I've been watching the Audi efoil (official product name Audi e-tron foil by Aerofoils) since 2019 and was there in person for the very first debut at CES in Las Vegas.
A few months later, the Aerofoils team visited me in Berlin and we were able to test the first prototypes already in summer 2019.
Audi eFoil 2022
Since 2022 E-Surfer is an authorized dealer and service center for the Audi eFoil. We always have boards and spare parts in stock.
Here you can see a video of me on the Audi eFoil from the E-SURFER Youtube channel:
Since 2019, I have been in continuous contact with Franz Hofmann and Chris Rößler, the brains behind the Audi e-tron Foil. In November 2021, they visited me again in Berlin, where I had the opportunity to test the final version of Audi's eFoil. Compared to other electric hydrofoils, it does not use an open propeller, but a fully shielded propeller.
In February 2022, I visited the factory in Bavaria and took delivery of our first Adventure demo board. In early June 2022, we received the first performance board (the smaller Audi eFoil) with serial number 001.
Here is the video of my factory visit:
In October, Mike from Jetsurfingnation and I invited the Audi eFoil team to Portugal to test the e-tron foil in the waves. You can find the article and the video on our E-Surfer blog.
Audi eFoil 2021:
In November 2021, I was allowed to ride the first production model. With 4.5 kW of power, one is similar to the then market leaders Lift Foils and Fliteboard. Theoretically, a fully shielded drive is not as efficient as a propeller drive, but the team around Franz seems to have done a great job. The Audi eFoil or better Audi e-tron Foil did not have the slightest problems to accelerate and take off me with 90 kg plus a thick 5 mm wetsuit and vest. There was still room to go up and AeroFoils states the maximum weight of the rider as 110 kg.
The engine noise was at a higher frequency but comparable to the lift and quieter than Fliteboard. This is because Aerofoils as well as Lift were able to eliminate a gearbox. The remote is smaller than Lift but larger than Flite and feels good in the hand. The remote's color display was bright enough and easy to read.
The wings from the Audi eFoil are very different in design from those of other manufacturers - as you can see in the picture above. In my Audi e-tron foil test, they were very agile and made a good impression. In my test, I rode the big board with the big wing. After all, we had November and it was cold 😉
There is a smaller board as well as smaller wings, for light riders and those who like it sportier. It is also easy to see in the photo above that the engine is in line with the front and rear wings. This allows the maximum use of the 80 cm mast.
The Audi e-tron foil team is the first manufacturer to use a jet drive to avoid injuries from a propeller. Normally, these have a lower efficiency and a lower static thrust than propellers. That it is not easy to build such a drive can be seen with other e-foil manufacturers, such as VeFoil, who have tried this so far, but then failed due to the lack of efficiency.
The Audi e-tron foil team has now overcome this. With a rider weight of 75kg and an average speed of 20km/h, the team riders from Aerofoils manage a
Driving time of up to two hours, according to Franz Hofmann. Of course, this depends very much on the weather conditions, the flight altitude and the selected setup.
The Audi surfboard comes in a board bag and also the mast, wings, power supply and other components come in a handy bag.
The complete eFoil including the mast is made of carbon fiber material and weighs about 32 kg with the battery. The performance board is a little lighter.
Audi eFoil 2019:
The Audi eFoil team visited us already in 2019 for a tour in Berlin, where we were able to compare Audi's jet-powered e-Foil with Lift's eFoil. The Lift eFoil has been in series production since summer 2018 while the e-tron Hydrofoil was a prototype. So this comparison is not about the details, but about the different concepts.
I was surprised at how quiet the jet engine was. I had expected it to be much louder than the propeller drive, but it was about the same. However, propeller drives are more efficient, and the e-tron prototype we tested at the time was designed for drivers weighing less than 80 kg.
I was able to surf the surface but was too slow to fly at 92 kg. Very soon the team had a version for heavier riders and I looked forward to seeing them again to ride it.
But not only the propulsion is very different, also the board itself and the wings follow a different concept.
Audi eFoil at CES:
This was our first article about the Audi eFoil in January 2019: 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.
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
The first prototype was tested in early 2018 and still had a battery pack on top of the board, as seen on some early DIY electric hydrofoils. 3 months later, the next generation already had the battery pack integrated into the surfboard.
Franz gets a lot of support from his colleagues at Audi: 3D prints, connectors, carbon parts, etc. and the design, which bears the beautiful signature of Max Fischhaber, a gifted interior designer and talented surfer.
Franz and Chris are building a team of enthusiastic experts inside and outside AUDI.