Marine

Asap: An electric alternative to the Jet Ski

Asap: An electric alternative ...
Ross Kemp's latest Asap prototype
Ross Kemp's latest Asap prototype
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Oblique view of Asap
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Oblique view of Asap
Side view of Asap
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Side view of Asap
Ross Kemp's latest Asap prototype
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Ross Kemp's latest Asap prototype
Asap up close
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Asap up close
Asap up close
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Asap up close
Asap from the rear
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Asap from the rear
Asap from the front
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Asap from the front
Asap has been in development for a number of years
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Asap has been in development for a number of years
Asap stands for "as soon as possible" (as if you didn't know)
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Asap stands for "as soon as possible" (as if you didn't know)
Designer Ross Kemp with the Asap
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Designer Ross Kemp with the Asap
The first prototype of the ASAP was much smaller
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The first prototype of the ASAP was much smaller
Ross Kemp with a model Asap
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Ross Kemp with a model Asap
Kemp tests prototype 2
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Kemp tests prototype 2
Kemp tests prototype 2
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Kemp tests prototype 2
View gallery - 14 images

Frankly, what I know about water sports can be written on the dorsal fin of my imaginary surf board (what do you mean they don't have dorsal fins?), but I'm not going to let that stop me telling you a bit about Asap, an electric watercraft which combines elements of Jet Skis, body boards and catamarans.

I say "water sports," but British designer Ross Kemp has actually designed Asap (named after the acronym for "as soon as possible") as a rescue craft for lifeguards. It's designed to be a "pollution free" alternative to the Jet Ski while still being significantly faster than swimming. It's not a million miles from the Exoconcept we saw in 2011.

Though widely-reported as being solar-powered, it isn't inherently so. But because it's an electric vehicle, solar power is a possibility, and may make sense if storing the Asap near the water's edge which, obviously, is where you want it to be. (Charge it with fossil-fuel-derived electricity and obviously the non-polluting claims fly out of the chimney, though at least it is still clean at the point of use.)

Designer Ross Kemp with the Asap
Designer Ross Kemp with the Asap

The product has been in development for a number of years, over which time Kemp has developed two prototypes. The first apparently caught the attention of Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed, who passed word to Richard Branson. Branson offered to fly the current improved prototype to Bondi Beach for testing by the native lifeguards.

A CNN report on the Asap lists numerous advantages over the Jet Ski for rescue purposes. To begin with, Asap can be launched quickly and easily by a single lifeguard, and it is designed to be as easy as possible to place an injured person upon. It's also claimed that the v-shape of its hull reduces slapping on the water.

The first prototype of the ASAP was much smaller
The first prototype of the ASAP was much smaller

"A lot of rescue aids are simply re-purposed leisure equipment," Kemp told CNN. "For example a paddle board is just a surf board, and a Jet Ski is just adapted for rescue purposes, so rescuers adapt the way they rescue people to the equipment rather than the equipment for them."

According to CNN Asap is still in development, so the final specification isn't finalized. However, the current prototype travels at 15 mph (24 km/h). Better yet, Kemp is apparently planning to release Asap on the leisure market. Watch this space.

Sources: Asap, CNN

View gallery - 14 images
17 comments
Ninja DM
"Jet Ski" is a brand name by Kawasaki. The vehicle being discussed is called a personal water craft.
sunfly
The electric water board space is getting interesting fast! This Asap is not a jet powered vehicle, but rather has a traditional propeller. I have talked to fireman that do water rescue, and a complaint they have about traditional jet skis is the jets get plugged up when running in shallow water. When that happens they have to turn the jet ski over in the water and unplug the jet. Not easy. The earlier but similar device is the Kymera. It is a flat board with similar batteries but uses a traditional jet. It does look easier to grab and throw in the water with one person however. Kymera also has a solar panel designed to keep the vehicle charged when waiting for use. My guess is that will work with either of these vehicles. Another problem is if this is a single person vehicle, what do you do with the person rescued? From this article it is hard to tell how Asap is handling that. I believe Kymera designed a tow board for the rescued that might work with either option? From speaking with fireman, I know one key is making sure the rescued's head stays out of the water during the extraction. [See our most recent article on the Kymera at: http://www.gizmag.com/kymera-powered-body-board-kickstarter/26390/ – Ed.]
The Skud
Looks and sounds better than a PWC, but I worry about the recharging aspect and the time it might take. If multiple rescues are needed and the power runs down, it is not like quickly pouring (carefully) a new tank of tuel into the machine. Also, the thought of dragging a dripping wet machine up to a 120 or 240V supply is scary - as does the idea of someone dragging a power cord down to the water's edge! "Oops, dropped it, hey! why are all the people falling ove...."
Slowburn
I would much prefer that the Lifeguards (I believe that would be Life Savers down in Oz) have watercraft that can be kept in constant use all day. "Sorry the kid drown but we were changing/charging the battery in the rescue vehicle." does not cut it as a explanation. I understand not wanting gasoline (petrel) spilled in the water. I would suggest propane / butane as the fuel of choice and suggest that plant or animal based lubrication is workable as well. I also think that such a power system could be widely accepted in short order doing far more good than the electrical system that most people don't want.
bergamot69
A simple way to get round the idea of the batteries running down would be to use hot swappable batteries. However comments about limited range may be premature as we don't actually know how long a charge will last...
martinkopplow
When you want a fast and reliable start of your engine every time, electric is the way to go. "Sorry about the kid drowning, my jet ski didn't fire up!" is a bad excuse. The Asap might make the rescuing business a bit safer after all. I don't understand why people (especially those who never used EVs of all kind themselves) always moan about the recharge issue: Properly designed there will be enough capacity to do more than one rescue run on a single charge, and then there will be time between the runs to recharge or a back up unit. If you use electric stuff, you gotta get your head around to think electric. That appears to be the most difficult problem for most people who have learned to think gas for such a long time. (Actually: Seeking a filling station every time you run low on fuel, and then splash around with inflammable fluids in large quantities, how silly is that?) @ The Skud: You don't really believe dropping an average 120V or even 230V cable into the ocean would do anyone harm, do you? Also, a thing such as the Asap could never really get wet enough to be dangerous when dragged near a power supply. Thats all nothing but superstition! Trust me, I plug my EV in on rainy days on a regular basis without Thor ever throwing his hammer at me ...
BigGoofyGuy
I think this is really cool. I am glad it won't be just for life guards. It would be neat that the trailer that is used to transport this also had a solar panel on it that could recharge the battery while in transport. If used as a life guard rescue vessel, perhaps the life guard station could have a solar panel to not only charge the vehicle but also give shade to the life guard. An alternative to just batteries would be a fuel cell. There are many small ones that could be used in something this small and they are getting less expensive. One could even get a solar powered hydrogen station to refill the tanks.
Jason Woods
What is the weight?
Lewis M. Dickens III
Very interesting design. It seems that the Brits are taking design very seriously and coming up with great things.
Bruce H. Anderson
Ah yes, Jason, the weight. I wonder about lugging this device down to water's edge. Perhaps some handles with trailing casters or a front wheel (like a wheelbarrow) would make it easier to get to the water, and back out.