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Transportation Technology

Commercial Amphibious Vehicle Is Part ATV Part Jet Ski 76

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that a new vehicle could soon be zooming out of James Bond's garage — or pond — as the Quadski, a one-person all-terrain vehicle that doubles as a personal watercraft, is being billed by its makers as the first high-speed, commercially available amphibious vehicle. Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. by the end of this year for around $40,000, the four-cylinder, BMW-supplied engine can drive up to 45 miles per hour on land and do a brisk 45 miles per hour in the water (video). 'You just drive straight into the water, quite fast, and keep on going. It's sort of magic,' says Alan Gibbs, the founder of Gibbs Sports Amphibians. The company is also preparing to introduce the Phibian, a 30-foot long, 6.5-ton model, and the Humdinga, a 22-foot, 3.5-ton model, which are both intended for the military and first responders. The company plans to produce 20 Quadskis per day with 150 employees when the plant is in full operation and expects to sell around 1,000 Quadskis in the first year. 'We'll respond to how the market develops,' says Gibbs. 'We wouldn't be doing it without being very confident people will love them.'"
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Commercial Amphibious Vehicle Is Part ATV Part Jet Ski

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  • man I saw the videos yesterday...

    looks like it would be great for out in the bush up here in Alaska!!!

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:11AM (#41667531) Homepage
    Enclose the cockpit, add some seat belts and safety features and that would be a heck of a commuter car for people who live someplace like Seattle. No more ferry lines!
    • by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:13AM (#41667543) Journal

      Add blackjack and hookers and a Starbucks.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They do - it's called the Aquada. It would save me crazy amounts of time driving through rather than around all the lakes around here. Unfortunately it looks like they have run into regulatory issues with it - http://www.autoblog.com/2010/07/06/report-gibbs-aquada-amphibious-car-hobbled-by-federal-requireme/

    • by spasm ( 79260 )

      Although keep in mind even the most fuel efficient jetskis barely do 6-7 mpg.

    • by Bigby ( 659157 )

      Or NYC

  • by Turminder Xuss ( 2726733 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:21AM (#41667577)
    Pffft, I had a car that had half that functionality 20 years ago. Driving OUT of the water though, that would be new for me.
  • Meh (Score:4, Informative)

    by coinreturn ( 617535 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:21AM (#41667589)
    Limited use, really. Sure, the video makes it look great, but it has a much wider wheelbase than your typical ATV (more like one of those utility side-by-side vehicles) and looks like it doesn't have great ground clearance.
    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Idbar ( 1034346 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41667961)
      How is this vehicle limited use? This vehicle comes with a perfect timing after the release of Apple maps. That's how innovation is motivated!
      • I'd want to use both hands to drive that thing; but I can't if I have to hold the iphone5 above the water...

    • You can buy a new jet ski for around $8000 and a new ATV for around $2000, meaning you could buy both for 1/4th the price.

      There is another issue that jet skis probably suck at dragging huge wheels through the water, meaning that even if this guy isn't nearly as cool at that jet ski for doing jet ski stuff. I'd imagine it's not quite as cool for doing ATV stuff either

      If you must travel on both land and water, then you should look into hovercraft instead. I believe most hovercrafts cost more than $40k, but

      • by Lashat ( 1041424 )

        This is the most overwhelming problem of all COST!!! Maybe there is a Search and Rescue market, but this is a tough sell for consumers.

      • The price may be steep for many tasks, but I would think for california Lifegaurds, for example, this could be enough better, IE they don't need to offroad much, but need to be able to cruise the beech, and rescue surfers, this could significantly improve their performance if they can strap a backboard to the back.

      • Hovercrafts don't do well over rough terrain. This thing might be a bit better. It's hard to get a hovercraft to climb a steep hill whereas this thing could do it (if there was a road - remember this is America - we're gonna put roads everywhere before we're done).

      • Don't forget the cost of the truck to haul all three of them around with you.

        The wheels fold in on this thing, and they claim 45 miles an hour on the water which is plenty fast for a jet ski.

        I agree it seems like a pretty frivolous toy, but I'm guessing your homebuilt hobby kit hovercraft won't get the mileage and speed this thing does.

    • Limited use, really. Sure, the video makes it look great, but it has a much wider wheelbase than your typical ATV (more like one of those utility side-by-side vehicles) and looks like it doesn't have great ground clearance.

      Or water clearance.

  • by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:24AM (#41667599)

    It only takes 50 days for them to hit the quote they're expecting to sell. That's roughly 20% of their capacity. What are they using the other 80% on? Otherwise they'll see some massive layoffs.

  • This seems like little more than an ad for a product. It's a cool recreational vehicle, but is it really "New For Nerds"?
    • Target audience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:54AM (#41667781) Journal

      Well, rednecks don't make enough money to afford one, and real rich people don't do actual outdoors stuff where you get wet/dirty, which means the only other people who will buy it are geeks.

      • Sure they get dirty ... all that polo and dressage. And then there's the the 'new rich' (ie, those people who weren't born into it); they need something to do as they relax after having made their millions ... don't forget that Vanilla Ice is (was?) a professional jet ski racer.

        I could also see it appealing to the people who live in the back woods where there happen to be deep enough streams to make them navigable.

        I could see it opening up large tracks of land for the 'off the grid' people where it's not s

        • by kraut ( 2788 )

          If you get dirty doing dressage, you're not doing it right.

          And by the looks of it those things don't have the ground clearance for serious off roading.

          • If you get dirty doing dressage, you're not doing it right.

            It's not so much the dressage as the rough horse-sex afterwards in the stalls that gets most horsemen and women dirty. Apparently.

        • It's more likely to be like my mountain bike and my golf clubs - used maybe half a dozen times a year combined. But they look nice in my garage, and if I wanted to, I could go out and play any time. The difference is that my bike and clubs cost less than 1% of what a pair of these will run you. And, to be honest, if I were making $20M/yr - sure, I might get a pair.

        • don't forget that Vanilla Ice is (was?) a professional jet ski racer

          Further proof that no one apart from complete and utter wankers ever used a jet ski.

      • by radtea ( 464814 )

        which means the only other people who will buy it are geeks.

        More likely some kind of "eco-tour for urbanites" outfit that will buy them and rent them to people whose idea of getting out into nature is to tear as much of it up as possible while being loud, obnoxious, and dangerous to themselves and others.

        • That might work. Around here (SE Alaska) there are a couple of outfits that take regular ATVs, stick them on a boat and dump the bear bait^Htourists on a logging road and let them explore. I doubt the economics would work out well as it's likely cheaper to ferry a half dozen regular ATVs in a boat then purchase a batch of them, but it's a thought.

      • by Bigby ( 659157 )

        I would love to drive myself to NYC from Jersey City by driving to Liberty State Park and right into the Hudson, and then pull right up on some ramp in Manhattan. The problem right now would be ramps. If you fall into the Hudson, there is practically no way to get out as a swimmer, let alone a vehicle.

      • by rotor ( 82928 )

        Have you met any rednecks? They may not make much money, but they will blow all their credit on something like this. And their kids credit, neighbor's credit, and the cash from that liquor store they knocked over.

  • by PerMolestiasEruditio ( 1118269 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @08:56AM (#41667803)

    ... Out of a large one.

    Alan Gibbs is a kiwi rich-lister who is monomaniacal about amphibious vehicles - typical for otherwise uncreative people who think they have had a good idea. Most engineers I know probably have a more viable commercial idea every month or two.

    He has squandered probably in the region of $100 million on developing amphibious vehicles, but to date the world has yawned, because there is almost no one who could or would actually have a use for such an expensive and high maintenance folly with compromised performance on both land and water.

    • At least he's having fun, and spending his money instead of using it for insulation in his mansion.

      • by Bigby ( 659157 )

        And he's created $100 million in jobs (and materials) over that time and he didn't waste anyone else's money. More (or less) power to him. At least he is not the government...

    • by dargaud ( 518470 )
      Hit a rock or two in ATV mode and you precious water propulsion is probably busted. And those retractable wheels probably have lots of small fragile mechanical parts...
  • by RPGonAS400 ( 956583 ) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:01AM (#41667855)
    I saw this in the news yesterday and contacted a friend who worked there for a while. He said the company is a billionaire's toy shop and nothing has ever come to final production. He thought this project was shelved and told me to not hold my breath.
  • Very cool, but not the first of it's type. Ever hear of an Argo? Check out: http://www.argoatv.com/ [argoatv.com] although they are not fast, they sure are fun in the bush.
    • Those are slow as shit. Still cool, though. However, the guy is still a liar. "Gibbs, a former diplomat and entrepreneur from New Zealand, says the Quadski is the first land vehicle for sale that can go more than 10 mph in water." But that is a lot of cockery [camillc.com]. I don't think you can actually buy either of these vehicles right now, but the Hydra Spyder was offered first.

  • They"ll probably need one for The Italian Job remake.
  • The four tired wheels are sticking out of the sides when it is in water. Looks like Wile E Coyote after it has hit the ground after walking off a cliff and made the mistake of looking down. On land, ok, it looks like a regular ATV with some weirdly acceptable running boards. And this costs 40K? They are better off selling it as rescue vehicle rather than a recreational vehicle.
  • I went to high school with that guy. Engraves bowling trophies for a living. What a mook.

  • Given how everything's being outsourced to China these days, I'm sure the fact that this is US built also adds to the price tag. Maybe they can also play up the patriotism factor a bit - 'buy an innovative honest to goodness American built ATV!'

  • So this is "something new" when the YouTube video shows it was uploaded 6 years ago? I don't seem to recall James Bond driving used vehicles.
  • Now you can harass waterfowl as well as land animals without having to change equipment!
  • How awful. We already have too many ATVs, Snowmobiles and Jetskis zipping around, destroying the environment and making it harder to enjoy the natural world. We don't need the noise, toxic pollution and other destruction.

  • How many non-amphibious jet-skis and quads could you buy with that same 40,000 USD?

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.