An all-terrain vehicle that can be driven on land or on the water is going on sale in the United States next month for about $40,000, if you’re looking to expand your off-road adventures.
Alan Gibbs, the New Zealand-based founder of Gibbs Sports Amphibian, says he hopes the one-person Quadski will be a stepping stone for full-sized amphibious cars.
This is one cool ride that would make the most avid off-roader drool. The Quadski is powered by a BMW motorcycle engine that turns its wheels and drives its water jet propulsion. The vehicle is capable of going up to 45 miles per hour on land and water, and best of all only takes five seconds to convert to each.
Gibbs said he knows the price is high, but he expects it to go down, “just like flat screen TVs and other things.” If you’re in Florida, you’re in luck, because the Quadski will go on sale next month there. It’ll go on sale in Texas, the Great Lakes regions and in New York by the end of the year and in California next year, and Gibbs wants it to be sold worldwide by 2014, Reuters is reporting.
The vehicle will be built at an assembly plant in suburban Detroit, and Gibbs said his company is targeting sales of about 1,000 in its first year.
There have been other mass-produced amphibious cars, but they really haven’t caught on. The Amphicar that was marketed in the 1960s sold only 4,000. But the Amphicar really didn’t ride on top of the water like the Quadski, but plowed right through it. True, the car was able to stay in the water but people probably didn’t like the idea of looking somewhat silly rather than cool, even back then.
The Quadski isn’t Gibbs Technologies’ first amphibious vehicle but the first to be sold commercially. Gibbs’ Aquada, produced in Britian was a sports car by land and a watercraft by sea, and in 2004, Virgin Group founder and richer-than-dirt guy Richard Branson steered one across the British Channel in record time.
But even Branson couldn’t make the Aquada cool enough, because Gibbs ended up stuck with 40 of the vehicles when its engine maker went out of business.
And even with the Quadski, don’t expect a road-legal amphibious car any time soon. U.S. regulations make it difficult to consider them as either an on-road vehicle or a boat, each of which has different operating rules.