Oct 20, 2022 - Business

Electric boating company makes Austin push

Arc Boat's first all-electric prototype, the Arc One, will be available for demo rides in Austin. Photo courtesy of Arc Boat Company

Electric boating company Arc Boats will bring an early prototype boat to Austin on Friday, aiming to increase its customer base in Texas.

Why it matters: Like automobiles, motorcycles and small airplanes, boats are beginning to go electric, which could make lakes and rivers more serene — and less polluted.

  • In boating-friendly Central Texas, Arc Boats and similar tech companies could change the future of waterways.
  • Yes, but: Some of our lakes are disappearing.

The big picture: Electric boats have their pluses and minuses, writes Axios' Joann Muller.

  • While quiet and efficient, they require a tremendous amount of energy to propel themselves through the water.
  • That means they need a gigantic, heavy battery and can't go very far or very fast — a killjoy for speed-boating enthusiasts.

But the traditional option — gas boats — are a tremendous pain to own.

  • "They're really expensive to operate, you have to winterize the engine, they're noisy and unreliable, the fumes are noxious and they're annoying to maintain," says Mitch Lee, a lifelong water skier who is the co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Arc Boats.
  • Filling them with gas is expensive too — perhaps one reason that some boat owners never leave the dock.
  • "Taking a boat out on the lake for a day is easily going to cost at least $100," Lee says.

Details: The company was founded in January 2021 by a team of former SpaceX engineers.

  • The company's first boat, the all-electric Arc One, combines a lightweight aluminum hull with a gigantic 220 kWh battery — three times the size of the battery in a Tesla Model Y — integrated into the floor.
  • The Arc One, which has a top speed of 40mph and costs $300,000, is on sale now with first deliveries expected this year.
  • The boat, which can be used for three to five hours before needing a charge, fits 12 people.

What's next: Austinites interested in taking a demo ride between Oct. 21-30 can sign up here.


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