A hovercraft: not many people have traveled with one, but they are certainly not devices that are stuck in the last century. A new one has even been developed that can be compared to a beautiful supercar: the VonMercier Arosa. So we can say that hovercrafts have not stuck around. In fact, that Arosa is electric.
Hovercrafts were invented in the 1950s. Many people were working on them, but Christopher Cockerell is considered the father of the hovercraft. Instead of hovercraft, the word air cushion craft is often used, because it is actually more of a cushion of air than it is a device that floats by itself: it needs that air.
In a hovercraft, an engine sucks in air, with the pressure of the air cushion underneath being good. For example, a hovercraft can ‘float’ a few centimeters above land or water and that goes quite quickly, because you have no resistance from the ground. Hovercrafts have also been widely used in the military since the 1960s, because they are fast and can hold their own on both water and land.
A great invention, the motor of which can now also be operated electrically. And whose design is certainly not always some kind of donut or square colossus. The Arosa proves this, which looks like a kind of hovercraft supercar. A… supercraft? The glider uses carbon, which makes it nice and light, although there are wooden details for a more nautical, luxurious look. The device whizzes in a video over snow, over water, over grass: it doesn’t matter. The device can cruise at 32 kilometers per hour, but if you want the harder work, it can do 80 kilometers per hour.
That power is generated by three engines that together make 240 horsepower. However, it cannot go very far: the battery has 18 or 36 kWh and with that you can go 65 kilometers or 130 kilometers with the hovercraft. You simply charge at a charging station where you would also charge a Tesla or other electric car.
Would you like a hovercraft like that? For the Arosa you have to pay approximately 1,000 euros in advance: the total cost is 186,000 euros. You spend 232,000 euros for the luxury version of the hovercraft. It is unknown whether a lot of maintenance is involved, but hovercrafts generally seem to make too much noise. There was a plan to use hovercraft in the Wadden area, but that was canceled partly due to the noise (and the fact that hovercraft do not thrive in wind and waves). Electric motors would take away some of the noise, but as you can hear in the videos, the sound is clearly present. But if they look this cool and are also electric… Who knows, maybe a new era will emerge for this ‘last century’ discovery.