Seeing that the auto industry has spent a ton of money cleaning up our roads in the form of hybrids and electric vehicles, one has to wonder: why doesn't the maritime industry spend a little coin on cleaning its vehicles up? After all, boats and other water-based vessels are riding right atop nature, not asphalt. To be fair, maybe they have and I haven't heard anything about it. I'm not really a boat captain, nor do I spend much time looking into boat technology.
On the other hand, sporty new toys are what I'm all about, so this Green Samba jet ski has my attention. Technically, it's a "personal watercraft", since jet ski is actually a registered trademark of Kawasaki, but could you possibly make anything so awesome sound lamer than "personal watercraft?" Not that I know of. So jet ski it is.
The Green Samba (also a cool name worthy of becoming a synonym for personal watercraft) is an all-electric vehicle powered by twin direct-drive propulsion pods and a battery pack. The technology used in the Samba's propulsion system adds efficiency not formerly seen on a jet ski, and was originally designed for military applications. Silveira obtained an exlusive license to use it.
After 5 years of fine-tuning the Samba's design, its parent company boasts a vehicle that doesn't release any harmful gases into the water or atmosphere and delivers the same speeds--up to 65 mph--as the most powerful gas-powered jet skis. It's also silent, eliminating the engine noise of other jet skis. The battery supplies three hours worth of drive time.
According to Rodrigo Silveira whose Silveira Group is the company behind the Samba: "The PWC [personal watercraft] is a huge water pump and the existing manufacturers have
ignored the inefficiencies of the jet drive system currently in use by
pouring horsepower and fuel on it. The inefficiencies in the
horsepower-thrust conversion are quite obscene and that's were we've
been focusing our energy."
The Silveira Group is a design firm that specializes in carbon fiber components and knows a thing or two about lightweight design. The company has used its expertise to keep the Green Samba as light and nimble as possible. It should not only appeal to eco-conscious folks, but serious watercraft fanatics, since it will have all the speed of other models with increased agility derived from its small, light profile. What's not to love?
Silveira is in the process of putting together a prototype and expects to have a working model and retail pricing information by the fall. The company intends to build not just a standard consumer model, but also specialized versions for different applications like military and research.
If jet skiing and/or new technolgy strike your fancy, be sure to read the entire Gizmag article that I sourced for this post. It features an in-depth discussion with Rodrigo Silveira that's definitely worth reading.