Taiga Motors, a Montreal starter over the last few years, has tackled the difficult task of electrifying snowmobiles, but is now turning its attention to making cleaner, more serene personal watercraft. The company unveiled an expensive new Jet Ski-style watercraft called the Orca at an event in Toronto on Tuesday night that can last up to two hours at full charge.
The Orca has a top speed of 65 miles per hour and has 134kW of power (about 180 horsepower) on offer, which sounds like it will turn into a fun ride. The 23kWh battery can be charged in standard or level 2 (240V) terminals or faster with a fast DC charger (0 to 80 percent in 20 minutes), provided owners can find one of those are close to the water (or with enough space for a truck and trailer).
Taiga Motors says a lot of effort has been made to build a back battery that not only can withstand the penalty of driving up to 65 miles per hour of open water, but also one that will not lose its total capacity if harvested for the winter. In addition, owners will not be required to suffer from the time-consuming "winterization" process as there are fewer moving parts. All Orcas will come with a five-year warranty of 20,000 kilometers (approximately 1
Orca has a waterproof digital display between the handlebars where riders can use what sounds like quite a bit of technology, like GPS maps, LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, information from built-in water temperature sensors and channels from on-board cameras and a sonar block. And it would not be a modern mobility machine without the accompanying smartphone app and the ability to receive live updates, both of Taiga Motors' promises will accompany Orca.
However, none of this comes cheap, as Taiga Motors is aiming for a whopping $ 24,000 for Orca when it launches in 2020 (For reference, Kawasaki sells Jet Ski watercraft that range between about $ 10,000 and $ 18,000.) Following in the footsteps of automotive startups like Tesla and NIO, Taiga Motors will also sell the more expensive "founding edition" Orca for $ 28,000, which has unspecified "exceptional design elements and high-performance packages." "
Part of that price comes from the fact that Orca's body is made entirely of carbon fibers that Taiga Motors probably needed to use to help maintain weight. Even with carbon fiber, Orca weighs 580 pounds – nearly half (275 pounds) comes from the battery alone. Those who buy Orca will, at the very least, be able to customize almost anything about its appearance, from the colors of the watercraft to its completion, to the shade and texture of the mat.
Taiga Motors is unlikely to find a huge audience for a personal watercraft worth $ 24,000, and even if it does, large-scale production can be a huge drain on the resources of a small company. So Taiga Motors says it will only build 400 standard Orcas, and including the founder edition, only 500 will be made in total. The startup says it is already planning next-generation electric waterboats that start under $ 14,000, and says it is developing both inboard and outboard electric motors.
Taiga Motors is not the only company entering the electric space for personal watercraft, but most others have not yet left the concept phase. (In fact, the most popular one that appeared before Orca's announcement came earlier this year from the launch of Nikola Motor Company electric trucks, which only showed its concept after acquiring another startup in this space. )  But if Taiga Motors sticks to this ambitious timeline, it may be one of the first to step down from the idea – a startup sounds very aware. "This is the first step in Taiga's mission to accelerate the mass adoption of electrical alternatives on the market," the company wrote in a press release. "The owners of Orca will proudly take their place in history as they have made the transition to better water sports."