Electric hydrofoil finally ready to skim the waves
Straddling the line between inspired and insane, the Quadrofoil Q2 is a two-seater, four-legged hydrofoil watercraft that has a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). Four years in the making and expected to ship early last year, the watercraft is finally reported ready for production.
Quadrofoil likens the Q2 to having the agility of a go-kart, with a steering radius of 7 m (23 ft). The firm says it's possible to make sharp turns at high speeds and that the Q2 will hold its line without drifting off course. It is propelled by an electric outboard motor that kicks out 3.7 kW or 5.5 kW depending on the model.
The motor gets its juice from 5.2-kWh lithium-ion battery packs, the number of which vary depending of the model. Charging is reported to take three to four hours and provide 80 km (50 mi) of range, with a battery management system that continuously monitors their usage and uses algorithms to optimize power delivery. The lack of emissions means that the Q2 can be used in places that gas-powered watercraft are not allowed.
The craft's hull, formed of composite materials, is said by Quadrofoil to be "almost unsinkable," by virtue of an airtight upper section. The firm says it was inspired by trimaran speed boats, air fighters and race cars and designed the craft to be stable, to have good hydrodynamic and aerodynamic performance and to help with handling.
The c-shaped hydrofoil legs are made of aluminum alloy so as to be light, strong and resistant to corrosion, and retract at the touch of a button for negotiating shallow water.
Inside, Quadrofoil promises "a high-end ergonomic cockpit," with all basic functions easily in reach and a Formula One-inspired steering wheel that has a color touchscreen display. Seating is designed for comfort and visibility, with the passenger seat positioned behind the pilot's.
The entry level Q2, the Q2A, features the 3.7-kW electric motor and a single 5.2 kWh battery pack. It is 3,532-mm (139-in) long, 2,593-mm (102-in) wide and 2,085-mm (82-in) tall, with a weight of 295 kg (650 lb). The higher-specced Q2S is the same size but weighs 335 kg (739 lb). It also offers more power and a longer range, with the 5.5-kW motor and two 5.2 kWh battery packs.
The delay in bringing the Q2 to production is said to have been due to Quadrofoil's engineers testing, reviewing, upgrading and fine-tuning the original prototype. Now, however, the company says it is ready for production and that deliveries of a Q2S limited edition version will begin in March 2017. Prices begin at €19,950 (US$20,800). The Q2A will follow in early 2018.
The video below shows the Quadrofoil Q2S Electric in action.