Marine

Electric stand-up PWC loses the noise, keeps the fun

Electric stand-up PWC loses th...
The Free Form Factory Gratis X1
The Free Form Factory Gratis X1
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The Gratis X1 looks just as fun as a gas-powered PWC
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The Gratis X1 looks just as fun as a gas-powered PWC
Getting some air on the Gratis X1
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Getting some air on the Gratis X1
The Free Form Factory Gratis X1
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The Free Form Factory Gratis X1
LED lights on the nose of the Gratis X1
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LED lights on the nose of the Gratis X1

Gasoline-powered stand-up personal water-craft (PWC) aren't all that popular at the moment, with emissions rules and safety concerns pushing them out of favor. That doesn't mean there's not a market for them, though. One solution is to buy used and hoon around making noise, burning fuel and generally being a pain for everyone on the beach. Failing that you could turn to the team at Free Form Factory (FFF), which has created a fully-electric stand-up PWC.

Power for the FFF Gratis X1 comes from a liquid-cooled 6.5-kWh battery nestled deep in the hull. The standard battery pack is good for around 45 minutes of riding, but an additional 3.3-kWh power pack can boost that to a full hour. According to the team, most gas-powered PWC riders don't run for more than an hour at a time, making the battery capacity more than enough for the average user.

Charging takes between 90 minutes and four hours depending on the socket used, and FFF says the PWC can be juiced up on any standard wall plug or propane generator. That also means it can probably be topped up on a diesel generator, but that isn't exactly in keeping with the clean, green image the company is after.

Getting some air on the Gratis X1
Getting some air on the Gratis X1

Performance hasn't suffered in the switch from gas to battery power, with a top speed of 40 knots (46 mph or 74 km/h) from the Zero Motorcycles powertrain making it just as fast as the average fossil-fuel guzzling PWC. It will also accelerate like mad, with peak torque on tap from standstill and just 380 lb (172 kg) to hustle around. If electric cars are anything to go by, the infinitely-customizable nature of electric power delivery should also make it silky-smooth, perfect for getting new riders into the sport.

The Gratis X1's green credentials don't end with the powertrain, as the whole PWC has been built with the environment in mind. The whole deck and hull are built of a special polymer blend that is 100 percent recyclable, and any leftover material or offcuts are saved and put into making the next batch of hulls.

"Every step of the manufacturing process ismodeled with the highest of green standardspossible in mind, with superior performance," says Jordan Darling, Free Form Factory CEO. "We believe it is important to reduce our negativeimpact on the environmentand we are determinedto reach our goal of zerowaste."

LED lights on the nose of the Gratis X1
LED lights on the nose of the Gratis X1

Keen riders are able to track their performance using the inbuilt dashboard, which will look familiar to anyone who's taken a look at a Zero motorbike. It hooks up to an iOS/Android app, and can share information about the current charge status, how long a full charge will take and how much gas has been saved by going pure-electric.

The FFF Gratis X1 is up for pre-order at the moment, with a starting price of US$17,990.

You can take a look at the Gratis X1 in action in the video below.

Source: Free Form Factory

SILENCE THE MASSES - Free Form Factory Gratis X1 - Electric PWC

14 comments
guzmanchinky
Love it. But that's a lot of coin.
Rehab
I thought it would be over 20K, nice job
Buellrider
Looks like Zero is really using their tech for good use. I'm looking forward to the day that 500 miles to a charge is no big deal. My Prius Prime plugin goes 25+/- miles on electric. Bought new with a tankful of fuel from the dealer and the gas gauge hasn't budged off the Full mark. Waiting to see the electric bill. Electric is now but so few people have no idea what they are missing out on. Some day the airliners will be all electric and won't that be something.
zr2s10
I find that price "shocking". Pun intended. Because sitting on a giant battery pack while you're soaking wet is probably not the safest thing in the world. And that charge time means you have to buy two if you want to be out all day. Some things just aren't better as electric over gas. This is definitely one of them.
habakak
@zr2s10...these are early days. Battery prices will drop by 50% to 75% over the next 3 to 5 years and then this craft will cost $12k or less, possibly even $7k. And it will go for 1.25 to 1.5 hours. Eventually gasoline just can't compete. For light transportation and water craft that will be in the next 5 to 10 years. More likely 5. Gasoline powered craft are noisy, hazardous, not good for your health and more prone to breakdown due higher pressure and temperatures of the engines. You are like the people who believed an automobile will never outrun a horse! LOL!
zr2s10
habakak, I've been hearing battery prices will drop, but the number you quote in that time frame? Beyond optimism. The noise is part of the fun, AND, not that bad on PWC. And breathing the exhaust may be bad for your health, but not as bad as getting electrocuted, and you're not sucking it in directly anyway. I'm hardly comparable to the automobile never replacing horses type, but electric power isn't a magic cure all to everything on the planet. The right tool for the job, and this is not a good fit for PWC. I wouldn't buy a SxS or ATV that was electric either.
HalSlater
Can we just get the info without the sales pitch? It was over one minute into the two minute video before we even got the first glimpse of the PWC an the gratuitous shot of the woman flinging her wet hair back did not inform at all. Save the Spielberg crap for him school. Great looking product from what little the video showed.
Derek Howe
Nice, it wont be long before all modes of transportation goes electric. Now if only electric prices would lower.
guzmanchinky
For the person who thinks that you can get shocked by a dc battery in water: You may not be educated enough to browse a science site...
Craig Jennings
Never mind the noise and pollution..... Think of the maintenance saved!!! But agree with previous sentiment, would be nice to see it doing something :)