by Ziad Taha
Just another personal watercraft (PWC)? Certainly not. Taiga’s Orca’s suspended “floating” seat design betrays how this one has no engine and instead relies on electric power for a quiet yet powerful ride.
Taiga’s Orca isn’t cheap – at 24,000 USD (for the carbon vesion) – but it’s the world’s first fully electric personal watercraft and is made in Canada by a start-up that also makes electric snowmobiles. Deliveries start in summer 2020.
It’s made entirely from carbon fibre (so as to offset the weight of its 23kWh battery pack), can hit a top speed of 55 knots and has a range of two hours. Best of all it comes with a five-year, 20,000-kilometre warranty.
The battery pack delivers 134kW of power (about 180 horsepower) and can be recharged on 120V AC, 240 VAC, and most rapidly via a DC fast charger (from 0 to 80 per cent in 20 minutes).
The 23kWh battery pack hasn’t just been built to withstand the punishment of riding at almost 105km/h on open water, but so as to also not lose capacity when stowed away for long periods at a time.
The waterproof digital display between the handlebars is LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled and offers access to GPS maps, radios as well as information from embedded water temperature sensors and a sonar unit.
The Orca requires no maintenance and instead it will, like Teslas, receive regular over-the-air software updates via Wi-Fi, which add new features and enhance existing functionality.