UK-based Gibbs Technologies is forming three new companies to produce and market a broad range ofamphibious vehicles in North America.
Two production-ready vehicles planned for introduction in the U.S. in 2009 were displayed at a news conference here today. Quadski, an all-terrain vehicle, will be manufactured and sold by Gibbs Sports Amphibians. Aquada, a vehicle that combines the handling of a sports car with an ability to travel at more than 30 miles per hour on water, will be built and marketed by Gibbs Amphibians.
A third company, Gibbs Military Amphibians, will have responsibility for the development of highspeed
amphibians (HSA) for military use under an agreement with Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). Gibbs andLockheed Martin plan to unveil several military concept vehicles based on Gibbs’ patented
technology later this summer.
Gibbs Technologies currently is considering locations for technical centers, sales offices and
manufacturing plants in several states including Georgia, Virginia, Michigan and Texas, according to Alan Gibbs, the firm’s founder and chairman.
‘We’ll finalize our bricks-and-mortar decisions within the next several months and expect to begin new-model production in North America late next year.’
Gibbs added that the recruitment of executives for key management positions at each of the three new companies began last month. Openings also will be available in engineering, manufacturing, finance, human resources and sales. Employment at Gibbs facilities in North America is expected to total more than 1,500 within three years.
‘Our plans for North America are ambitious, aggressive and achievable,’ Gibbs said. ‘We’re exploring a variety of manufacturing, supplier and dealer-distribution options, as well as partnerships with potential investors and licensees for our technology.
‘Our market research indicates that a line-up of high-speed amphibious vehicles similar to the Aquada could generate annual sales volumes of 100,000 or more within five years.’
Developed at a cost of more than $100 million, both Aquada and Quadski are scheduled for introduction in the U.S. during the first half of 2009. Fully homologated for sale in Europe, a fleet of 10 Aquadas currently is undergoing tests in southeastern Michigan.
‘A commercially viable high-speed amphibious vehicle has eluded auto manufacturers, entrepreneurs and inventors for more than 100 years,’ Gibbs noted. ‘Recent developments in light-weight materials, engine technology and vehicle architecture, however, have enabled us to accomplish what many believed to be impossible.’
Initial design work on the Aquada began in Detroit in 1997 with a team of more than 20 engineers. Product development later transferred to Coventry in the UK, where the company tapped into a unique blend of motorsports, aerospace and OEM engineering talent. More than one million man hours have gone into the development of the company’s technology.
In 2004, a Gibbs prototype HSA crossed the English Channel in a record-setting time of less than two hours. During tests in Europe and North America, prototype amphibians have traveled at speeds of more than 110 mph on land and 45 mph on water. Both Quadski and Aquada also have the unique ability to transition from land-to-water or water-to-land in five seconds.
‘Although Quadski and Aquada will be among the first products introduced with our HSA technology, we’re actively exploring a variety of other commercial and military applications,’ the company’s founder pointed out.
Gibbs protects its amphibious vehicle technology with more than 70 patents and also has a number of patents pending, according to Neil Jenkins, the company’s president and CEO. Jenkins merged his company, Krafthaus, with Gibbs in 1999 and his work in developing high-speed amphibious-vehicle technology recently received the UK’s prestigious Churchill Medal for innovation and engineering excellence.
‘Since the late 1890′s, there have been literally hundreds of attempts to build a commercially viable amphibious vehicle,’ Gibbs noted. ‘The Magrelen Amphibium built in Denmark in 1899 is credited with being one of the first motorized attempts, while the Hobbycar produced in France between 1992 and 1995 was one of the last.’
Porsche built an estimated 5,000 Type 166 Schwimmwagens between 1940 and 1944. Hans Trippel manufactured and sold nearly 4,000 Amphicars during the 1960′s. The USA produced thousands ofamphibious vehicles during World War II. None were capable of speeds of more than seven mph on water.
Gibbs Technologies is headquartered in Nuneaton near Coventry in the UK, where it has research and development facilities, a prototype manufacturing plant, as well as styling, engineering and marine-test facilities. Additional information about the company, its technology and amphibious vehicles is available on the Internet at www.gibbstech.com
The Aquada is a revolutionary showcase of High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology.
This radical new breed of vehicle has been precision engineered to the most exacting standards. It has undergone an extensive safety testing programme and complies with appropriate marine and road safety regulations.
Entry to the water is via beach, boat ramp, slipway or directly from the water’s edge. Once afloat, the transition from road vehicle to High Speed Amphibian (HSA) is effortlessly achieved.
Simply press a button and drive into the water. The wheels automatically rise and as you press theaccelerator nearly a tonne of thrust pushes the Aquada onto the plane. The whole process takes less than 12 seconds. The Aquada can plane at over 30mph.
Powerful enough to tow a water-skier and with a style and class of its own, the Gibbs Aquada is the perfect leisure vehicle. It combines the thrill of an open top car with the sheer exhilaration experienced in a high performance speedboat.
The Aquada is the new name for freedom!
Price this car:
MSRP: not available yet
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Gibbs Press Release