The automotive industry is knee deep in the vast transition to electric, but one place where gas is still going strong is out on the water. Seattle startup Zin Boats wants to start what you might call a sea change by showing, as Tesla did with cars, that an electric boat can be not just better for the planet, but better in almost every other way as well.
With a minimalist design like a silver bullet, built almost entirely from carbon fiber, the 20-foot Z2R is less than half the weight of comparable craft, letting it take off like a shot and handle easily, while also traveling a hundred miles on a charge — and you can fill the “tank” for about five bucks in an hour or so.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, it ain’t cheap. But then, few boats are.
Piotr Zin, the company’s namesake, has been designing racing sailboats for 20 years, while working in industrial design at BMW, GM and other major companies. Soon after settling down on a houseboat on Seattle’s Lake Union, he realized that the waterways he had enjoyed his whole life might not exist for the next generation. “The reason I started working on electric boats specifically is because I had a kid, and I had a come to Jesus moment,” he told me. “I realized: If we’re not going to do something personally about the quality of the water we live in, it’s not going to be here when my kid is my age.” As a first-time founder, a technical one at that, of a hardware company, Zin has his work cut out for him. He’s raised seed money to get the prototype and production model ready, but needs capital to start filling his existing orders faster. Like many other startups, he was just gearing up to go all out when the pandemic struck, shutting down production completely. But they’re just about ready to start manufacturing again.