Platypus Prototye Hits the Water
Published: Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Designed by François-Alexandre Bertrand, this aquatic exploration vehicle is configured like a small catamaran with a central platform that passengers straddle and which can then be submerged iondependent of the rest of the craft. She is affectionately called the Platypus.
Pivoting arms connect the two hulls to the platform. Users can cruise around on the surface of the water or it can become a submersible with air supplied from an in-built compressor.
This is a significant departure from the normal submersibles with those large bubbles for passengers that have been around for ages. Bertrand’s design is the first to allow users to navigate the craft just like a boat, completely free and just wearing a swim suit, yet submerged below the water.
The vessel weighs just 720 kilogrammes and is propelled by two Torqeedo electric motors powered by a 10 kW lithium-ion battery pack. On the surface the Platypus manages a healthy 10 knots but when submerged this drops to a sedate 5 knots. The battery lasts for around four hours on a pretty standard mix of surface and diving modes.
There are plans to build another version to be driven by two 9.9 horsepower Mercury engines that will give the craft a surface mode speed of up to 14 knots and much greater range.
The company is planning to start taking orders very soon and the first commercial units should be coming off the production line around March 2014.
Submersibles are becoming ever more popular with superyacht owners who are keen to explore the ocean depths and also share the experience with family and friends. The Platypus offers one more way to achieve that goal and at an affordable price. Prices are expected to be in the range of $57,000.