Vessev VS-9: Fullers360 unveils fully electric passenger vessel that glides above waves

A new era of hydro-foiling tourism is coming soon to Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. 

Fullers360 has revealed its new fully electric passenger vessel, VS-9, that can glide above the waves, creating a smoother trip across the water.  

It uses the hydro-foiling technology we all know from Emirates Team New Zealand, which allows the vessel to lift above the water's surface.  

"If we think about this one here, it's going to be a straight tourist boat, going to places like Waiheke," Fullers360 chief executive Mike Horne told Newshub on Tuesday.  

"Quiet, comfortable, sitting above the water, and zero emission."  

Fullers360 invited Newshub out on the water to put the vessel to the test at Westhaven Marina on Auckland's waterfront.   

The VS-9 promotional video showcased it gliding across the water without a bump. And we can confirm that it lived up to the hype. Once in hydro-foil mode, the vessel really did glide above the waves.   

Designed in New Zealand by Vessev for Fullers360's NetZero Maritime - an in-house team dedicated to enabling the adoption of green technology and innovation on the water - the VS-9 has a top speed of 55 kilometres per hour and it can carry up to 10 passengers.  

The finished product will include a cabin with seats.  

"What we do with our hydro-foiling technology is we remove the boat from the water and that substantially reduces drag by up to 80 percent," Vessev chief executive Eric Laakmann told Newshub.   

The cost of filling up an equivalent petrol-powered boat is about 25 times the cost of the electricity used to power the VS-9, and that's partly due to the energy efficiency of the hydro-foil technology.  

"This one we're on, it's about a million dollars, but the reality is, these things run at a fraction of the operating cost of diesel boats," Horne said.   

In week one of testing last week, a trip to Waiheke Island and back to Auckland CBD cost just $8 in electricity to power the VS-9, but $140 in petrol to power the chase boat. As testing progresses, Fullrs360 expects it to become even more efficient.  

"We don't need a heap of power. Because we're so efficient on the hydrofoils, you can use extremely small electric motors," Laakmann explained.   

Horne said Fullers360 has plans to expand to bigger vessels.  

"Bigger ones of these, basically," he said, pointing to the VS-9. "So, if you think about it, 100-seat foiling vessels used for tourism and or ferries."  

And if you're wondering when you could take a ride on a VS-9, it's not too far off.  

"We'd really like that to be by this summer, but we need to take it carefully," Horn said.  

A few more hurdles for Fullers360 to glide over, before the VS-9 carries passengers across Auckland's harbour.