You know the electric revolution is for real when the renewable energy, emissions free movement comes to personal watercraft. At the University of Western Australia, Professor Thomas Braunl, director of the Renewable Energy Vehicle Project, has guided the quest to make an electric jet ski for the past two and a half years. “Most people hate jet skis because of their pollution and their noise and with the electric jet ski we’ve taken away these two negatives,” he tells ABC Australia.
The battery powered watercraft has a 50 kilowatt electric motor and two batteries that are mounted inside a watertight housing. “We’re dealing with really high currents and reasonably high voltages and we don’t want anyone to get hurt in any way,” says Alex Beckley, who worked on the original design. “So each step of the project, everything’s been made sure it’s waterproof, double waterproof and so on and so forth. It’s been a slow process but to see it today out in the water is a dream come true.”
The batteries take about 3 hours to recharge on household current but less than 10 minutes using a DC fast charger. The project has cost the university a modest $15,000 in funding so far.
Alex Beckley says the electric jet ski is surreal to drive. “When you first get on it. You switch it on. There’s no sound, there’s no fanfare to say that it’s on and you just throttle up and you’re moving,” he said. “It’s a really strange experience, having driven conventional jet skis.”
There are no plans to put the electric jet ski into production, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that any number of jet ski manufacturers would be interested in building it. And there are lots of people who live on lakes, rivers, and alongside the ocean who wish they would hurry up and do it, so they don’t have to listen to these annoying little buzz boxes all summer long!
Photo Credit: ABC Australia