Manta5 SL3 pedal-electric hydrofoil sports a throttle and easier launches
What do you get when cross an ebike with a hydrofoil? That would be the Manta5, which we first heard about back in 2017. The 2nd-gen model has now been announced, and it features a new throttle-only mode, along with a much quicker learning curve.
Manufactured by New Zealand-based company Manta5, the original version of the vehicle incorporated a set of pedals that spun up a propeller which moved the vehicle forward. The rider's pedaling power was augmented by an electric motor, allowing the Manta5 to go fast enough to rise up and plane across the water on its front and rear hydrofoil "wings."
Announced this Tuesday (Oct. 12th), the second-generation SL3 model works in the same fashion, but it now also has a no-pedaling-required throttle mode. This feature is intended to position it as a quiet, non-polluting alternative to more traditional PWCs (personal watercraft, aka "jet skis").
And while the original XE-1 version – which is still available – reportedly took around three hours to learn to ride, the SL3's Easy Launch tech is claimed to get riders up and foiling after only about 40 minutes of practice.
This is made possible by a combination of an easier-to-mount chassis; a front-foil tiller that automatically locks at the perfect angle for take-off, then releases once foiling; and use of the throttle-only mode when launching, so riders don't have to think about pedaling. Additionally, tilt sensors immediately cut power to the propeller when a fall is detected.
The specs list starts with the SL3's buoyant monocoque composite chassis, which can be user-disassembled for transit and storage. Depending on the mode selected, it's propelled either partly or entirely by a 2,500-watt electric motor.
On the base SL3 model, the motor is powered by a 52V/600-Wh lithium-ion battery, one 4-hour charge of which is reportedly good for three hours of runtime – that figure is based on pedal-assist mode, with the lowest amount of assistance selected (there are 10 to choose from). The SL3+ and SL3 Pro models have a 1,000-Wh battery, which is claimed to be good for around 4.5 hours.
All three models have a top speed (throttle or pedal-assist) of 20 km/h (12 mph), and are designed to cruise at 11 km/h (7 mph). They weigh in at 38.8 kg/85 lb (SL3), 40.3 kg/88 lb (SL3+) and 37.4 kg/81 lb (SL3 Pro). The Pro comes with a performance-oriented carbon fiber rear foil, which can be swapped for the more beginner-friendly aluminum foil as the rider's skills progress.
The Manta5 company no longer sells direct to consumers, so prospective buyers should contact a regional distributor for exact pricing. That said, we're told that pricing is typically in the US$7,000 to $9,000 range, and that American and European distributors should have stock available in time for next summer.
You can see the SL3 in action, in the video below.
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