I fail to see how an electromotive system will be more efficient than just having the engine turning the properly sized blowers directly.
The propulsion system doesn't look efficient at all.
1st August, 2012 @ 1:23 a.m. (California Time)
Useless unless on water as the dirt spray will just come up and into the cockpit and onto anyone standing within 30-50 or so feet!!
And try to move one of these on water without the air lift and likely ruin it as the drag is so high.
I built a fairly good one with a very experienced hovercrafter/builder and was surprised how useless they were except the few places where they shine like swamps, shallow water, etc little else can go.
What we really need are ground effect trains and Wing In Ground Effect/WIGE/WIG flying boats.
1st August, 2012 @ 7:41 a.m. (California Time)
Sounds about as likely as this other pie-in-the-sky concept.
I suspect the two boys are being a little naive. There are any number of small personal hovercraft and In-Ground-Effect craft available, most already proven and in operation. Still, good luck to them, specially if they can do it for $20k!
1st August, 2012 @ 8:49 a.m. (California Time)
not sure where the hate is coming from.
A: it has a cushion. This keeps spray and dirt from coming up into the cockpit. Proven tech, been done for a LONG time. LCAC's give a bit of spray, but then they're hundreds of tons and need a LOT of air inflating their cushion. . . for small ones, not so much.
B: a hybrid means the electric motors will run at need. It looks (from sketches and pics) like the main hover-prop is powered by the motor and the maneuvering props are run by electrics. It looks like a nice idea.
I've seen them on grass, pavement, dry lake beds (sand), etc. and they go well. Their main problem is maneuverability - which this is trying to address. . .
1st August, 2012 @ 10:50 a.m. (California Time)
First insurmountable problem... sudden stops. Every car needs to be able to stop in a hurry. Turning is an issue too.
1st August, 2012 @ 1:43 p.m. (California Time)
@warren52nz Where's the brake pedal on my boat then?
1st August, 2012 @ 7:31 p.m. (California Time)
This could work but not with any electrics which require at least 4 car size battery's for twin 28 Lb electric motors (e-Tec) Plus the generator of equal or more hp output than the motors! Electrics on flying things are a non starter for any useful range because of the weight penalty. If it was all gas motors it might work with very highly loaded props, but like all hovercraft the prop noise will make it unacceptable near populated areas. It should be outlawed to promote any untried prop designed craft as "Quieter" when they have offered no reason for that attribute. When the noise problem is solved Hovercraft will become popular and sales will drive innovative designs.
1st August, 2012 @ 8:46 p.m. (California Time)
Make it look like a Star Wars landspeeder and they'll have a bunch of orders.
1st August, 2012 @ 9:30 p.m. (California Time)
Looks good, great idea, the only change I would make is to have a vertical fan in the back. Make it variable pitch so it could increase both forward speed and, reverse thrust for slowing down faster.
1st August, 2012 @ 10 p.m. (California Time)
Deflate the cushion. screeeeech.
2nd August, 2012 @ 12:30 a.m. (California Time)
christopher - August 1, 2012 @ 07:31 pm PDT
said @warren52nz "Where's the brake pedal on my boat then?.."
Very good point Christopher.
Just use the same approach as on the boat - throw out the anchor!
2nd August, 2012 @ 4:13 a.m. (California Time)
nice video and design. however, none of the tech. is new and therefore not patent material. as with any car or boat model it can be copyrighted though. seriously, ducted fans and thrust vectoring have been around for so long a patent application is laughable. i think they got most of their ideas from RC craft and R. Q. Riley designs. it's only the exterior design that is unique. but nice job on that. it seems a lot of new high-end marine performance designs are trying to incorporate sports car styling and such. very bond-ish! nice, i think. :)
2nd August, 2012 @ 5:34 a.m. (California Time)
At the price a good investment for the first generation they will hold their first issue status in the future and appreciate in value. With the improvements to follow this looks like a foundational car company for the 21st century. Ground floor opportunities are rare and this tech will take in the rebuilt and redesigned cities of this century. Do you see how quickly the cities of the world have adopted latest tech and transformed their appearance and complexity overnight? This one looks like a winner
2nd August, 2012 @ 7:13 p.m. (California Time)
I smell a scam. Just watch the video. If these guys are engineers trying to build a better hovercraft, the terrible editing quality of their video suggest poor technical skills, yet the infomercial style sales pitch was pretty good. Never trust a good sales man that lacks technical skills, unless you want to get conned.
3rd August, 2012 @ 11:13 a.m. (California Time)
Great innovation for something so old and boring. I have to disagree with "AnOld BlackMarble" I think if the video were too flashy I would be more skeptical. Their expertise is not in video editing and cinematography its in engineering. Keep up the work hope to see one soon.
3rd August, 2012 @ 1:56 p.m. (California Time)
How can it be 'environmentally friendly' when the battery charger/generator still runs on gasoline and spews toxic fumes and still needs water polluting lubricating oil to run?
One gallon of motor oil can contaminate one MILLION gallons of water.
And chemical batteries? They're toxic, from manufacturing down to the recycling processes which takes a lot more energy for them to be produced in the first place and the ones fits this particular application can explode.
With this kind of hybrid you get the the ineffiency and weight penalty of an infernal combustion engine PLUS the low energy density storage and chemical ineffiency of batteries. Great. Unfortunately these people haven't done any thorough research using Google so I wouldn't give them serious thoughts of ever succeeding.
3rd August, 2012 @ 7:18 p.m. (California Time)
Terrific proposal !! I admire your efforts, You are
however slightly behind Moller progress but the
hovercraft is undoubtably coming. Call it:
The Wheeless Automobile. I prefer the
SEV format with enough thrust and lifting
surfaces, to actually fly out of ground effect.
At speed, it may be able to hold a 3D lane,
and most likely, that regulatory infrastructure
would be available to military and LE only at first.
I envision a 400K price tag when/if such could
be offered to the public.
8th August, 2012 @ 9 p.m. (California Time)
@David, The noise could be countered using destructive wave technology
8th August, 2012 @ 9:36 p.m. (California Time)
Thanks for the article, Darren! I really appreciate you taking the time to understand our design and share it with the web. And thanks to everyone for your comments and feedback (positive and negative). The Mercier-Jones hovercraft is going to be a reality, and we are hoping to make it available to everyone as soon as next summer. As builds and testing progress, you will see how incredible this vehicle really is. Its going to be awesome!
13th August, 2012 @ 8:07 a.m. (California Time)
Please keep me in informed of progress, are you looking for investors?
19th October, 2012 @ 11:23 p.m. (California Time)
Hi Martin Brook,
We are still looking for investors. Please e-mail me at email@example.com and visit mercier-jones.com for more information.
CEO and Co-founder, Mercier-Jones
29th October, 2012 @ 12:30 p.m. (California Time)
Best. Price. Ever.
23rd August, 2013 @ 10:23 a.m. (California Time)
The hovercraft community is pretty small, and the industry manufacturing them even smaller. So it's been very frustrating to watch the hype surrounding the Mercier-Jones hovercraft which has been created in Chicago and has secured so many column inches of newsprint over the last year or two.
It's fair to say, it looks very striking, and the manufacturers have clearly spent their money on the design, styling and marketing, which has landed them huge amounts of coverage in the media. Mercier-Jones modestly claim the aesthetic inspiration of high end sports cars like Bugatti Veyrons & Audi R8's and make some incredible claims as to its performance and how their product will revolutionise an 'old-fashioned' industry. This is 'the future of personal transportation' apparently and it's amazing new system of steering paves the way for a 'street- legal' version… oh please, its vectored thrust, it's not new, it doesn’t work and the day will never come when one of these things drives legally down the road in a civilized country.
They claim 'hybrid technology' - Ah! All those batteries will explain why - at 400kgs plus - it's far too heavy for its size, leading to an unrealistic skirt pressure which means, it quite simply cannot work - these guys might be geniuses for all I know, but they can’t defeat physics.
My hobby - away from building recreational and small commercial hovercraft - is racing them. I race in Formula 2 - my craft weighs half what the Mercier-Jones does, and has three times the horsepower. I reckon its good for 60mph. You should see what the 200kg Formula 1's can do with their 200bhp engines. Take a look here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6YHz6YwlBo and you'll get the idea!
I doubt the bespoke, lightweight 200bhp hovercraft in this video are achieving much above 70mph, yet the Mercier Jones is faster than these apparently! "With top speeds estimated at over 80 MPH and acceleration that will rival it’s supercar cousins, Mercier-Jones hopes to handily beat the hovercraft land-speed record this summer of 56.25 mph and go after the water-speed record of 86.5 mph." It's rather like claiming your Dacia Duster will lap Spa Francochamps faster than Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.
Unfortunately, Mercier-Jones aren’t the first company to flood the hovercraft market with ridiculous claims The industry seems to have attracted lots of bullsh****rs over the years. They tend to come and go, usually leaving an investor or two considerably poorer. But I have to say, this is certainly the most far-fetched, unrealistic and misleading set of claims I've seen in my 30 years involvement with hovercraft. I'm sure their intentions are honest and this is a huge misunderstanding on my behalf.
One of the outrageous claims that Mercier-Jones make is that their hovercraft works.
And that's an outrageous claim because…. it doesn’t! Look here for their test video….
There it is in a pond on the end of a rope (maybe that’s what they mean when they claim it's fly-by-wire?) in a big ball of spray hovering no more than one inch off the ground! It's a fair way from this to their 87mph ambitions, that hovercraft does not produce a thrust ratio "which is slightly better than the supersonic B-2 Stealth Spirit" I've got to ask, what exactly are they celebrating at the end? That nobody drowned?
They claim the first craft will be delivered in May 2014, really? Who would witness this and splash out $75,000 on something which obviously doesn’t work? I've only ever seen one real one on film - everything else has been computer generated images.
You may well have picked up on the fact that I'm angry about this and may ask why. Well, it's not jealousy, (though I wouldn’t mind my company getting 1/10th the press coverage they've managed!) but I know just how much damage the Mercier Jones may cause the industry with their high profile shenanigans. As secretary of the 'Hovercraft Manufacturers Association' (HMA) I'm very keen to mature and develop this nascent industry. Together with our some of our members, I've spent two years dealing with the UK Authorities to develop a new 'Hovercraft Code of Practice' and we're constantly lobbying government organisations and commercial operators who've had bad experiences with small hovercraft - and are firmly of the opinion that they simply don’t work. The Mercier Jones is simply going to further that opinion - negatively impacting on honest manufacturers and operators who are trying to develop their own businesses.
What I don’t know is what the aim of this whole project is - they've already attracted some funding from the IndieGoGo website - is the ambition to attract more, whilst they draw a decent wage? The problem is that plenty of people are excited by the idea of a hovercraft (when I finally invent a hoverboard, I'll be richer than Bill Gates) and I've seen some rather naïve investors and overexcited buyers jump in without first checking their facts.
One thing's for sure, the Mercier Jones doesn't work - yet they claim they’re taking orders. And that worries me.
Michael Mercier, Chris Jones - I'm calling you out to protect my industry and the sport I love. My company manufactures and sells over 100 of those 'old fashioned' hovercraft each year, and I'm happy to take on any dynamic challenge you can come up with. Flying Fish hovercraft www.flyingfishhovercraft.co.uk steer accurately, hover a foot above the ground, do 40mph and work with up to four people on board - you can see them on the internet cruising on rivers and the sea, beaches, ice, snow, sand, mud and estuaries. Can you provide a single piece of evidence that any of your claims are justified?
Because, if your company is ever going to achieve 100 hovercraft sales a year, one thing is pretty important.
They need to work.
20th March, 2014 @ 3:47 a.m. (California Time)