Urban mobility is a crucial challenge in the modern world and will be even more so over the coming years, particularly for local authorities. River-sea passenger transport has experienced an amazing boom over the last few years. While having a private vehicle was once the norm, people’s habits are shifting towards alternative ways of getting around, mainly due to environmental imperatives.
In a similar effort, French startup SeaBubbles has launched France’s first commercial service of its groundbreaking ‘flying’ hydrofoil boat, the Bubble. Following its certification, SeaBubbles’ zero-emission flying hydrofoil boat will ferry passengers on Lake Annecy, France.
By introducing the Bubble as part of a comprehensive transport system, the Grand Annecy is taking a significant step towards creating a cleaner and more efficient future for tourism and mobility.
Operating eight hours per day over a two-month period, the sustainable marine transportation initiative is expected to save an impressive 100 tons of CO2 emissions on Lake Annecy and ease traffic on the shores compared to traditional thermal boats.
The company hasn’t revealed much information about the technical specifications of the boat. What’s known is the 4-5 seat Bubble model is 100% battery-operated and travels at a cruising speed of 12 knots (22 km/h). Able to take off in only 3 seconds, this 5 m x 2.5 m boat employs an electric propulsion system and hydrofoil wings to lift the vessel out of the water, significantly reducing drag and enhancing speed.
The flying hydrofoil boat has an internal layout akin to a small lounge in which the passengers can relax and get away from it all for a while. It is ideal for low-speed areas that require minimal disturbance to the surface of the water.
With its SeaBubbles Mobility Solutions, SeaBubbles offers local authorities an innovative form of collaboration, along with a range of turnkey services to help them develop decarbonized waterborne mobility in their region.
“This initiative marks the start of a major new stage since the SeaBubbles teams joined our territory. We are committed to experimenting with next-generation solutions. This pilot project for carbon-free waterborne mobility is a source of inspiration for inventing tomorrow’s mobility solutions,” explains Frédérique Lardet, President of Grand Annecy.
This is not the first electric hydrofoil on the market. Swedish electric boat maker Candela has been in the market with their electric hydrofoil C-8 since 2021.