Here at Electrek we often get first dibs at testing some of the newest and most interesting electric watercraft in the industry. From electric boats to personal electric watercraft and everything in between, 2022 was a big year for anything electric that floats.
These are some of the coolest and most interesting electric watercraft we tested this year.
Candela C-8 flying electric boat
I had the honor of visiting Candela’s production facilities in Stockholm to see how they manufacture these boats, which are bigger, sportier, and fancier than the C-7.
Both models use hydrofoils to lift the hull out of the water, but the C-8 makes it an even more impressive experience. The larger boat features a sun bed, more seating, and even a cabin that sleeps a family of four (as long as two of those four are small children).
The boat flies above the surface of the water with barely a whisper of a sound. Not only do you not hear any water smashing against the boat’s hull, but you can’t even hear the motors since they are completely submerged under the water.
That’s the beauty of the C-8’s C-POD technology, which combines a pair of counter-rotating electric motors in a single torpedo-shaped housing. The submerged design provides better cooling and allows Candela to pull more power out of the surprisingly small-sized motors. I can fit my hands around the motor casing and touch fingers on either side, yet together they create 50 kW of power that propel the boat up to 30 knots. And since the C-8 flies out of the water, the smaller batteries can keep it going for up to 50 nautical miles.
Being able to pilot (captain? drive? operate?) the C-8 was an eye-opening experience that showed me just how far electric boat technology has come.
You don’t need massive batteries and hundreds of kilowatts of motor power to build an electric speedboat with decent range. You just need to get it out of the water!
Awake’s high-speed electric surfboards
Electric boats are fun, but not everyone has hundreds of thousands of dollars or a trailer (or a truck to pull that trailer).
What if you want to keep a sporty electric watercraft in your closet and carry it to the shore in your trunk? That’s where electric surfboards come in.
And the beauty of it is you don’t even have to know how to surf!
I’m a novice but I took to Awake’s electric surfboards right away, quickly getting up on my feet and flying over the surface of the water. My wife joined me for the testing and had a bit of a harder time standing up on her first outing, though she still had a blast riding along like on a boogie board by laying down and zooming around.
These high-performance electric surfboards can reach speeds of around 37 mph (60 km/h), though I wasn’t going quite that fast. Fortunately they have multiple boards that are setup for everyone from beginners to professionals. As a beginner, I started on the RÄVIK 3 and quickly got the hang of accelerating and turning.
More experienced riders will get more performance out of the RÄVIK S, which has different contours to help it carve harder. The narrower board is also better for stunts and tricks, which I definitely wasn’t ready for.
I also tried the Vinga, which is a hydrofoil board. Unlike the Candela electric boats that use computer controlled hydrofoils to keep everything super steady, your brain is the only thing controlling the Vinga’s hydrofoil. I didn’t manage to stay up for more than a few seconds on my first time riding the Vinga, but I hope that if I can try again that I’ll eventually get the hang of it. Staying above the water on a hydrofoil is a very different feeling and apparently requires a different style of balance that I haven’t quite learned yet.
But despite the many wipeouts, I still had an amazing time on the boards. This is absolutely a great way to experience electric watercraft on a budget, at least compared to expensive electric boats. The boards aren’t cheap, starting at around €12,000 (or US $12,000), but that sure beats a several hundred-thousand-dollar electric boat’s price tag!
Outdoor Master Electric Sea Scooter
This one is quite different from first two electric watercraft I featured above. It’s also got a much different price class, coming in at just $299.
I took the sea scooter to a local reef with plenty of fish for a fun day under the water. With several species of local marine fauna to observe, scooting around under the water was a beautiful and eye-opening experience.
This is a less thrilling ride than the Candela C-8 electric boat or the Awake electric surfboards, since it isn’t nearly as fast or aggressive. You barely hit a solid 3 mph or so on the sea scooter, but that’s what it’s designed for. It’s not about an adrenaline-pumping ride, but rather a relaxed scoot around on the sea floor.
For as long as you can hold your breath, it will drag you around like an electric dolphin, showing you the wonders of the marine ecosystem around you. And since you don’t have to spend your energy paddling and swimming, you’ll get a lot more time down there out of each breath.
Taiga Orca electric jet ski
This wasn’t wasn’t actually my test ride, but our fearless leader and editor-in-chief Fred Lambert scored one of the first-ever tests on Taiga’s Orca personal electric watercraft. It looks like such a good time that it’d be a shame to leave it off the list!
Fred also had a chance to Test Taiga’s first electric snowmobile prototype all the way back in 2018. And now that they’ve brought their electric snowmobile to production, they’re going all in on leveraging much of the same technology for a personal electric watercraft.
With 120 kW of power and an estimated range of 45 km (28 miles), there’s a lot of fun to be had on one of these.
Fred was pretty blown away by the experience. As he described it:
Right after our ride, I told Sam Bruneau, the CEO, that I believe these things will sell themselves. All you need is a test ride.
They should appeal to both fans of existing jet skis who want to do away with the noise and gas and to electric vehicle fans who want all the same advantages that their EVs have but on the water.
I was so impressed that I am even considering changing my Taiga electric snowmobile reservation to the Orca.
Even more electric watercraft to come in 2023!
This was a great year for testing out new electric watercraft, but next year should be even better. Many of these companies are working on new models, plus they each have competitors nipping at their heels hoping to snatch up some of that sweet e-watersports marketshare.
Stay with us next year as we continue to cling to the bleeding edge of innovation for all types of electric vehicles!
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