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Ghost Tree, Here We Come…Well, Maybe…

Environmentally Friendly PWC Has Zero Emissions

| posted on July 22, 2010

Barrett Taylor and the crew at ECO have developed an environmentally friendly PWC that has zero emissions and no sound. On the surface this seems like a no-brainer. Surfers have been leading the enviro-conscious movement for decades. We thought we should check into the Eco Watercraft and talk with Barrett Taylor to find out more about this exciting environmental PWC improvement.

Barrett, the concept of an environmentally friendly PWC seems like something that makes a ton of sense. You have a YouTube video making the rounds, which is interesting, but for those that haven’t seen it, give us a quick overview of the Eco Watercraft.

This is the first of its kind, a fully electric PWC that runs on a few hundred pounds of lithium-ion batteries. They are fully sealed, waterproof, airtight, and destruction proof. We think it is the future of PWC. It has zero emissions. It is completely silent. When you are done using it, you pull it up to the dock and plug it into a solar-powered generator.

How long does it take to fully charge the Eco Watercraft?

On a 240-volt it takes about three hours, on a 120-volt it could take up to six hours. The average rider uses their ski about 15 times a year. Of course, if you could use it everyday that would be great too, just charge it overnight.

Surfers put their lives on the line with gas powered PWCs at Mavericks, Jaws, and other spots all around the world. Plus lifeguards around the world use the PWC for lifesaving. Can the Eco Watercraft compete with a gas-powered PWC in regards to acceleration, torque, top speeds in critical situations, and safety?

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Tesla electric car, but it can really take-off, it has 100 percent torque all the time. The electric components in our Eco Watercraft are similar, and we have unlimited power from the get-go. It can take off, and top speeds will be at 65 mph. Prototype No. 1 that we developed was actually able to reach a 50 mph speed, and we are in the process of building the ECO prototype No. 2, which will be the luxury model. This machine will be able to go 60+ mph and will have a longer run time than a gasoline version. Three hours run time at cruising speeds, but at the higher speeds it will run well over an hour. We are still doing some experimentation with the ECO and gasoline versions. We want the specs to exceed the gasoline version, and so far we have achieved the majority of specs.

As far as pickup, as you might know, electric vehicles have 100 percent torque anytime needed. That means when going 40 mph you could accelerate 100 percent up to your desired speed. We believe we will have a tremendous advantage for lifeguards and national parks. The hull design will be equal to or superior to what is out currently. We cannot disclose exact materials, but we are looking at producing an ECO-friendly hull with some carbon fiber to lighten the ski. The next video we have out will have big-wave surfers proving that this is the case.

To somebody who isn’t mechanically inclined, who does the technology work, in layman’s terms?

The ECO runs off a large number of lithium-ion batteries connected to a controller, which regulates the amount of power supplied to the motor. There is a potentiometer, which is sort of like a gas pedal—in this case, the throttle, which is what tells the controller how much power to take from the batteries and deliver to the motor, which in turn drives the impeller. The impeller is a propeller that is inside the boat, which is equal to a jet system, which is why they are called Jet Skis.

Who do you have testing it out?

Well, we are actively looking right now. We’ve got e-mails suggesting we should get Laird Hamilton. We are looking for a surfer that is actively pursuing the “green” lifestyle.

Well, all surfers are going to say that they are “green.” Machado, Laird, the Malloys. They all make sense. You’d be hard pressed to find a surfer that is not “green.”

Well we need some big-name surfers. We will have some prototypes for big-wave venues, and at Ironman venues, and even some Jet Ski competitions. So the enthusiasts, the guys that are used to riding on the best equipment in the world, they will be able to test it and either completely bash it or completely talk it up. It is a unique experience. It is completely silent. No sound.

I would say that most surfers would want this PWC completely charged and at top power for at least six hours. Same with lifeguards.

Well, nobody is going full bore all the time for six hours. But yeah, it will be fully powered until it is dead. And, of course, there will be instruments that notify you. There will be safety features that give you a heads up. We are even thinking about solar powered lily pads that you can throw out on the water and charge up with.

Wow, that sounds like version 2.0. Barrett, as you know, the area where a lot of California big-wave surfing takes place, NOAA’s Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, does not allow for PWC use. There are some waivers for Mavericks. If the National Weather Service issues a high-surf warning from November through February, I believe then you can take out a PWC, but only at Half Moon Bay. Do you think the Eco Watercraft will help ease these restrictions, and open up the entire area?

I graduated from ASU with an environmental degree. The first thing is emissions and pollution. We’ve eliminated that. I have received e-mail from people that are worried about seals. We are looking into sonar to notify the surface inhabitants. An after-market kit that you can slap on it and this will notify sea life. As it is now, there is still plenty of vibration—even though the Eco Watercraft is completely silent, there is sufficient vibration from the craft to notify sea life.

Well, we look forward to seeing how your product works out. Thanks for your time.

Right on, Scott. Thanks for contacting us, and I’ll be sure to give you a call for a test run.

  • Diane Tippytoe

    boom goes the room!