Making Electric Waves
Chris Anthony was -- in his own words -- a bored stock broker who decided to create a recreational powerboat around the sport of wake boarding. Along the way, he met the creator of the Aptera 2e and his life and boat suddenly got plugged-in.
The EPIC 23v is a high-powered, gasoline-sucking wave-maker designed to throw as much water up and out behind its composite hull as possible, giving avid wake boarders just the thrill they crave. It is to waterskiing what snowboarding is to Alpine skiing. It's for the young with knees that can take the pounding.
But like any powered water sport, it can consume lots of petroleum and that poses problems for owners and for Anthony and his company. As the price of gasoline and diesel goes up, the funds available to run the boat or buy one, start to dry up. Then there's the pollution issue of spilling fuel and venting exhaust gases into the marine environment.
But the southern Californian didn't start considering looking for alternatives until he met Steve Fambro, the originator and founder of Aptera, the company developing the groundbreaking three-wheeler that looks part dolphin, part airplane. Fambo had come seeking advice on composite technology from which to form the Aptera Typ-1 prototype, a knowledge Anthony had mastered in developing his wake boats. It was that relationship and the quest for an electric-drive train for the car, that stimulated interest in creating a hybrid electric drive to power wake boats. Electric boats and hybrid marine craft aren't new. Submarines have been hybrid-electric for more than a century. Also located in southern California, Duffy Boats have been turning out electric runabouts for years.
What sets Epic Boats apart is that the 23e is the first to adapt the plug-in hybrid strategy now being adapted by carmakers. The 23e can run for an hour full-out on electric power only, or 3-4 hours at tamer (wakesurfing) speeds. Operate it for the typical weekend of wakeboarding and Epic says the boat will consume 50% less fuel. If you don't have a 110v or 220v outlet available dockside, the integrated generator takes only an hour to recharge the battery pack, which will be offered in various kWh size options. The top-of-the-line model costs $150,000, about twice the cost of the conventional Epic 23v. Smaller battery packs will drop the cost to as low as $120,000. Ideally, Anthony sees an 23e owner having a boathouse on which are mounted solar panels that can charge the boat's advance battery packs.
In this 20-minute MP3 interview, Anthony talks about how the 23e came about, as well as its relationship with the Aptera 2e. Use either of the two MP3 players above to listen to the conversation, or download the file to your computer for transfer to your favorite MP3 device.