Designed to deliver some of the on-water fun of a small boat without the work and hassle, the Chilli Island watercraft navigates the crisp, blue water like a motorized lounge chair. This small electric vessel has everything you need to enjoy a sunny day on the (not so) high seas with your favorite companion.
At first glance, the Chilli Island looks more like a pool chair or towable than a powered watercraft, but the included Torqeedo electric motor puts it in the latter category. Both 0.5- and 1-kW motor options are available, providing up to six hours of runtime with power from a 300 Ah pair of AGM deep cycle batteries.
Vienna-based Chilli Island GmbH fancies its namesake watercraft an alternative to other lightweight watercraft, such as pedal boats. The company believes the craft has potential for beach resorts, hotels, lakes and other destinations that serve up water-based relaxation. It certainly looks more relaxing than a pedal boat or rowboat and seems like it could create an idyllic afternoon of sipping cold drinks under the sun while gently cruising over crystal clear waters.
In place of a traditional hull structure, the Chilli Island is structured more like an open, floatable lounge chair for two, measuring 8.2 x 7.4 ft (2.5 x 2.25 m) and weighing 440 lb (200 kg). It has a polyethylene body built over a fiberglass frame and wraps each passenger in an ergonomic full-body seat that can also serve as a slide, letting one slip into the water on a whim. Handholds help passengers get back on board. The palm tree-inspired, three-panel adjustable shading system provides an escape from the beating sun.
Occupants control speed and direction via the central trackball, which sounds at least as simple and intuitive as the joysticks on boats like the Joyboat. There's no listed speed information, but given the craft's design and small motor, it'll surely be limited to puttering around slowly close to shore.
The Chilli Island doesn't have a whole lot of room on deck, but a few pieces of equipment enhance the ride. A bottle cooler keeps drinks cold, and cup holders on both sides ensure you don't have to hold onto your open drink the whole ride. The two-speaker Bluetooth sound system plays music from your mobile device, providing up to 80 watts of audio power. Audio is controlled through the small onboard computer, which also provides information like battery level, speed and motor position.
The Chilli Island Classic base model with 0.5-kW motor and 40-watt sound system is priced at €9,985 (US$11,225), as listed in Chilli Island's online brochure. Higher spec models include upgrades like the 1-kW motor, 80-watt sound system, and sound and lighting effects. Company branding is also available.
That pricing seems a little steep for a motorized floatable lounge chair, particularly when compared to similarly simple watercraft like the aforementioned Sky Yacht Joyboat or the BeachRay, both of which were priced several thousand euros/dollars less when we covered them last year. Then again, you could spend more than €15,000 (US$16,900) on an electric surfboard that drains its battery in 30 minutes, so it's all relative. We'd certainly be quick to inquire about day pricing if we ever saw the Chilli Island for rent at a beach or lake resort and relaxation was the priority over fast-paced recreation.
Source: Chilli Island