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“The future of mobility must come from water”: the SeaBubbles, these “flying taxis” on the water, are tested again in Paris, the local authorities considering a commercial exploitation from spring 2020.
If this experiment, planned until September 20, “proves conclusive, a commercial exploitation of SeaBubbles could be considered in the spring of 2020”, indicates in a statement the regional prefecture (representative of the State).
For these tests, the electric vehicle is allowed to sail at a maximum speed of 30 km / h, which is more than twice the limit normally allowed on the Seine.
The SeaBubbles, with a capacity of a few passengers, take up the principle of the hydrofoil developed by the French navigator Alain Thébault: “foils”, sort of submerged fiberglass arches, keep the boat out of the water at about 50 cm above the waves, thanks to the speed.
“We are delighted to be back in Paris. All the signals seem to be going green for the start of the commercial operation of our Bubble Taxis in the first quarter of 2020. This confirms SeaBubbles ‘ambition to put the Seine back at the center of the Paris region’s mobility by respecting the principle’ ‘Zero Noise, Zero Wave, Zero CO2 Emissions’, “said SeaBubbles President and CEO, Swedish windsurfer Anders Bringdal.
A first prototype was tested on June 16, 2017 on the Seine. Alain Thébault had later regretted administrative red tape.
Other tests take place in Geneva, Miami, Saint-Tropez, Monaco … But Paris represents the most concrete project.
The company believes that “the future of mobility must come from water, a natural and historical way, in the heart of cities, too long underestimated”.
Founded in 2016 by MM. Thébault and Bringdal, the French start-up, initiated discussions for its acquisition by a Swiss holding, made up of international investors.
These negotiations are “still in progress,” a spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday. For the moment, the company is majority owned by the Thébault family.
According to the Swiss press, MM. Thébault and Bringdal would remain at the controls, and the seat would remain in France.
The first five SeaBubbles prototypes were built in 2017 in Switzerland, but for cost reasons, production must continue in Thailand.