So maybe “SeaBubbles” isn’t the most marketable name for a taxi company, but the idea behind the SeaBubbles Electric Hydrofoil Water Taxi is: “Cities today have one thing in common: pollution and congestion,” explains SeaBubbles’ co-founder Anders Bringdal, a four-time windsurfing world champion.
“Every city has waterways—ones that are fairly unused. Think about having a giant freeway that goes straight down the center of a city, and no one uses it… why is that?” Bringdal is quick to admit, “you could do this with a normal boat, but with a normal boat with a normal combustion engine, the fuel price you’re paying is between $70 and $130 per hour. With it’s $2.”
The SeaBubbles craft is a battery-powered boat that makes use of a hydrofoil design. That design lifts the hull of the boat out of the water, allowing for less drag and higher speeds. That may, however, pose a problem for the company. While their goal is to provide a taxi service for cities located near rivers and likes—such as Paris and the river Seine—getting past regulations may be difficult.
Certainly they have an advantage in that SeaBubbles won’t be creating pollution and doesn’t create much noise, but to make use of the hydrofoil design, the craft needs to hit a higher speed, and there are a lot of speed restrictions on many rivers and lakes. But that’s not stopping SeaBubbles from working toward their goal of providing a water taxi service in 50 cities in the next five years.
SeaBubbles takes off at six knots and achieves a maximum cruising speed of 15 knots, though the company is working to bump that up to a top speed of 20 knots. The prototype of the craft has a working time of 1.5 hours between charges, which will take around five hours. This is another area that SeaBubbles is working on improving, hoping to drive those numbers up to 2.5 hours of work time and down to 35 minutes of recharging. The boat also comes equipped with sensors that measure water conditions, which the computer then uses to adjust the boat’s flaps, leaving whoever is driving free to focus on just steering.
Name aside, SeaBubbles looks to be a smart move—especially since the company already has customers in Russia, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and the US.