Navier, a Bay Area-based startup that builds electric airboats, announces a $7.2 million fundraising round. Co-founded by MIT alumni Sampriti Bhattacharyya, PhD (CEO) and Reo Baird (CTO), Navier is building a new kind of watercraft that cuts running costs by 90%. Navier’s approach combines hydrofoils, electrification, advanced composites and an intelligent software system. By unlocking an order of magnitude reduction in the operating cost of craft.
Boats are going electric and lately a few corporate-backed start-ups are working on marine electrification. But the biggest difficulty in public adoption is the limited range of electric boats. Using electric hydrofoil technology, the boats built by Navier eliminate high hydrodynamic drag and aim to be the longest electric vessels on the market at high speeds, achieving a range of 75 nautical miles at 20 knots.
Reo Baird and Sampriti Bhattacharyya
“Navier is much more than an electric upgrade. We are fundamentally redesigning the boat as we know it. Hydrofoils not only allow electric boats to achieve practical autonomy at high speeds, but they significantly reduce the cost of operating a vessel by a factor of 10 compared to traditional boats equipped with combustion engines. Plus, they provide vastly superior ride quality that eliminates seasickness as you outsmart the waves,” said Sampriti Bhattacharyya, Navier Co-Founder and CEO.
Navier is perfecting its core foil control technology with the Navier 27 (N27), a pleasure craft. However, Navier’s longer-term vision is to expand to solve the pressing problem of congestion in coastal cities by building robotaxis on water.
“Hydfoil craft are not new, but limitations in technology have limited their performance and applicability. Hydrofoils are analogous to dynamically unstable aircraft, such as the F-35, so intelligent electronic control systems are required for flight. Solving this problem requires collaboration between maritime, robotics and aerospace engineering experts to bring new approaches to the challenges. Our team is developing a next-generation foil control system that will achieve unprecedented performance over a wide range of sea conditions,” added Reo Baird, Navier CTO.
Navier 27 sold its first year of production (15 ships) within two months of the product announcement and is attracting a huge volume of inbound interest. Navier has also partnered with iconic boat builder Lyman-Morse to achieve the first year of production of the Navier 27. The first two hulls of the model are currently under construction at Lyman-Morse’s Maine facility. The company plans to increase production to over 400 units by 2024.