Vector

The Concept

The Vector is a compact hydrofoil that uses an electric motor combined with a water turbine to ride over the water at high speed. It would be powered by batteries or an optional two-stroke engine running on hydrogen gas.

The Background

The Vector’s hull is inspired in part by the Mach 2.3 from McDougall McConaghy. Hydrofoil technology, materials, and navigation controls have improved dramatically over the last ten years, and I think it would be interesting to develop a really fast (100 kph) personal watercraft using these kind of technologies on personal watercrafts.

How it Works

A powerful electric motor would drive a water turbine located under the pilot’s seat to propel the Vector. A water intake would siphon water from the rear keel and eject it similar to the OU-32 prototype. The inner portion of the rear keel would be hollow direct water to the impeller, and the shape of that keel would be engineered to minimize drag.

The Vector’s energy supply would come from ion-lithium batteries located inside the vehicle. The charger could be installed on the owner’s dock to save mass or on the watercraft. Alternatively, the Vector could be fitted with a two-stroke combustion engine modified to burn hydrogen.

We know this modification works because in 2012, two researchers from the University of Sherbrooke successfully modified an Evinrude outboard engine so that it would burn hydrogen instead of gasoline. They used existing parts and modified the injection system to work with gaseous hydrogen. They also modified the cylinders to improve combustion, but most parts on the engine remained stock parts.

The hydrofoil system could use a small ‘pilot rod’ located at the bow that would control the angle of the frontal foil. When the craft is in the water, the frontal foil would be angled to create upward movement. As the crafts gains speed, it would start to lift out of the water, and when it reaches a certain height above the water line, the mechanical reader would maintain the Vector in a lifted position by releasing the pressure on the front foil.

The Vector’s shape would resemble that of a superbike, with a long and narrow profile to reduce friction on the water. Turning would be achieved using the body weight of the driver (leaning) and by modulating the front keel’s angle.

Ideally, the Vector would be equipped with retractable keels that kick up if you hit bottom or simply when you need to trailer it to the water. The impracticality of hydrofoils was always their downfall more than any performance or efficiency issue.

Market Potential

There is a demand for new type of efficient personal watercraft like the Vector. Electric hydrofoil surfboards are gaining attention on the market each year. They only have one foil like an air chair/ SkySki and require the rider to provide 100% of the balance while the foil is borne.

The Vector would offer an easier ride: a sit-down version that’s more stable to ride and easier to dock. It would not emit any CO2, and it could harness the sun or the wind to recharge its batteries at the dock. It would be built with strong and lasting materials, so you could keep it in the family for a very long time.

The Designer

The Vector concept was designed by Jorge Ciprian, an Industrial Designer from Argentina. Jorge graduated with a degree in design from the University of Buenos Aires. He currently works as freelance designer. He also designed the Phantor surveillance robot for Imaginactive. I would also like to thank Robert Innes from Jetavation. Rob gave me some feedback on the Vector concept and also contributed to inspire other Imaginactive concepts like the Arrow urban monocar.