Audi e-tron electric hydrofoil with jet propulsion

The Audi e-tron electric hydrofoil with jet propulsion is a project from Audi’s engineer Franz Hofmann and Christian Roessler from Technical University of Munich.

It was showcased at Kiel Regatta & LA autoshow in 2018 and the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in January 2019.

33 years old Franz has a kitesurfing background and started to develop his own masts and wings for kite foiling  together with the Roessler brothers Chris and Hansi in 2015.

In 2017 he had the idea to build an AUDI e-foil which showcases how exciting the electric mobility future can be.

I though it fits perfectly into the e-tron family: We do research in micro mobility, for example air taxis and e-scooters, so why not also water vehicles like e-foils. And an e-foil is for sure the most exciting water vehicle you can experience.

For me it’s basically the “future of surfing” - Everyday, Everywhere, Anytime

Franz Hofmann
e-tron E-Foil
e-tron E-Foil

So the two guys started to think about an electric hydrofoil, one guy with the background of water, the other of deep aircraft knowledge.

We think completely different. I need a robust product for wave surfing and for an exciting time in the swell. Chris, as a worldchampion and worldrecord leader in “pylon raceing” is always striving for lightweight construction and high efficiency. The outcome is a unique and robust design with a high efficient electric jet-propulsion system fully integrated in the fuselage of the hydrofoil. But the most important fact is the inherent safe construction of the jet!

Franz Hofmann

The first prototype was tested in the beginning of 2018 and had still a battery pack on top of the board as you have seen with some early DIY electric hydrofoils already. 

3 months later , the next generation had the battery pack already integrated into the surfboard.

Franz is getting a lot of support from his colleagues at Audi: 3D prints, plugs, carbon parts etc. and the design, which is the beautiful handwriting of Max Fischhaber a gifted interior designer and talented surfer.

“This helps a lot to accelerate the development. We have all the great expertise in one company for lightweight construction, aerodynamics, electronics, machining parts and designs. You just have to bring them all together.”

Franz Hofmann
e-tron design by Max Fischhaber
e-tron design by Max Fischhaber

Franz and Chris  build up a team of enthusiastic experts inside and outside of AUDI and they are planning to produce a limited amount of boards in 2019 for beta testing.

Their goal is to combine the knowledge of aircraft design and AUDI technology into a unique product for watersports and fun.

The 100 cm long foil is completely out of carbon fibre and the jet engine out of aluminium to allow better cooling.

Electric foil made in Germany
Electric foil made in Germany

Depending on the riders weight 3,5 - 5 kW power should be sufficient to fly above the water says Franz. For more speed and people with more weight 6kW maximum power is maybe the goal. Liftfoils for example has 5kW.

The battery shall last an hour and about 30 km which is similar to other electric foils. 

For sure we design different wings for different use cases and never stop exploring, because an e-foil is nothing else than a personal airplane for water and everyone can imagine, that there is a huge number of parameters which influence the customer experience. 

Franz Hofmann
Audi e-tron foil
Audi e-tron foil

The Audi e-tron electric hydrofoil with jet propulsion will start flying at about 17 km/h and reach a maximum speed of 45 km/h according to Franz.

The weight of the prototype board is about 18 kg without battery.

Franz’s plan is to start the production in 2020 in higher numbers.

With the experience gained so far we do a complete redesign now, so every detailed parameter I would tell you today would be wrong tomorrow.

For safety, the most important fact is the inherent safe construction of the jet. There is no danger of loosing your fingers.

Franz Hofmann

Given that mass production of the Audi e-tron electric hydrofoil does not start before 2020 and Franz is planning to redesign some components we will not list the board in our electric hydrofoil comparison for the time being.

More information in the official Audi article.

If you are not sure which board you should buy, visit our test center in Berlin. Make an appointment online by filling out our contact form.
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