Tesla’s former Head of Global Manufacturing launches first electric boat

The all-electric Revolution 30 (R30) from Blue Innovations Group (BIG) is a 30 foot (9.1 m) overnighter with triple fold-out decks at the stern, a kitchenette, enclosed head, and dining area that drops down to create a double berth.

It is the brainchild of John Vo, who led Tesla manufacturing during its critical growth phase between 2011 and 2017. In addition to that, he has both academic and business credentials in a variety of disciplines that are critical to electric boat building and design: semiconductors solar energy and solar panels and batteries.

Vo founded BIG in 2021 in Pinellas Park, Florida, to capitalize on the area’s innovative workforce and local support for high-tech manufacturing, as well as its strong marine sector. The firm quickly attracted high-tech talent from global EV and battery development companies and built a core development team.

The first design of the R30 was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January 0f 2023 and the launch of the R30 took place just 11 months later – December 16 – in the waters of Tampa Bay.

The R30 has twin inboard motors of 300 kiloWatts each, for a total 600 kW – approximately 800 peak horsepower. The LiFeP04 battery, specifically designed for marine use, stores 221 kiloWatt hours of electricity.

That enables a top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) and in favourable conditions, running at a third to just less than half that speed (15-20 mph / 24 – 32 km/h), the company estimates a run time of 6-8 hours.

There are three ways to charge the BIG R30

  1. Blue Fast Charger (BFC) has been developed by the company to provide 80% charge in 45 minutes and is compatible with most 350 kW DC fast chargers.
  2. Home or Marina Shore Power provides an 80% charge overnight.
  3. Solar charging is done via photovoltaic panels on the roof (total 2.8 kiloWatts peak) and can provide up to 50% charge in one week.

Vo’s technical and production experience in batteries and EVs has obviously been a great asset in developing the R30, but he says the fact that he has not been involved in electric boats before has also been a benefit in the hull, deck and interior design. It has allowed fresh designs to emerge without any ‘experts’ saying ‘it can’t be done.’ 

To start with, rather than building a boat and then deciding to add a motor and battery, the R30 is literally built around the battery, or batteries. They are totally integrated with the aluminum hull.

From there the idea was to make the R30 not ‘a boat’ but a place to live – and work – on the water. The cabin has been designed as a climate controlled overnight space comfortable for a small family that is equally adept at being an entertainment room for movies and karaoke or an office for conference calls.

One of the most striking things about the R30 is its ‘Ocean Deck. At the touch of a button the hull walls at the stern and the transom wall fold down to create a huge flat open area that can be used for dining, lounging or swimming. The kitchenette has a fridge, sink and sinktop and the terrace makes it easy to get back on the boat after a refreshing dip.

The helm of the R30 Helm has a digital screen interface that combines the instrument cluster, chart plotter and media system all into one experience. Everything can be updated over the air.

BIG is planning to build 10 to 15 R30s in 2024 and increase production to 300 to 500 unit per year. The estimated price is US$345,000 and reservations are now being taken under two options. Those placing a $5,000 reservation – what the company refers to as the ‘BIG’ reservation, will receive one of the first 100 R30s. A $1,000 reservation has been named the BLUE reservation. After the first 100 boats production capacity will be split half and half between BIG and BLUE reservations. The first BIG deliveries are scheduled for Q3 2024.

BIG and BLUE reservations can be made on the Blue Innovations Group website:

Blue Innovations Group

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One thought on “Tesla’s former Head of Global Manufacturing launches first electric boat

  • March 2, 2024 at 6:24 am
    Permalink

    Looks very good, interesting boat.

    Reply

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