Hovercraft's innovative designs take inflatables to the next level
Playing in thewater wouldn't be the same without inflatables. But forget aboutyour little floating loungers or inflatable dinghies – Slovenianmanufacturer Hovercraft is breaking out some serious watercraft forjoyriding, exploring, working or relaxing. The R&D companyspecializes in producing inflatable structures made withdouble-walled CSM, rubber and PVC. To show off what it can do, here'sa look at some of Hovercraft's innovative water-going creations.
Jet skis, bydesign, don't have much room for passengers or cargo, butHovercraft's Jet-boat lets up to six people jump on board. Thisrigid-hull inflatable boat attaches quickly and easily to the frontof any jet ski, making it perfect for a group cruise or even rescueoperations.
The Jet-boatweighs 30 kg (66 lb) and measures 350 cm (138 in) long, and foldsdown into a package small enough to stow away on a jet ski footrest.The basic Jet-boat package starts at just €2,000 (US$2,275).
Got more thansix people tagging along, or looking to carry your car across thelake? The inflatable Ferryboat follows a similar design to theJet-boat but cranks it up to 11. Propelled by your choice of jet skior outboard motor, the Ferryboat is far more spacious, durable andcan carry heavier loads.
Hovercraft'sFerryboat comes in three different sizes for different needs. Thelargest, measuring 8 m long and 3.5 m wide (26.2 x 11.5 ft), cancarry up to 30 people or 5,000 kg (11,000 lb), but still folds rightdown into a roll measuring just 250 x 60 cm (98 x 24 in). The nextsize down measures 6 x 2.5 m (20 x 8.2 ft), and can carry 20 peopleor 2,000 kg (4,400 lb).
The largestmodel starts at €12,000 (US$13,640), while the second trims thingsdown to €9,000 ($10,230) and a third model, measuring 4 m (13 ft)long, starts at just €6,000 ($6,820).
Not in a hurryto get anywhere? The EcoCraft is a floating platform designed to takeit slow on calm waters, and drink in your surroundings. Its largeU-shaped layout has room for 15 people to lounge around a centraltable, for a game of cards or a casual drink. Even better, thattabletop slides out to reveal a grill for when you get peckish!
The EcoCraft ispowered by an electric outboard motor that recharges through a solarpanel roof, and has GPS to guide you back to shore automatically. Itstarts at €5,000 ($5,680).
With all theseinflatable craft floating around, you're going to need somewhere todock them. YachtBeach is a series of modular, inflatable, floatingplatforms that link together with zippers to form straight, H- orT-shape configurations.
Low, wide andflat, each module measures 4 x 2 m (13.1 x 6.6 ft) and is topped witha solid, removable surface that makes them perfect as temporaryjetties or places to lounge about. The base price is €2,500($2,840) per module.
Things get evenwilder when you look at some of the ideas Hovercraft is floating forthe future. The AirDrive concept study is a case in point. Made of adouble-wall fabric, this inflatable four-wheel drive vehicle is aboutas all-terrain as they come, handling road, rocks, sand, mud, ice andsnow with ease.
But the realkicker? The AirDrive is also amphibious, able to drive straight offthe boat ramp or beach into the water. The large wheels are ringed infins that push it through the water like a paddle steamer, and eachwheel is powered by its own electric motor. The vehicle is big enoughto seat a few people, and can be remotely driven like a drone. Andwhen you're all done, it deflates into a portable package for easytransport and storage.
If you'reafter something a bit smaller and more maneuverable, the AllCart isbasically an amphibious go-cart with inflatable wheels. Like itsbigger cousin, the AllCart can drive and drift on sand, snow, rocksand the surface of the water. It's powered by a single electricmotor and a 4 kW power pack, giving it hours of battery time and aspeed limit that makes it safe for almost anyone to jump behind thewheel.
Also a conceptstudy at this stage, the AllCart is designed purely for fun, makingit the perfect vehicle for resorts or renting to tourists. Tocustomize it to a business, the craft can be ordered with differenttires and power packs, a protective cabin, and the choice of a steelor inflatable frame.
Hovercraftd.o.o. offers R&D and OEM manufacturing in Slovenia. To learnmore about purchasing, customization and partnership opportunitiesvisit the Hovercraft website.