A vehicle that can move on both land and water sounds like something from a science fiction movie, right?
But did you know, they actually exist? And have done for many years.
In this article, we’ll trace the history of the amphibious vehicle and take a run down of the incredible, real-life amphibious vehicles that are available for use around the world today. Think of this as your Introduction to Amphibious Vehicles 101 class, and yes, we are excited to be your teachers.
What Is An Amphibious Vehicle?
This is obviously the first question that needs to be answered in a 101 class! Well, also known as an amphibian, an amphibious vehicle simply refers to a means of transportation that has the ability to move on both land and water, as well as, in some cases, the ability to travel underwater too.
You may be assuming (understandably, considering you don’t see these kinds of vehicles waiting at the lights next to you when you’re out driving on the road) that these kinds of vehicles are very limited in number. That maybe there are only one or two in the world. But, you’d be wrong. There are many different types of amphibious vehicles and they include ATVs, cars, buses, trucks, military vehicles, boats and hovercrafts.
So how did these kinds of vehicles come about and why were they created?
History Of Amphibious Vehicles
You may not be surprised to discover that, as with many innovations in technology, amphibious vehicles came about for the purpose of warfare. But have been adopted by those keen to see how far the technology can be taken and what other problems could be solved with amphibious vehicles.
Amphibious carriages were the earliest known form of amphibious vehicles – an invention that has often been credited to either the Neapolitan polymath Prince Raimondo Di Sangro of Sansevero in July 1770, or Samuel Bentha, whose design of 1781 was first built in June 1787.
Although disputed, the first self-propelled amphibious vehicle – a steam-powered wheeled dredging barge “Orukter Amphibolos” – is believed to have been designed and built by American inventor Oliver Evans in 1805.
It is however claimed that the vehicle may have been unable to successfully travel over land and water using its own steam.
In the Second World War, amphibious vehicles played a significant role, as both sides had amphibious military craft which they used in the transportation of troops and supplies. In 1905, T. Richmond built a three-wheeled amphibious petrol-powered carriage.
Since the 1920s, lots of amphibious driving has existed for various purposes including recreation and expedition.
In 2010, a Southern California-based company named “WaterCar” set the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Amphibious Vehicle with their prototype “l’The Python.’ On land, The Python reached top speeds of 204km/hr (127mph) and water speeds of 96km/hr (60mph; 52 knots).
Types Of Amphibious Vehicles
Depending on the particular type of vehicle you are looking for, there are a wide range of amphibious vehicles to choose from. These vehicles include:
● Amphibious Quad Jet Ski
Often regarded as the ultimate statement piece, the Amphibious Quad Jet Ski is particularly stable on the water as it uses a very stable platform and has lateral stability, hence it can be easily manoeuvered. Its hull is both lightweight and buoyant. Once on the road, the wheels are retracted upwards and sideways, allowing it to function just as an average four-wheeled quad bike would on land.
The Amphibious Quad Jet Ski can go as fast as 45mph as it is compact and light. Its aluminum, and stainless steel body allows for durability and water resistance.
● The WaterCar Panther
If you love speed, then this is the amphibious vehicle for you. The WaterCar 0
Panther is best for moving at high speeds on the water. Moving up to 44mph, the WaterCar Panther remains one of the fastest amphibious vehicles, combining visual design with functionality.
The WaterCar Panther is propelled the same way a watercraft is. A patented transfer facility allows a power shift from the engine to the panther pump jet. A hydraulic system also allows the vehicle to move on the water by retracting its wheel, thus letting it glide.
With a manual transmission gear with four speeds, the WaterCar Panther moves just like other four-wheeled vehicles. With an engine power of 300 horsepower, it can run up to 8-mph on regular roads and its 26-gallon gas tank allows it cover as far as 160 miles.
● The Terra Wind Amphibious RV
Thinking of taking a long road trip? Then you should consider getting the Terra Wind Amphibious RV as it functions just as any RV would, with the added advantage that it also moves on water. Its sleek exterior and spacious interior provide you with the same comfort a regular RV would.
These vehicles go as fast as 7 knots as watercraft, and they come with state-of-the-art navigation facilities such as GPS, a computer docking station and a moving map allowing you to keep track of your position. With modern facilities like a washing machine, a deck and a cooker, the Terra Wind Amphibious RV is specially designed to provide you with comfort throughout your trip.
● Aquada High-Speed Amphibious Vehicle
These vehicles are as functional as they are delicate. They are spacious and comfortable and they also happen to be one of the fastest amphibious cars available. The Aquada amphibious vehicle can go as fast as 100mph on land and 35mph on water. It takes barely four seconds for its transformation from land vehicle to watercraft.
Its V6 engine, pumped with 175 horsepower, allows it to move from 0 to 60mph. It also has a transformation button and automatic sensors that enable transformation on water.
While they might sound like a fable, amphibious vehicles capable of moving on land, water and underwater do exist. What’s even more exciting is that there are so many of them which you can choose from and our list of examples have only really scratched the surface. Their potential for future use is enormous and they look set to become vehicles for the future.