An all-terrain hovercraft? What does it sound like! Michael Mercier thought the same way - and made his own sports car boat. Meet Arosa!
Dream and air cushion technology
VonMercier is run by Michael Mercier. Michael is not only the CEO, but also the founder of the company. Once upon a time, as a teenager, Mercier subscribed to Boys' Life magazine. He says: “It was a typical teenage male magazine. The most ordinary magazine, where pressing problems were discussed, and you could also buy anything - from “X-ray” glasses to Sea Monkeys (editor’s note - under this name, Artemia shrimp were sold as pets)”.
Michael adds: “They also included instructions for making a simple air cushion, which required a round sheet of plywood, an old vacuum cleaner, and a small piece of shower curtain. Then I was able to assemble an impromptu “cart” on an air cushion and ride my younger sister in it. It just blew my mind."
Mercier did not leave the thought of the air cushion and periodically returned to it. From time to time he created more elaborate versions for his school science projects. The idea did not leave the guy even when he started to study in college: “The thought of creating the perfect hovercraft has always been in my head.”
Hovercraft are nothing new. This technology was especially popular in the last century, although today there are not only concepts, but also full-fledged vehicles of this type.
However, despite the fact that the air cushion appeared a long time ago, the technology has not received much development. As Michael said: “They [court] have never had the popularity they deserve. The idea of private hovercraft seemed to be a thing of the past.”
Arosa is the brainchild of VonMercier
Today Michael is 36 years old. He did not give up his dream and created Arosa - a full-fledged electric hovercraft. It has three electric motors instead of one traditional gasoline engine. As Mercier himself says, Arosa is able to soar above the water at a height of 15-20 centimeters. In addition, the boat is able to travel not only on water, but also on land, using the same air cushion.
The Arosa body is made of carbon fiber. From the outside, it resembles the outlines of a supercar. In the early stages of creating a boat, VonMercier designers relied on the design of such cars as Bugatti, Aston Martin, BMW. In addition, Chris-Craft boats and even B-2 series bombers served as inspiration!
The design took nearly a decade to complete. The prototype of Arosa was the Supercraft boat, created in 2014. Mercier says: "The challenge was simple - to create a hybrid car and boat so that it does not look like Frankenstein's monster."
Already received 7 orders for Arosa. The first copies will go to the owners in July 2023. Interestingly, VonMercier already has the capacity to create 25 more models this year. Michael plans to at least double production capacity by 2024.
Arosa trim levels
Potential owners can choose the package to taste. The first is designed for 18 kilowatt-hours, this power is enough for 90 minutes and 30-40 nautical miles of travel. There is also a version twice as powerful - at 36 kilowatt-hours. In this configuration, the Arosa can travel about 80 miles and has a power reserve of 3 hours. To charge the device, a conventional charger from an electric car is enough.
Arosa has an open cockpit. There is a place for the skipper, as well as a passenger seat immediately behind him. If suddenly it seemed to you that two seats are not enough, then you can expand the passenger seat and get one more seat. The choice of the buyer is also interior decoration, audio and GPS-system. Arosa has a load capacity of 225 kg.
The electric boat is capable of speeds of 80 km/h (~44 knots). As Mercier himself says, Arosa is the fastest amphibious boat to date. In addition, the special structure of the entire boat system makes it very quiet and comfortable.
Mercier's plans are ambitious. Over the next decade, he plans to make two more versions of his boat. The first one is Lucerne. It will be designed for 4-6 passengers. The second variation is called Olten. As planned, it will be used as a first response measure, search and rescue of people on ice, shallow water and during floods.
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