Yes. We are both serious and excited about this concept and intend to work with OEMs to bring these watercraft to market. We have confidence your skepticism will be alleviated by further exploration of the FAQs.
The Cybercat concept relies on significant integration with the road electric vehicles that are made to be compatible with it and, therefore, will require close collaboration with OEMs. As a result, the Cybercat is not suitable to be an aftermarket third-party solution. Our go-to-market strategy relies on demonstrating significant market interest by collecting email signups, followed by engaging with OEMs most likely through licensing agreements. The Cybercat concept provides OEMs an entirely new way to differentiate their products beyond simply competing on cost, standard EV specs, and aesthetics alone.
Our previous experience bringing a similarly complex electromechanical hardware/software product to market in the climate tech sector has taught us that verifying product market fit is of greater importance at this stage than a proof-of-concept prototype. While many implementation details remain, the underlying concept is on a secure first principles footing with many analogous watercraft having already been produced. The non-recurring engineering for prototype development can’t reasonably be justified at this stage without first demonstrating market interest, and the information provided on our landing page is the most economical way for us to achieve this.
To explore examples of other hydrofoiling vehicles that have inspired us see Candela, Boundary Layer Technologies, Rinspeed Splash, and to see examples for rafts or pontoon systems built around road vehicles to make them amphibious see the Water Traxx Pontoon System or the Camel Trophy competition.
Anthony Diamond, Ph.D. is passionate about the role technology can play in transforming human potential, from supporting a sustainable and prosperous global society to enhancing the capability and well-being of individuals.
As the CEO and Founder of Memory Maps Inc. he is working to bring to market a software-based learning tool that enables users to easily encode what they study to memory by leveraging Google Street View and personalized mnemonics generated by ML in a reimagined version of the memory palace technique for the digital age.
Prior to Memory Maps, Anthony Diamond was the CTO and Co-Founder of Axiom Exergy Inc., a Series A backed climate tech company that developed a large-scale cloud-connected thermal energy storage system called the Refrigeration Battery (150 kWe peak, 1MWhe capacity) with a lifecycle cost advantage 10x that of lithium-ion batteries at the time of introduction.
By designing a technology that used off-the-shelf components and was electromechanical in nature (instead of electrochemical), Axiom Exergy was able to sidestep the need for decades of R&D and billion-dollar production facilities to be economically viable and get to market in under 3 years.
Anthony has authored 10+ patents and was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the category of energy in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
No. The Cybertruck is expected to weigh between 5,000 and 7,000 lb with its exoskeleton construction. Other comparable electric trucks have stated weights between 6,000 and 9,000 lb. As designed, the pontoons depicted are capable of supporting upward of 10,000 lb with load primarily being directed by the Cybercat frame into the vehicle through the standard lift points on the vehicle undercarriage.
No. EVs are almost universally made with a skateboard construction whereby the batteries (typically the heaviest component of the vehicle) are located in the skateboard floor. This gives EVs exceptionally low centers of gravity which enhance handling on the road and stability in the water.
Using hydrofoils in this application is completely realistic. Hydrofoils have been around for over 100 years and the largest foiling watercraft, such as the USS Plainview launched in 1965, weigh more than 300 tons. Hydrofoiling craft are most suited for use cases where the weight of the cargo is small relative to that of the vessel, and their superior efficiency in the water has been driving their resurgence as more boat manufacturers consider electric powertrains.
Pontoons are multi-chambered and made of the same puncture resistant material used in rigid inflatable boats. In the extremely unlikely scenario that all chambers of both pontoons are fully punctured, the displacement from the body of the Cybertruck is still sufficient to keep the Cybercat afloat long enough to get home at reduced speed and efficiency. In this scenario the Cybercat Foiler is still able to fully lift out of the water and travel back to shore at high speed. Finally, since the vehicle is amphibious, once back to shore the vehicle can leave the water instead of being abandoned like a typical boat.
The Cybercat concept has been designed to hold the entirety of the road electric vehicle out of the water which eliminates prolonged immersion in salt water. During higher speed operations or in rougher seas, it is expected that water will splash on the vehicle and, therefore, it is recommended that the vehicle be hosed down after use.
It is valuable to consider that the salinity of many intercoastal waterways is significantly less than can be found on typical salted roadways. Even so, it is ideal in general for aspects of the electric road vehicle to be made out of materials less susceptible to corrosion such as the 304L stainless steel grade expected for the body of the Cybertruck.
The electrical and physical modifications required are very small, especially when compared to those needed for other comparatively small feature additions. Software and controls modifications are significant but can be developed in parallel and added via over-the-air updates when ready.
In summary, the rapid splitter (or HVDC bus) would need to be modified to support an additional HVDC cable pair. Those cables, along with a low voltage data link, would run through the vehicle and terminate in a fixture akin to a charge receptacle. This connection would need to be marine grade and located in the rear of the vehicle to minimize the cable run to the outboard motors. We welcome conversations with OEMs to discuss the needed modifications in detail.
Unlike typical boats, the Cybercat and Cybercat Foiler are built on the safety features already found in the Cybertruck or other road EVs. Automated collision avoidance systems help to ensure that no crash happens to begin with. In the case that this is overridden or collision still occurs, passenger safety systems not found on typical boats such as seat belts and airbags help to minimize the probability of injury.
Like other rigid inflatable boats, the presence of the inflated pontoons can help to act like an extended bumper and reduce the chances of damage to the main body panels of the Cybertruck. With the body panels intact, the displacement from the Cybertruck itself is still sufficient to keep the Cybercat afloat even with complete loss of the buoyancy provided by the pontoons.
Automated health checks of system components such as the outboard motors, hydrofoils, and frame ensure they are not used if unsafe.
A forward scanning sonar sensor integrated into the front hydrofoil will enable detection of submerged objects over 3,000 ft. away. Integration with automotive collision avoidance systems can allow the vehicle to take evasive action without user input.
Stability while turning is electronically controlled by the drive-by-wire rudder and propeller system to ensure that the minimum safe cornering radius is always observed. The design as shown has opted for a surface piercing front hydrofoil which maintains pitch passively based on the amount of foil submerged. At higher speeds, the front foil pitches the vehicle up, reducing the area of the foil submerged, thus reducing lift in a self-stabilizing manner. As the vehicle turns, one side of the foil is more submerged, increasing the reaction force provided to counteract roll and maintain stability. The passive front hydrofoil has deliberately been chosen for enhanced robustness and simplicity at the cost of slightly reduced hydrodynamic efficiency.
The watercraft has a wide rear hydrofoil which similarly helps to provide greater stabilizing reaction force during turns (like having two contact points rather than one). Both foils combine to provide a stable ride through turns akin to a four-wheeled vehicle (as opposed to a vehicle of the three or two-wheeled variety) for maximum stability.
The main frame as currently designed consists of one telescoping central member, four pontoon supporting arms, two front connecting members, an outboard motor support frame assembly and, for the Cybercat Foiler model, a front hydrofoil mounting assembly and hydrofoils. All components are designed with ergonomics in mind so they can be manipulated by an individual in accordance with NIOSH recommendations. Installation can be further facilitated by adjustment of the vehicle’s ride height minimizing the distance components need to be moved.
The frame components are connected to one another mechanically using locking pins and contain interconnect sensors that verify proper alignment and locking of the members. In addition, electrical and data connections are made between frame members to transmit power and control signals to actuating elements.
The assembled underframe slides into the tow hitch on the back end of the vehicle and connects to bumper mounting points on the front. Pontoon supporting arms possess built-in electrically actuated jacks that expand to make contact to the underside of the vehicle at its specified lifting points. Once in position and activated, these jacks automatically expand ensuring the entire underframe has been pre-tensioned to the correct specification.
The inflatable pontoons include a pre-integrated frame with foldable segments for compact storage. As the frame is unfolded, joints with integrated sensors lock to ensure that the frame is properly assembled. Pontoons are then inflated using the built-in air compressor of the vehicle (or with a separate electrically powered compressor). Integrated pressure transducers in each pontoon chamber continuously report and monitor pontoon pressure.
Finally, self contained outboard motors/propeller assemblies (and rear hydrofoil if applicable) are mechanically locked to the outboard motor support frame assembly and connected electrically.
The suite of interconnect sensors, automated electrically actuated jacks, power/data connections, and pontoon pressure transducers ensure verifiability of the full state of the Cybercat/Cybercat Foiler at all times. Quick access to a graphical depiction of the vehicle’s full state is meant to be available to the user at all times. Ongoing monitoring and alerting notify the user of any anomalies long before they become problems.
Digital installation verification is available to the user at all times. Quick access to a graphical depiction of the vehicle’s full state is also continuously available. Ongoing monitoring and alerting notify the user of any anomalies long before they become problems. You can have confidence the Cybercat/Cybercat Foiler is assembled and installed correctly before you ever touch the water.
Installation and launch can be completed by a single person in 20-25 minutes and digital installation verification is provided at all times. The conversion and launch process is significantly easier and faster than the solo launch of a boat of equivalent specifications.
Not fast enough? Cybercat/Cybercat Foiler is designed to be road legal in the US with everything still attached except the front hydrofoil assembly and pontoons. This means that only those components need to be installed before entering the water, bringing the total transition time to 5-10 minutes for completion.
Range and speed specifications are based on simple estimates of the battery capacity of the Cybertruck using comparable Wh/mi values achieved for the Tesla Model X coupled with guiding relationships between boat power, velocity, and weight found for different hull configurations and hydrofoiling vessels. Results were cross-checked against stated specifications of other commercially available vehicles.
We believe the range and speed estimates provided are meaningfully understated and there is significant opportunity for performance above the numbers provided. Nonetheless, we feel these are more than sufficient for a compelling experience on the water that far exceed other watercraft, especially when compared on a cost basis.
The Cybercat Foiler excels in choppy seas with vehicle clearance greater than 3 ft above the water surface while in “cruise” mode. However, if swells become too big, water will make contact with the undercarriage of the vehicle, it will lose speed, and will not be able to stay foilborne.
“Sport” mode solves this by keeping the pontoons down in the water while foiling. This enables the pontoons to effectively break through waves at higher speeds while still benefiting from the lower drag created by the watercraft being partially lifted out of the water by the hydrofoils.
A dedicated vehicle mode for amphibious transitions ensures optimal vehicle operation. During this mode, the user specifies the desired direction of vehicle movement and whether they are entering or exiting the water. Wheels use digital traction control to identify when they gain or lose contact with the ground in water. Wheels that have lost ground contact are then free to spin at a faster rate to propel the vehicle in the water via wheel rotation. Wheels that are supposed to gain ground contact carefully follow the traction limit in order to avoid slippage.
This same mode is suitable for precisely maneuvering the watercraft in shallow water or around marinas. For vehicles such as the Cybertruck with quad motors, maneuverability is enhanced further by enabling “tank” turns while in water whereby wheels on one side of the vehicle spin in one direction and wheels on the opposite side spin in the reverse direction, causing rotation around the center of the watercraft.
Yes and no. Driving any heavy four-wheeled vehicle such as the Cybetruck on loose (and wet) terrain is generally not recommended because high ground pressure causes the wheels to displace the terrain as opposed to providing the needed traction for vehicle movement. This is exacerbated during amphibious transitions as the vehicle must rely on the traction generated by fewer wheels with ground contact to move.
We believe this problem can be solved with custom tracks similar to the Mattrack system designed to be low profile so as not to interfere with operation in the water. However we have purposefully avoided adding this as an option because beach habitats tend to be among the most ecologically sensitive for wildlife. The last thing we want to do is enable their destruction with our vehicle design. We believe that the infrastructure that already exists to support boats, such as boat ramps, is more than sufficient to allow users to enjoy the freedom that comes with the amphibious capabilities of the Cybercat.
The exception to this design decision is made for emergency vehicles that may significantly benefit from enhanced amphibious capabilities to support activities such as beach patrols, coast guard operations, or flood and disaster relief.
Unfortunately no. While the vehicle can move propelled by wheel rotation in any water depth, enabling higher speeds requires that the propellers be submerged in water, and the draft of the Cybercat with its propellers extended into the water is 4 ft. This propeller length is required to ensure that the commercial version of Cybercat is upgradable to the Cybercat Foiler which lifts out of the water while foiling.
It is, however, possible to make a specialized version of the Cybercat concept that is built with lower draft pontoons, custom tracks instead of wheels, and low draft propellers that would excel when used for amphibious flood disaster relief.
In “cruise” mode, as the Cybercat Foiler gains speed, the pontoons are raised, enhancing the clearance between the watercraft and the water surface to greater than 3 ft. This additional clearance allows the Cybercat Foiler to slice through choppy water at high speed and enables the watercraft to corner without losing speed by dragging its pontoons in the water. As the watercraft slows, the pontoons are lowered for a smooth landing.
You haven’t been boating until you’ve felt the incredible low-end torque and acceleration that comes from electric motors. While the maneuverability of the Cybercat Foiler is electronically limited in “cruise” mode in favor of greater stability, straight-line speed, and efficiency on the water, “sport” mode lets you cut loose. In “sport” mode, the pontoons remain down in the water while foiling, allowing them to provide support while the vehicle carves stably through sharp turns. Hold on to your hat!
The target price has been generated by estimating the cost of major BOM elements and looking at analogous costs of similarly complex products made by auto OEMs. We believe Cybercat offers opportunities for gross margins significantly higher than are typically found in the automotive sector, while still providing unmatched customer value. The target price is nonetheless an early estimate and is subject to change.
This is one of the areas where Cybercat/Cybercat Foiler truly shines. Because the most expensive components required to make a watercraft can already be found in the road EV, only the last few marginal components need be added. This means the most expensive model of the Cybercat Foiler costs 2-3x less than a comparable gas or diesel-powered boat. This cost advantage is magnified for electric boats with comparable models costing as much as 6-7x more.
The Cybercat is meant to be fully extensible to the Cybercat Foiler, allowing a customer to upgrade from the lowest cost Cybercat base model to the highest performing, most expensive model of the Cybercat Foiler by simply adding additional components. For the Cybercat, users can choose from 1-5 50kW outboard motors. If they have two or more, they can enable Cybercat Foiler functionality through the addition of the rear and front hydrofoil assemblies which can be purchased as a module. This design feature helps to enhance access to the Cybercat experience while ensuring that purchasing a less expensive model now doesn’t preclude access to a higher performance experience down the road.
The dinghy is a good option if you want to get out on the water tomorrow, but it is completely outclassed in every respect by the Cybercat. It is like comparing a dinghy to a high-tech 26+ ft. rigid inflatable boat with an enclosed cabin. The Cybercat can go on the ocean, can seat 5+, has a fully furnished cabin with HVAC and infotainment such as Netflix on a 17 in. display and surround sound, a 6.5+ ft. long deck, etc., and the other is essentially a small, exposed vessel, only suitable for a few people in calm water.
Furthermore, trailering even the smallest dinghy will significantly eat into Cybertruck range on the road and you would not be able to make trips where you take advantage of the vehicle’s amphibious capabilities to enter the water in one location, exit at a different point, and continue on your adventure.
Absolutely! The Cybercat concept is applicable to any properly configured road EV. Vehicles either announced or being delivered by Rivian, Ford, GM, Toyota, Canoo are all great candidates. Beyond pickup trucks, the Cybercat concept can apply to other vehicle types such as SUVs, camper vans, sprinters, etc.
Pickup trucks are a logical initial focus because truck owners tend to care more about having vehicles capable of handling any terrain. Truck beds can function similarly to the deck of a boat enabling more typical boat use cases with maximum versatility.
Yes. Because the body of the Cybertruck is held completely above the waterline in calm seas, the doors can be opened allowing passengers to step from the platform to the pontoon frame and into the truck bed without the need for a midgate. Additionally, a ladder or step can be affixed to the side of the Cybertruck to further enhance egress and exit from the truck bed while the tailgate is closed.
We considered a separate boat platform that leveraged the power available from a properly configured EV but decided against it for a number of reasons. First, the width required for stability would be significantly more than a standard pontoon boat and would be oversized for road transport. Second, towing the boat would substantially eat into the range of the Cybertruck. Third, getting the road vehicle on and off the boat platform at a boat ramp or other suitable location would be a major pain point hindering its use. Because this boat platform would be large, it is likely that many would opt for mooring to store the vehicle, further increasing the total cost of ownership. Finally, because it would require a trailer for transport over land, users would not be able to make trips where they can conveniently enter water at one location, exit at a different point, and continue on their adventures.
While amphibious road vehicles powered by wheel rotation, built-in propellers, or outboard motors have been around for a long time, the development and growing popularity of EVs for off-road and in water use are a recent development. Unlike gas or diesel powered vehicles, EVs don’t breathe air making them more suitable for use in and around water. In addition, EVs don’t have differentials giving them best in class ground clearance critical for effective on land use as an amphibious vehicle.
As EVs have become more mainstream, the size of their batteries have grown to capacities sufficient for use in many applications including electric boats. Additionally, with the reemergence of hydrofoiling as a way to maximize efficiency on the water supported by cheap digital controls, electric watercraft have become more compelling than ever.
Road EVs are uniquely capable of sharing the most expensive part of their powertrains (i.e., their batteries) with outboard motors for nautical use, enabling synergy whereby boat functionality can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of a stand alone boat which is simply not possible for fossil fuel powered vehicles.
In the coming decade, the number of EVs is poised to explode creating market opportunities like never before.
Definitely! Marine autopilot is a common feature in most higher-end boats and can be implemented with modifications to existing vehicle autopilot. Directing a boat on water is a substantially easier problem than autopilot in an urban environment or even on a highway as there are very few obstacles or other vehicles that need to be accounted for.
Autonomous Cybercat Foilers open up exciting applications for water taxi services capable of providing low cost, on-demand, high speed crossing of major ferry routes with infrastructure and vehicle maintenance costs significantly below that of traditional ferries. Terminals outfitted with DC fast charging could enable near continuous use. Examples of routes may include crossing between the Hawaiian Islands, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Sweden, the English Channel, river routes through most metropolitan areas, etc.
Safe marine operation will require radio communication, which can be integrated with the primary vehicle controls via Bluetooth. Graphical status of main ship systems will be available at all times. Cruise control or autopilot with collision avoidance can free up users for enhanced leisure activities while on the water. The display of nautical maps with GPS navigation is essential to help chart adventures safely and will be standard. Easy integration of scanning sonar can help give a clear picture underwater and find fish. All in all, we believe Cybercat and Cybercat Foiler will make for an incredible experience on the water and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Living in the Greater Seattle Area on Puget Sound, Anthony Diamond, Ph.D. dreamed about having a way to easily and quickly hop across the water whenever he desired, that was inexpensive, didn’t require boat parking (marina mooring) and, most importantly, was clean given his background in climate tech.
As an early Cybertruck reservation holder and a Model 3 owner, Anthony was excited about tweets from Elon that indicated the Cybertruck should be able to serve as a boat for short periods. However, this capability would ultimately be limited by the speed at which wheel rotation could propel the vehicle and it would never go fast enough to be compelling.
This past summer, Anthony developed a concept for a portable, hydrofoiling, electric water vehicle that could collapse for storage in a bike locker. This personal watercraft would allow a user to quickly transition from crossing water to becoming a pedestrian without the need for boat parking or to carry around the vehicle's extra weight. However, this concept was impractical and dangerous to use in winter weather. In a vehicle like a Cybertruck that could travel faster in the water, this crossing would become more feasible.
Any implementation relying on buoyancy from displacement using the submerged body of a typical road vehicle, however, would suffer from obvious problems such as corrosion, and an inability to exit the vehicle to enjoy the water as the waterline would likely be above the door openings.
Anthony realized that he could apply the core design principles from his personal watercraft concept to the Cybertruck (or any appropriately configured electric road vehicle) to quickly transform it into an all-electric high performance amphibious catamaran and the Cybercat and Cybercat Foiler were born.
Clean and comparatively inexpensive access to the recreational boating experience has the potential to massively expand the size of the market while providing responsible stewardship of the environment through reduced water, air, and carbon pollution. The Cybercat and Cybercat Foiler opens up a new and exciting front in the mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
In 2013, Elon Musk purchased the Lotus Esprit prop amphibious car from The Spy Who Loved Me (TSWLM) and in 2016 famously announced that he was “still planning to do a sports sub car that can drive on roads. Just a side project. Limited market potential :)”. The car was referenced as an inspiration for the Cybertruck and pictures of it were shown during the unveiling.
We believe that with more than 1.3 million Cybertruck reservations, the market potential for Cybercat is immense and total gross margins comparable to those generated from the Tesla Model S and X vehicle lines combined are achievable. With this objection regarding limited market potential alleviated, we hope to rekindle that spark of possibility for an exciting future, and the name “TSWLM Electric Vehicles Inc.” was chosen to pay homage to this passion.
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