Will Smith, Kevin Durant, Sean “Diddy” Combs Invest in Arc Electric Boats
Arc electric boats, the company founded by former SpaceX engineers announced that it has teamed with some big names from the sports and entertainment worlds. Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Combs Enterprises are among the investors supporting the company.
Arc says it’s building toward a future where all boats will be electric. The company’s first product is a 350-kW electric boat and management says it has already been skiing behind and testing the prototype after founding the company just 10 months ago.
Mitch Lee, the co-founder and CEO of Arc Boats, grew up water skiing. He’s a mechanical engineer and a friend from college spent 7 years as lead mechanical engineer at SpaceX on the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
In a plugboats.com podcast, Lee said, “I can’t tell you the number of times we were standing around a whiteboard and somebody on the team said, ‘This is just like what we did on the rocket.’ When you think of it, the hull of a boat is pretty similar to the nose of a rocket and they both need large strong, lightweight structures that can be produced in bulk.”
Challenges of Electric Power
Arc says the Arc One can hit speeds of up to 40 mph and the 200-kWh battery capacity is good for three to five hours of regular use. Pull some riders for a while, they drop, pick them up and re-charge the power supply while idling through some no-wake zones.
There are advantages and challenges of going green. On the plus side, the 350-kW (475-hp) motor is lighter and smaller than an internal combustion engine (ICE) rated for the same output. Then there is the weight of the batteries required to power it. Arc said it’s goal was to have the overall weight of the boat come out about the same as an existing towsports boat with ICE power. After looking at a variety of materials, the team at Arc decided on aluminum. It’s light and doesn’t require molds, so design changes and iterations can be made more easily.
The Arc One has two battery packs that make a total of 200 kWh of power. For reference, the Tesla Model-S battery is 85 kWh. Arc puts two battery packs in the boat and builds them in-house, using cells from a well-known but undisclosed supplier. They are installed beneath the deck. Arc says that for surfing, the weight of the batteries can be beneficial because they help make the waves surfers want.
Arc’s goal is to start delivering the first limited edition of the Arc One to consumers by the start of 2022 and have them all in the water within a year. With a price of $300,000, the boat is clearly not for everyone. Anyone with a $1,000 deposit can join the waiting list for the Arc One. The deposit is refundable and if the limited-edition-run expires before an owner’s name comes up, the money can be moved toward the next model that will be a more moderately price watersports boat.
Arc says the long-term plan is to be a “major competitor” in the towsports market, then grow interest in more broadly used pleasure boats. They will all be electric and Lee says that new products will constantly be in development.