SAN DIEGO— Poseidon AmphibWorks, a transportation technology startup formed by Steve Tice, a developer and electric vehicle enthusiast, and Andy Langesfeld, a captain and consultant on amphibious vehicles, announced plans to launch its new electric high-performance amphibious hydrofoil vehicle, Trident TS-1, with many potential uses. The innovative car-boat hybrid has the potential to be a practical solution for land and water travel, recreation and other operations such as tourism, offering a smooth transition between water and land. The Trident LS-1, a design that is reaching the prototype stage and has been in the works since 2021, will be legal to drive on the highway and land and marine certified for traveling on water.
“Electric marine is growing tremendously around the world because of a couple reasons,” said Tice. “People want to get rid of pollution in the water and in the air [and] electric hydrofoil are the top of the game. Our boat is only electric power, so it is designed to get the boat up out of the water with all electric – no gas – and it allows us to compete against gas boats. Electric hydrofoil is the turning point that allows electric marine to finally compete and displace gas.”
The vessel features “pontoon boat” like features, electric all-wheel drive (AWD) drive, and 5-inch to 12-inch adjustable height suspension, making it “light off-road” capable. The hydrofoil system allows for a smooth and efficient ride on water, providing a unique transportation experience. The body of the amphibious car is comparable in size to a Tesla Model X, making the Trident easy to store in a typical home garage.
As an electric three-wheel reverse trike autocycle, Trident’s powertrain will have a combined projected highway/city range of at least 220 miles, a top speed projected of 100 miles per hour, and an estimated acceleration from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds. Trident’s suspension will be automatically lowered to 5 inches for ground clearance at speeds over 45 mph. Poseidon AmphibWorks is predicting the vehicle will have lower drag and enhanced handling. The interior of the vessel features a center driver seat and two rear seats, as well as a fold-down center seat.
Unlike other electric vehicles on the market, Trident LS-1 will be flat-tow “4-wheel down” capable without a trailer, a feature that will be compatible with the RV target market. The mode is available on the central touchscreen to allow safe flat-towing. According to Poseidon AmphibWorks, RIVIAN electric SUV/pickups, an automotive company known for its electric SUVs and pickups, promised this feature. However, as of the release date, that capability still needs to be supported, and no other EV backs the feature today.
Trident LS-1’s projected range as a watercraft is expected to be 60 miles at 25 mph or 22 nautical miles per hour cruising speed, with lower rates lasting slightly longer but still on foils. The vessel uses strut-mounted hydrofoils that slice through the water, lifting the vehicle out of the water rather than pushing a large hull. This feature allows significantly more battery range on a smaller electric powertrain due to water drag reduction from 60-80% compared to a non-hydrofoil electric monohull boat. Trident is projected to have a top speed of 35 mph without the hydrofoils. When the foils are fully extended, the vessel is expected to endure waves of up to 4 feet. Trident is also envisioned to reduce city commute time by bypassing congested highways in cities constructed with canals and waterways. While being a functional vehicle for the streets, the hydrofoil system will give riders a “magic carpet ride” like transition in most water conditions.
On water or land, soft windows and two retractable soft-tops will keep out the elements when desired. Camping applications will be supported by a modular covered rear deck (seats, tables, other options, etc., can be plugged into different floor locations), with the included sliding soft tops, multi-function tailgate and fold-down side panels for extra space. For “pontoon boating” on calm water, the driver’s seat swivels 180 degrees, the rear middle seat folds down for a fourth person and the rear deck is configurable. In addition, there is an optional camping tent for expanded camping comfort.
Poseidon AmphibWorks is expecting the station-keeping virtual anchor will be a game-changer for users. The four computer-controlled thrusters will keep the Trident in one position and pointing in one selected heading, eliminating the need for a heavy anchor. This feature can be convenient for newer boat captains. The vessel will be equipped with saltwater corrosion-resistant composites and metals like marine aluminum 5xxx and stainless-steel grade 3xx; the composites will be the materials that prolong the life and quality of the vessel. Marine-grade aluminum from the 5xxx series refers to aluminum alloys known for their excellent corrosion resistance, making them particularly well-suited for marine applications whereas marine-grade aluminum alloys from the 3xxx series are known for their excellent weldability, corrosion resistance and formability, making them suitable for various marine applications.
The Trident can be stored in a typical home garage, and unlike a boat, it requires no trailer. As a convertible multi-mode/application amphibious vehicle with user-friendly flight-controlled hydrofoils, the Trident is targeted at a ticket price from $95-100,000.
Trident LS-1 can be registered as a motorcycle or autocycle due to its three wheels and the inclusion of all required features in most regions. This minimizes considerable development costs and regulatory requirements; however, Poseidon AmphibWorks says the vehicle will have advanced safety features as its design is an uncomplicated, non-tilting, reverse trike three-wheeled chassis with a safety cage and one electric motor per wheel.
Users will be able to drive the amphibious car directly into the water from launching ramps. In shallower waters, it can travel like a regular electric boat using all four electric thrusters mounted on the bottom of the retractable foil struts. Once the water is deep enough, the hydrofoils extend down, and at 12 mph, the hull will rise from the water and the flight control system will maintain stability, coordinate banked turns and so forth at speeds of up to 35 mph. Poseidon AmphibWorks is predicting future upgrades that will include automatic docking.
Because water resistance is so great, 60-80% higher than a monohull electric boat, battery-electric boats typically provide little reasonable range when pushing a large hull through the water, unless they have considerable battery packs. Hydrofoils have much less drag because the hull is out of the water. Poseidon AmphibWorks believes LS-1 is the first electric amphibious vehicle to attempt to incorporate hydrofoil technology.
Tice and Langesfeld believe the Trident can potentially impact transportation such as ride-sharing, water taxis and cargo, and also help with bypassing traffic, while benefitting recreational markets and search-and-rescue operations. The San Diego-based startup predicts that amphibious vehicles will be a key component in adapting to a world altered by climate change and can help the economy flourish through recreational and eventually commercial profits.
The company sees a demand for amphibious vehicles that will rise as sea levels do, making dual-role vehicles more of a necessity than a luxury. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and numerous scientific studies have provided evidence and projections showing the trend of rising sea levels. The rate of rise is not uniform globally, with some regions experiencing higher rates of than others due to various factors including local geology, currents and land subsidence.
“Having an amphibious vehicle that can be used for commuting and as family recreation can also be a lifesaver when the unexpected happens,” said Tice, in a statement. He explained though that amphibious vehicles on the market today are all fossil-fuel powered, with limitations. For instance, they might be great for offshore performance, but only legal for light off-road use, or low performance on both water and land, or highway legal, with good performance on water and limited applications. They also are all very expensive.
“The Trident LS-1 represents a new mode of practical future transportation,” he said. “It is a testament to our commitment to creating sustainable, efficient, versatile vehicles that represent a real value proposition to a broader group of customers that will change the way people travel in many (water) adjacent regions.”
Poseidon AmphibWorks believes that if it can get full funding by the end of 2023, that consumers can expect to see a close-to-production prototype of Trident LS-1 within 18 months.
For more information on Poseidon AmphibWorks and Trident LS-1, please visit https://poseidonamphibworks.com.