electric speedboats. The Monaco Yacht Club this month organized an electric boat prototype competition to “create a new vision and promote all positive approaches to align yachting” with global targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Swedish hydrofoil Candela C-7 was crowned the fastest electric vessel.
An international electric motor boat racing competition is scheduled to begin in 2023.