The Hybrid Hovercraft That Gen-X Dreams are Made Of

Michael Mercier is an industrial designer. A talented one. He is, in fact, the industrial designer behind the slick and sexy concept hovercraft you see here. It has an exterior inspired by exotic Italian sportscars and features a unique gas-electric hybrid drivetrain that allows for continuous thrust, while keeping enough “in reserves” for the short bursts of power necessary for quick maneuvering. Mercier’s design is lightweight and promises to be quieter than existing hovercraft. You can get an idea of how it turns power into go, below.

With all that tech and design talent behind the idea, Michael hopes that, one day, his gas/electric hybrid Mercier-Jones hovercraft will be as popular as ATVs or personal watercraft. Talented as he is, however, Mercier is a fool.

Hear me out. I’m not saying Mercier isn’t a brilliant designer or that the hovercraft won’t work (I’m sure it’ll “work” as well as any hovercraft has actually “worked”), it’s just that, to excite the hearts and minds of the Gen-Xers hitting their prime earning years, he needs to play on a little bit of nostalgia. Specifically, this nostalgia.

See what I mean? No matter how awesome the thing sounds (that’s a big-inch Harley V-twin back there), or how green this amphibious hybrid’s spec-sheet is (Mercier claims his hovercraft will mate the V-twin to an electric generator, which will power the fans and direct the thrust), nobody wants a slow car that turns into a slow boat that they can park on the beach … unless they’re motherf***ing Cutter and they’re positively STORMING that beach like it’s Normandy on D-Day yelling “Yo Joe!” and firing paintballs (at least!) into the enemy flanks frightening the locals.

If your childhood was terrible and you don’t know what I’m talking about, CLICK HERE … possibly HERE.

Mercier and his Frosted-Flake lovin’ cousin Jones (the second half of Mercier-Jones) can be seen pitching their hovercraft concept in an IndieGoGo video, below, in a bid to raise enough capital to move forward …

… if they’re successful in raising enough capital (50,000 USD), Mercier-Jones plan to build the vehicles (*ahem*) by hand, just outside of Chicago. With Chicago’s high taxes, cost of living, overhead, and unions to cover, expect these things to be Seriously expensive if/when they ever make it to production. Mercier, however, seems untroubled by such things. “Anyone considering the purchase of a jet-ski, airboat, small motor boat, snowmobile or even an ATV could potentially consider a hovercraft as a more versatile alternative,” says Mercier. “I also envision the Mercier-Jones hovercraft being purchased by vacation resort companies and rental companies for use by their guests or customers.”

All-terrain capability, no national safety standards, whirling blades of metal death just behind the seats … I dunno, man. I don’t see high-end hotels taking on the liability. Nobody asked me, though. With that, then, I’ll wish these kids the best of luck, and see if dad still has my Killer Whale up in the attic or something. That thing probably needs a cleaning!

Source | Photos: Mercier-Jones, via Wired.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.