Taiga Motors, the Canadian company behind the world’s first electric snowmobiles, unveiled their new electric jetski ‘Orca’ on the Toronto waterfront Tuesday with plans to ship the first production models in Spring 2020.
With two other major companies this year introducing their plans and models for the electrification of jetskis – Nikola in April and SeaDoo a few weeks ago – and Taiga announcing a delivery time, it may be that the time for electric jetskis is about to arrive.
The Orca was a natural for Taiga, because the size, power and battery range of the electric drive platform they developed for snowmobiles made perfect sense for a personal watercraft and gave the designers some freedom from the constraints of a fossil fuel engine in a small craft.
Maybe the biggest advance is a closed loop cooling circuit running through the battery, motor, and inverter which has been tested to maintain temperature regulation from arctic snowmobile conditions to tropical jetski weather.
The lithium-ion battery has 23 kWh of capacity and is sealed and vibration-isolated to operate safely under high shock loads, high humidity environments, and even under temporary submersion. It operates on an automotive standard system voltage of 400 volt and the range is described as ‘up to 2 hours under typical drive conditions’.
High density li-ion for snowmobile and electric jetski
Taiga says that the battery delivers one of the highest energy densities of any electric vehicle and the most specific power for any battery of its size. It can be charged from a regular outlet, standard automotive chargers or by DC fast charging to 80% in 20 minutes.
The light weight of the battery and low profile of the electric power train allowed the designers to lower the seat and the craft’s centre of gravity for better stability and carving on the water. The ‘floating’ seat is suspended and can be adjusted for different riding, water and wave conditions.
With its carbon fibre hull the whole Orca machine weighs in at only 600 lb and the performance package model can generate over 134kW (180hp) and a top speed up to 104km/h (65mph).
While sharing the powertrain architecture with the electric snowmobiles helps with the price, the Orca is priced significantly higher than a standard gas burner, but also adds a lot of enhancements in both operation and design.
Enhancements in operation and design
- The colour integrated digital display between the handlebars is hooked up to an onboard computer offering intelligent connectivity via built in GPS mapping, LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
- A water temperature sensor is optional, along with ability to connect cameras and sonar.The system will also let riders adjust and pre-program a wide range of drive parameters to find their perfect ride.
- As with many electric cars and boats, the Orca’s systems can be updated remotely and automatically.
- Orca will be backed by an industry leading 5 year no-maintenance powertrain warranty and remote diagnostics anywhere they are sold.
- There are ten base colours for the body with what is described as ‘ almost limitless color options with metallic and pristine gloss finishes’.
- Seat upholstery will be available in a variety of durable high-end fabrics and colors.
Full specifications on all aspects for the Orca can be found on their website.
100 Founders Edition models
The first production run of Orca will be limited to 500 with a couple of options available:
The first 100 will be badged ‘Founders Edition’ models and feature exclusive design elements and high-performance packages. Pricing starts at $28,000 USD with delivery to North American customers in summer 2020. The other less feature-rich remaining 400 units will be available for delivery in NA and Europe and start at $24,000 USD.
You can pre-order your Orca on the Taiga website, with $2,000 down for one of the 100 Founders Edition and a $12,000 USD wire transfer in 10 days, or reserve a Limited edition version with a $1,000 deposit.
Following Orca, Taiga has plans to enter the recreational personal watercraft segment with models priced below $14,000 USD and expand their platform to electric inboard and outboard products.