“They are easy to drive and I enjoyed them. The young user is delighted. The Exocet Game, a stand-alone electric boat measuring 2.80 meters long, 1.40 meters wide and weighing 120 kilograms, was tested at the Marina O Zone marine base in Gruissan, Aud. On July 8, tourists were offered the first six boats with several water games for the summer season. While European regulations will be tougher on hydrofoils, the machine could make the noise and pollution of jet skis obsolete.
First, Philippe Faucon, a “young 56-year-old start-up” and former manager of a naval base in Normandy. He currently heads two companies, one of which is a boat manufacturer, Enki (for “Electronic Nautic Kart International”); the other to their exploitation, Exocet Game. In sight: a total projected turnover of 1.2 million euros from 2022. Over the past four years, 800,000 euros have been invested in the project.
The innovation received support from the IMT Mines Alès mechatronics platform from the Occitanie region, as well as from Ad’Occ, its economic development agency, from Bpifrance, from the Initiative France Créalia platform and private foundations.
Playful size at low speed
The dual-patented technology allows you to drive without a license or sea experience. Developed since 2018 with naval architect Charles Bertrand, now technical director, it relies on foil to give the pilot a playful dimension and gliding feel even with low power. Power is limited to 6 horsepower (approx. 22 km/h) to avoid a boat license. The machine is controlled by two direction buttons and an accelerator.
The first prototype was unconvincing; the model required a lot of electronics and little pilot experience. “The boat was 30 cm from the water and had to turn around,” explains the manager. But after two and a half years of research and development and a new rapier positioning, the machine has become much more playful. On board, the instability is deliberately constant, with strong slopes.
Enki designed and built its first boats in Balarouc-les-Bains (Hareaux) with local partners, Nîmes-based electric motor manufacturer SMVE Performance and powertrain specialist E-Nav Systems. and green energy for boating located in La Grande Motte.
The experience of gliding at reduced speed has several advantages: “Safe practice, limited energy consumption and open to as many people as possible,” concludes Philippe Faucon. “The foil supports the boat by 90%; the case contributes to its stability,” he explains. The boat flies out of the water, but not completely.
To achieve this result and rowboat effect, the center of gravity and battery have been moved, engine power and wing lift have been changed. The principle is that physiotherapists’ balance boards are never stable, but always have a point of contact.
Fun water parks
The model was approved in early June by the Institute of Certification and Standardization in Boating. “The presence of the foil explains the quick acceleration when cruising speed is reached in 10 meters and the Exocet Game brakes very quickly. At 5 meters, 50% of the kinetic energy is lost: when the foil no longer carries, the hull begins to rub in the water,” Philippe Faucon clarifies, drawing attention to the fears that have already arisen for use by the uninitiated. All boats are geo-located, can be controlled remotely, and settings are accessible from shore.
Exocet Game plans to raise €1 million in 2023 after a summer trial in Gruyssan. The goal: to create fun water parks in France independently or by selling the concept to operators of existing water sports facilities. European development is planned at the second stage.
The ambition of the entrepreneur is also to “democratize the use of the boat”, although only 6% of French people have already boarded. Thus, in addition to fun marine activities, the Exocet Game defines other developments in urban mobility. Larger electric boats that can carry 2 to 4 people and have an autonomy of 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours are now being studied.
Enki and Exocet A game of numbers
Date of creation : 2018 year
Workforce: 6 employees
Park: 6 boats in circulation
Turnover forecast for 2022: 1.2 million euros