Weird Alibaba: A solar-powered $10,000 inflatable electric houseboat

The list of weird yet awesome electric boats on Alibaba seems to grow every week. Fortunately for us, we’ve managed to stumble upon another oddball offering in the form of an inflatable electric houseboat. And if you ask me, it’s perfect for the latest edition of the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week series.

For some reason, our graphics guy seems to think this is more of a bathroom toy that I’d put in my tub than a fully-fledged ocean-going vessel. But don’t be fooled! This inflatable boat is actually 6-meters (20-feet) long and can fit up to six people aboard (and apparently another three on the roof).

The canopy is somehow rigid enough to support several people on top, making it a fun diving platform when you’re out on the lake.

I have no idea how an inflatable houseboat could be that strong, but they seem to have figured it out.

Or at least someone has. Googling around leads me to believe that this might be a knockoff from a company called Hovercraft SI. Or maybe they just source their inflatable boats from the Alibaba vendor I found. Who knows? The only thing I do know for sure is that I definitely want one of these things!

And at $10,000 (or just $6,000 each if you buy 100 units!), it’s probably one of the cheapest electric houseboats on the market.

The term houseboat might be a bit of a stretch though. I’m not sure there’s much of a kitchen, as an open flame in a plastic inflatable boat doesn’t seem like a good idea. It’s the same reason you don’t see many barbecues in rental bounce houses.

And I’ve never seen an inflatable toilet before but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. So this houseboat is likely missing a head.

But the rest seems to be nicely thought out. At first, I questioned why it needed fenders — it’s not like you’re going to scratch up your fiberglass hull. But then I realized that perhaps sliding your inflatable boat right up to a splinter-lined wooden dock might not be the best idea.

And check out those accoutrements! There’s a great-looking captain’s chair and command console, there are large windows to enjoy the sunrise each morning when you wake, and there are even privacy curtains to keep others’ eyes off of you at night. You know what they say: when this houseboat’s a-rocking….either don’t come a-knocking – or maybe call the Coast Guard because something has gone horribly wrong with my inflatable houseboat.

Apologies to my more tech-enthused readers, but we don’t have a lot of specs to share on this interesting marine abode. We can tell that the electric outboard motor is made by EPropulsion, but I don’t see any information about batteries.

There’s a good chance it’s running a 24V-48V system, but without any further information from the manufacturer, I’m a bit worried that it’s a BYOB (bring your own batteries) situation.

That’s the case with my own electric boat that I recently ordered, where I have to supply the 24V batteries stateside when it arrives.

Top comment by Vince Wolf

Liked by 1 people

I think it's a great idea. People will love being able to haul it to the lakes with just a sedan and no trailer. You don't need a truck. You don't need a strong guy to help you out. It breaks into 4 sections weighting 65 lbs each. Most of us can handle that much and just fasten together, pump it up, and off you go. Well, not that easily but a lot easier than having to cleanse the hull of a regular house boat which will get mussles attached to it and get you in trouble with the locals. It's doubtful they would be a problem if you take home every time, dry it out, and any mussles would die and drop off.

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Even so, that’s the easy part. If China can make me an inflatable houseboat, I don’t mind scrounging around for some batteries.

I’m not sure how much solar is on the roof either, but those three panels look to be a good 250W each, maybe more. That’s not likely enough to power the motor alone, but it might double the range of the battery on a sunny day. It also means that you could probably avoid charging the boat if you use it just on the weekends. Even if you nearly drain it over the weekend, it can charge back up all week and be ready for you with a full charge next Saturday morning. Or considering that most houseboats are fairly stationary, you’d be able to use its battery for running other devices like lights, music, charging up electric surfboards, etc.

At $10,000, this one unfortunately won’t be added to my growing stable of questionable purchases from Alibaba. But if someone else wants to take a risk, I’ll be excited to hear all about your maiden voyage.

Maybe just bring a life jacket.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

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