Here's one area where electric power—when properly applied—already has clear benefits over its old-school internal combustion counterpart. At least that's the claim of the Silveira Group, a "design and composites" company based in Ohio.
The group is currently perfecting the Green Samba, an electric jet ski that has a claimed top speed of 65 miles per hour and superior maneuverability. The Green Samba uses dual direct drive propulsion pods that leave no emissions in the water, and actually produce no noise.
While developing the Green Samba, Silveira concentrated on increasing the power-to-weight ratio—taking steps to improve efficiency—rather than pushing for pure power. So while the electric jet ski only has 65 bhp on-board, the design group claims it can compete with internal combustion jet skis that produce 256 bhp. Even better, the projected battery life is around 3 hours, which is apparently longer than your typical hi-power gasoline jet ski.
How is this possible? Aside from the carbon composite construction allowing lighter weight, Silveria said they decided to rethink the traditional power configuration of jet skis. The group realized during R & D that a dual-drive configuration creates better efficiency and improve maneuverability.
Now Silveria has the power train down, they're currently perfecting the control scheme with the next prototype. Scheduled for construction sometime this August, this phase of the development process also represents the last step before actual mass production and market debut. So unless the company schedule changes, expect pricing info by the end of August 2010.