Taiga Unveils Orca: An Electric Personal Watercraft In A Class Of Its Own

News

(ED--In the October issue of SnoWest Magazine, we covered Taiga's electric snowmobile models. Since then, the Canadian company has released a personal watercraft with much of the same technology.)

Taiga Motors, the Canadian company behind the world’s first electric snowmobiles, presents its first electric personal watercraft, the Orca.

It represents the next phase in product development for Taiga and a new segment of personal watercraft, defined by conscious luxury, high performance and connectivity.

Taiga’s electric drive platform translates seamlessly to a jet propulsion system that sends the craft flying silently across the water with precise control. Orca features a full carbon fiber hull construction, clean puristic body lines and a floating seat made possible by the absence of a combustion engine. At less than 600 lbs.  ready to drive and up to 180 hp available with instant torque, the craft offers leading power-to-weight and agility for an unmatched ride experience.

Dynamic Design: Form Follows Function

Orca was designed from a clean sheet to embody the elegant, powerful and playful characteristics of its namesake. Without the restrictions imposed by combustion engines, the company’s designers were free to rethink traditional design practices that have constrained personal watercraft design over the past decades.

Orca introduces a new era of design sophistication for personal watercraft, from its aerodynamically sculpted body to its unique seat design and carbon fiber body. At the same time, it retains the unmistakable Taiga DNA, from the organic hyperbolic upper profile lines to the signature lateral fins.

The new suspended seat design highlights the reduced packaging height of the electric drive, allowing for the lowest center of gravity of any personal watercraft. For the rider this translates to enhanced stability and precision carving on the water. Adjustable sponsons allow users to easily adjust the ride dynamics from leisurely play to racing characteristics.

At 2.90 meters (9.5 ft) long, 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) wide and 1.01 meters (3 ft) tall, the design breaks away from the tradition of building bigger and more powerful personal watercrafts. With up to 180 hp and less than 600 lbs. ready to drive, the Orca delivers one of the highest power to weight ratios in the industry while remaining nimble, silent, and practical for every day use on the water.

Powerful Efficiency: The Electric Drive For A New Era Of Powersports

Taiga’s electric drive platform is at the heart of the shift towards a new era of powersports without compromise. Born out of the single-minded vision of enabling the best possible electric off-road vehicles, the platform was engineered from a clean sheet to deliver unyielding performance across snow, water and dirt trails. The shared powertrain architecture not only offers enhanced performance and reliability under extreme conditions, but also drives down costs across vehicle segments to make electric powersports accessible to all.

The performance package-equipped Orca can generate more than 134kW (180 hp) for incredible acceleration and a top speed up to 104 km/h (65 mph). With a sub 5-milisecond response time, the drive delivers incredible control on any terrain. Precision impeller speed control is achieved to maximize efficiency and reduce noise levels under varying conditions. Unlike many electric vehicles, a high-power output can be sustained thanks to Taiga’s advanced thermal management system. The innovative closed loop cooling circuit running through the battery, motor, and inverter has been tested to maintain temperature regulation from arctic to tropical conditions.

Orca’s lithium-ion battery runs on an automotive standard system voltage of 400 volts. This has the advantage of greater efficiency and, for the first time, brings automotive levels of reliability and safety to powersports. The sealed and vibration isolated battery has been designed to be safely operated across its lifetime under high shock loads, high humidity environments and even under temporary submersion. The 23kWh battery capacity provides energy for up to two hours under typical drive conditions. Weighing in at approximately 125 kg, the Orca’s battery delivers one of the highest energy densities of any electric vehicle and the most specific power for any battery of its size. Orca can be charged from a regular outlet for convenient overnight charging, from standard automotive chargers at a rate of up to 10kW, or by DC fast charging to 80 percent in 20 minutes for high throughput operators.

Redefining Personal Watercraft Reliability, Convenience: Just Unplug And Play

No more trips to the gas station, no more hauling fuel down to the dock or spills into the lake and no more engine maintenance. That’s how Orca redefines the experience of owning a personal watercraft. Spend an afternoon on the water, charge overnight, unplug and repeat. Orca will keep delivering year after year so users can focus on what matters—escaping into the great outdoors and sharing unforgettable experiences with friends and family.

Careful attention has been paid to every aspect of the design for a seamless user experience. A closed loop cooling system designed for Taiga snowmobiles means no winterization is required. The auxiliary systems have been designed for extremely low quiescent currents so that the vehicle can be left unplugged up to five years while still periodically waking itself to check on systems. Users will no longer have to disconnect their 12V batteries for fear of draining them. Going one step further, Orca will be backed by an industry leading 5 year no-maintenance powertrain warranty and remote diagnostics anywhere they are sold.

Controls & Connectivity

It’s time for personal watercraft users to experience a display in line with automotive standards. Between Orca’s handlebars lays a color integrated digital display, the first of its kind. Everything that matters is now accessible and configurable to the user in one place. Behind the dashboard is a powerful onboard computer offering intelligent connectivity via built in GPS mapping, LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can choose from a full suite of integrated sensors from water temperature to cameras and sonar to explore their environment.

From the dashboard or the connected app, users can adjust vehicle parameters for their perfect ride. Connected Orca users will also benefit from continuous updates to their vehicles as the latest advancements are made available via remote updates.

A Craft Like No Other: Tailored To Every Driver

From the inside out, Orca rewards those leading the charge towards a sustainable future. Customers can customize Orca’s exterior elements to their specific preferences. Seat upholstery will be available in a variety of durable high-end fabrics and colors. Beyond a set of 10 stunning base colors, Orca’s bodywork is offered in an almost limitless color options with metallic and pristine gloss finishes. Deck mat textures and colors can be selected to complete the look. Customization doesn’t stop at the factory; riders can adjust, tune and lock in a wide range of drive parameters to find their perfect ride.

Environment: Exhilaration Without Compromise

The heated debate over personal watercraft use in bodies of water shared by homeowners, marine life and other recreational watersport enthusiasts has been active since the late 1990s. At the heart of the controversy is pollution and noise levels. Although manufacturers have made the switch to cleaner 4-stroke engines, a modern personal watercraft produces up to 16 g/kWh of hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 300 g/kWh of carbon monoxide (CO). This is more than 80 times the EPA’s Tier 2 emission standards for automobiles. Their noise levels can exceed 90 dBA at distance of up to 100 feet, especially in wavy conditions when the jet impeller breaches the waters surface. Orca presents a solution to bridge the societal rift between those ultimately looking to enjoy a day by the water, producing 0 g/kWh of emissions and a quiet ride.

Rollout: The Time For Electrification Is Now

Taiga invites its first customers to own a piece of history. A watercraft like no other, the Orca model will be limited to a total production run of only 500 units. The first 100 Orcas produced will be badged Founders Edition models, featuring exclusive design elements and high-performance packages. Pricing of the exclusive founder’s edition will begin at $28,000 USD and will be delivered to North American customers in summer 2020.

Taiga will continue production with 400 Orcas starting at $24,000 USD that will be available to customers in North America and Europe for delivery shortly thereafter. Reservations are now open online for Orca and Orca Founders Edition. All units will be delivered through local Taiga certified dealerships for a seamless ownership experience.

This is the first step in Taiga’s mission to accelerate mass market adoption of electric alternatives. Owners of an Orca will proudly hold their place in history as having led the transition towards better watersports. Following Orca, Taiga will be entering the recreational personal watercraft segment with models priced below $14,000 USD and expanding its electric propulsion platform to bring electric inboard and outboard products to the boating industry at large.

Orca Specifications

Exterior Design

  • 2.90 meters (9.5 ft) long, 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) wide, 1.01 meters (3 ft) tall
  • Full carbon fiber construction
  • Suspended seat design for two riders with rear grab bar
  • Weight capacity: 181kg/400 lbs.
  • Front storage and glove box storage
  • Front and rear anchor points for lifting and towing

Performance

  • Ready to drive weight: 263kg/580 lbs.
  • Top speed: 104kph/65 mph
  • Cruise speed: 70kph/44 mph
  • Range: 2 hours on typical driving conditions
  • Rated for fresh water and ocean use

Drive System

  • Directly driven impeller jet pump
  • Taiga integrated PMAC drive unit delivering 134kW (180hp) up to 9,000 rpm
  • Reactive impeller speed control for maximum efficiency and minimized noise levels
  • Closed loop liquid cooling system requiring no flushing or maintenance
  • Rated for temperatures down to minus 40 degrees C/F not requiring winterization

Battery and Charging

  • 23kWh of energy, 355V nominal voltage, weight approx. 125 kg
  • Low quiescent drain, can be left up to 5 years unplugged
  • 5 year, 20,000 km warranty
  • Shock and vibration isolated structure with IP68 rating for marine environments
  • Onboard charger compatible with automotive standard connectors and chargers
  • 10kW level 2 charging on 240VAC and overnight level-1 charging on 110VAC
  • Optional DC fast charging to 80 percent in 20 minutes for commercial operators

Controls and Connectivity

  • Configurable 7-inch center console with handlebar controls
  • GPS speed and built-in mapping
  • LTE, Wi-Fi for over the air updates and upgrades
  • Bluetooth connectivity via phone for app settings, vehicle monitoring and music
  • Automatic and manual adjustable trim angle
  • User configurable power, acceleration and speed modes with lockout capabilities
  • Powerful onboard computer with extension capabilities for sonar fish finder and other sensory integration
  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up

You Might Also Be Interested In...

Share

Send to your friends!