See an electric 'flying water taxi' skim the San Francisco Bay

Originally published at: See an electric 'flying water taxi' skim the San Francisco Bay | Boing Boing


Hydrofoils are fun to ride. Nice to see this is an electric one.

Forlanini’s hydrofoil over Lake Maggiore, 1906 (or 1910).


capable of an impressive 75 miles on a single eight-hour charge

But how far really, under real-world conditions? I haven’t used an electric vehicle yet that holds up to the distance claims.


We went to Japan in 2018 and while we were in Fukuoka on the west coast of Honshu, we decided to take the Beetle ferry to visit South Korea (since we were in the neighbourhood). The Beetle ferry is a hydrofoil that you need to be in a five-point harness for as passengers, just in case evasive actions is to be taken to avoid whales and dolphins. It flies along at about 100 km/h


Are Navier trying to imply that they have just invented the hydrofoil?

As the article you linked to makes clear, they are out by over 120 years. This is not the first hydrofoil craft, not the first hydrofoil ferry, not even the first electric hydrofoil.

Is this one of Candela’s vessels?

Alexander Graham Bell’s hydrofoil on Bras D’Or Lake, Nova Scotia, circa 1919.


They appear to be quite similar, if not “the same”. :man_shrugging:



I’m also wondering why this company needs until 2035 to “make its mark.” This ain’t sci fi no mo.


Hydrofoils don’t require glassy smooth water, but if they’re going to run as taxis, can they handle the roughest water in the Bay?

1 Like

Right? That’s longer than the time between the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk and the dawn of the first airmail service. And this design is entirely comprised of mature technologies!


I wonder how (or if) this hydrofoil deals with the issue of striking Sea Lions or Harbor Seals? The SF Bay is full of them, and I would guess that contact with the leading edge of a submerged hydrofoil would be more dangerous for both the animal and the boat than contact with a slower-moving conventional boat hull would be.


Regent looks more interesting for electric water taxi. Also uses hydrofoils, but it doesn’t stay on them. Instead it’s a WIG. So much faster yet, with more range, and projected to be available sooner.


I’ve already seen hydrofoils on the Bay.

Team New Zealand’s AC72 at the 2013 America’s Cup, San Francisco Bay.


ETNZ developed a hydrogen powered chase boat that did over 5 hours at 28 knots.

The video was from May 2022. I saw it on the hard in May 2023 stripped of its graphics. I hope the program keeps going.

Of course the really interesting foilers are all the wind, wave and human powered craft.

Indeed, an animal wouldn’t fare well in a strike. Anything causing a sudden loss of lift results in a hard stop for the boat. The passengers keep going for a split second longer until they stop suddenly as well.


In the late 70’s, I used to watch the SeaFlite Hydrofoil ferry come in to Honolulu harbor. The thing would come zooming in the the harbor at full speed heading for the dock - you would swear it was going to collide with it - then just cut power. It would instantly lose lift, settle into the water and come to almost a complete stop and gently dock.
I never got tired of watching that.


It sure smells like it. Unfortunately, their marketing people went way overboard. If they were smarter, I believe they could have acknowledged having to stand on the shoulders of giant whilst more modestly pointing up the “improvements” made (which seem to be more about long-range and control software). Go to their site then click “N30”.


In their defense, the company’s name is such an acknowledgment. Per one of the linked articles in the original post:


“Brought up” on Navier-Stokes equations here! :grin:

IMHO, “acknowledgement” would have pointed to Enrico Forlanini.

Back when Hong Kong was British and Macau was Portuguese, I took a massive hydrofoil ferry between the two.

Hell yeah ground-effect vehicles. I can’t remember if it was someone here or just a youtube suggestion That led me to watching stuff about the ekranoplan…

1 Like