Boaters like spray and sun in their face, not exhaust. The first hybrid sport boat, courtesy of a co-designer of the Aptera electric car, delivers cleaner thrills.
Water resistance means that a 38mph boat requires as much power as far-speedier cars, and marine engineers have struggled to give a hybrid enough oomph. Chris Anthony and his team boosted an electric motor to 268 horsepower, partly by passing more cooling fluid over it to let it spin ultra-fast without overheating. Lithium-ion batteries (2,200 pounds of them), stored under the floor, feed the motor silently for up to three hours. When they run low, a gas generator kicks in. Even then, the system uses half the fuel (about three gallons per hour) and spews half the emissions of other wakeboard-ready motorboats, since the generator only needs to rev high enough to recharge the battery, not to move the drivetrain itself.
Shipping this month, the Epic 23e has a waiting list even at $150,000. Anthony expects the price to drop closer to gas models within two years as batteries become more common and as fuel costsand emissions limits turn the tide toward greener boating.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.