Based in France, SeaBubbles is a startup that’s been testing a new all-electric hydrofoil water taxi over the past few years. They have caused quite an uproar in Switzerland during tests on Lake Geneva in the earlier part of this year as they launched a taxi service in the region.
SeaBubbles is a battery-powered boat with a hydrofoil design, which enables lower drag and greater speeds by lifting the hull of a boat over the water. When using the SeaBubbles, one would feel like they’re hovering over the water which is a unique experience most would like to have! The bright side of it for most of us, is that the hovering feeling reduces seasickness.
The vehicle is powered by a 20 kWh battery pack that feeds two 10 kW electric motors, which possible means that gives SeaBubbles at least an hour between charges. The company wants to use its electric boat to offer taxi service in cities located near rivers and lakes, such as the river Seine, in Paris.
They are facing some red tape because while electric boats often face fewer regulations due to the fact that they don’t pollute or create much noise, a hydrofoil boat needs to achieve a somewhat higher speed in order to maintain its hovering cruising position and there are speed restrictions on many rivers and lakes.
These regulations might have slowed down their deployment in Paris, however, SeaBubbles is back to testing their services in their city, Paris. If it’s deemed safe, they will have a taxi service on water that’s pretty similar to Uber’s services by next year. But for now they have also turned to Lake Geneva in Switzerland to test their latest prototype:
They tested their new fly-by-wire system on the lake and presented their project in the city, but they also face some regulatory hurdles there as the local government is reportedly worried about the company’s plans to build docks for their electric boats on the shore and a local ferry company operating on the lake is worried about increased traffic.
Nevertheless, it’s an exciting project and we look forward to an Uber-like water taxi service!