Every segment of the transport industry is going electric and now it’s time for the recreational watercraft segment. A new Sacramento-based startup called Free Form Factory partnered with electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero Motorcycles to use their electric powertrains in what they claim is “the world’s first electric, stand-up personal watercraft”.
The watercraft, called Gratis X1, is quite expensive, which is to be expected with a relatively new technology, but it also offers several advantages over its more common gas-powered counterparts.
Free Form Factory developed an advanced polymer material for the project called ‘HULKLITE’, which is used for the hull and deck. It brings the weight of the watercraft down to 380 lbs (172 kg).
But the real EV tech behind the recreational vehicle is Zero Motorcycles’ Z-Force technology used in its popular electric motorcycles.
Jim Callahan, Director of Business Development for Zero Motorcycles, said about the announcement:
“We are proud that Free Form Factory has chosen Zero’s Z-Force powertrain for the Gratis X1. We are excited to help provide water sports enthusiasts with an exhilarating emissions-free experience.”
It is equipped with both the ZF 75-5 Permanent Magnet Brushless Liquid Cooled Motor and ZF 6.5 kWh Li-Ion Intelligent Liquid Cooled Power Pack – just like what you would find in your basic Zero motorcycle. It enables about 30-45 minutes of run time with a total power of 46 hp and a top speed of 40 knots (46 mph – 74 km/h), which is actually faster than it appears when on water.
As with Zero motorcycles, customers can choose to add an additional Z-Force ZF 3.3 kWh Li-Ion Power Pack sold separately for about 20 more minutes of run time.
Of course, the biggest advantage is that the Gratis X1 can be used on lakes and rivers where gas-powered watercrafts, which consists of almost all powered recreational watercrafts, cannot be used. It’s also quieter and zero-emission just like any other all-electric vehicles.
Jordan Darling, Founder and CEO of Free Form Factory, said about the launch this week:
“We are thrilled to unveil the world’s first electric, stand-up personal watercraft. With the Gratis X1, riders will experience a powerful, fun and quiet ride on some of the most pristine waterways on earth. Free of the restrictions imposed on gas-powered watercraft, the Gratis X1 gives riders of all levels the ability to explore lakes, rivers and oceans they could only dream about riding before.”
They are starting to sell the first 35 units with a starting price of $17,990.