Please select your home edition
Edition
Super Yachts at boot (newsletter)

Ready for take off - Building rocket-inspired boats

by Arc Boats 3 May 05:28 PDT
Ready for take off - Building rocket-inspired boats © Arc Boats

To electrify the power-hungry marine industry, we knew we needed to rethink boat-building from the hull up, and deliver watercraft performant enough to take the place of gas-powered boats.

It's no coincidence that many of our founding crew members came from SpaceX, and that our first product is designed more like a rocket than a traditional boat. In addition to having the technical expertise to construct lightweight, strong hulls for our insanely powerful boats, our team of former rocket engineers know how to move fast. Like, crazy fast.

Here's a closer look at how our aerospace roots helped us create the most advanced electric boat on the water today.

Rocket-Inspired Boats

When it comes to electric boating, one important thing has historically been missing: power. To truly electrify the marine industry, we knew we needed to rethink electric boat manufacturing to bridge the critical power gap, and provide a product performant enough to displace the gas-powered industry.

Back to basics
Many of our founding crew members hail from SpaceX, bringing not only the technical skillset to solve this problem, but also the mindset to do so quickly.

Led by this team of rocket engineers, Arc formed with a culture of first-principle thinking: an engineering philosophy that seeks to reason from fundamentals rather than blindly accepting traditional ways of doing things. With this approach, we can solve inefficiencies created by an over-reliance on "rules of thumb".

Power and performance
Why did we need to rethink traditional approaches? It began with batteries. A powerful electric boat requires big batteries, which are quite heavy. To keep the Arc One at an ideal weight — with enough battery power to provide a full day of range on the water, but light enough to tow behind a truck — we had to make many other parts of the boat, especially the hull, as light as possible.

Rockets must be extremely strong to withstand the high pressures of a launch, while still being light enough to lift off. Similarly, the Arc One hull needs to be strong enough to take a beating in waves, while being light enough to offset the weight of the large battery packs. The custom battery packs in the Arc One are over twice the size of those found in a Tesla Model S, and weigh thousands of pounds. We therefore opted to use the same lightweight material for our hull as we'd used to build rocket tanks: aluminum.

Need for speed
In addition to solving the power problem with electric boating, our team of former aerospace engineers — used to big thinking and fast-paced environments — wanted to do it quickly.

Aluminum is perfect for that. Not only is it lightweight, but it allows for more rapid testing and iteration than other materials like fiberglass. While fiberglass hulls are common, they have much slower iteration times due to the need for expensive, time-consuming molds. Using aluminum allowed us to make many design changes to the Arc One's hull on our march toward production.

The gas boating industry has spent decades building and refining hull shapes to maximize performance. We brought the Arc One to market in two years — an insanely fast timeline. This feat was possible largely because of our talented team of structural, controls, and battery engineers and their first-principles approach. Starting with fundamental questions, rapidly building and testing prototypes, and refining based on performance is at the heart of our business and will continue to shape every boat we put on the water.

Related Articles

The coolest screen on the water
EV drivers have come to expect large, beautiful, interactive touchscreens Usually, touchscreens and direct sun don't mix. Trying to use your smartphone in broad daylight typically involves some combination of hand-shading and eye-squinting. Posted on 2 Aug
A brilliant boating experience
What if boats could get better — rather than deteriorate — with age? What if boats could get better — rather than deteriorate — with age? That's the magic behind Arc's over-the-air (OTA) updates, which we use to improve the functionality and performance of customer boats already on the water. Posted on 6 Jul
Why Arc Boats are rethinking range
Being stranded after running out of gas is nearly a right of passage for boaters Being stranded after running out of gas is nearly a right of passage for boaters. Outdated technology, and painfully imprecise fuel gauges leave many people guessing their gas levels and hoping for the best when it comes to making it back home. Posted on 2 Jun
Better batteries... better boats
An electric boat with the performance of the Arc One is made possible by in-house battery packs Thanks to decades of research and development in the automotive industry, today it's possible to buy ready-made battery packs off the shelf. In fact, this is what all other electric boat manufacturers do. Posted on 6 Apr
From idea to reality: Delivering the first Arc One
Many companies make promises. We're proud to make deliveries. When we founded Arc two years ago, we set an ambitious timeline for designing, manufacturing, and distributing the most powerful electric boat in its class. Posted on 17 Mar
How do you charge an electric boat?
There are many charging options and speeds available Many people associate "range anxiety" — the concern of having enough battery to make it to a destination — with electric cars. Likely because of that association, we get questions all the time wondering if electric boats have similar charging concerns. Posted on 2 Mar
Water and electricity don't mix... right?
If seeing those two words in the same sentence makes you nervous, you're in good company Water and electricity don't mix... right? If seeing those two words in the same sentence makes you nervous, you're in good company. From a young age, we're taught to keep appliances away from water, get out of the ocean if there's lightning, and so on. Posted on 2 Feb
Arc Boats update
The Arc One is officially sold out! The Arc One is officially sold out! All attention is on customer deliveries. Posted on 2 Dec 2022
Arc Boats update: October 2022
The Arc One came home from Tahoe after three action-packed weeks of demos The days are getting shorter, but we're making the most of every hour of daylight as we take our latest Arc Ones out on the water. Posted on 4 Oct 2022
Arc Boats update: July highlights
The Arc One visited the Bay Area for customer demos The Arc One visited the Bay Area for customer demos. We learned a ton about navigating new waters, dealing with the summer winds and where to dock for a meal in Sausalito. Posted on 2 Aug 2022
Maritimo 2023 S600 FOOTERMarine Resources 2022 - FOOTER