The Gibbs Aquada was built to show the capability of the technology, and their long term goal is to license the patented HSA to vehicle manufacturers; enabling them to integrate it into their vehicles.
The Gibbs Aquada has no doors, so you enter the vehicle like you would a boat. It has three seats, with the driver’s seat being in the middle, along with the steering wheel.
On the road it looks like a sports car and has been said to handle like one too, doing 0-60 mph in less than ten seconds. It has a V6, 175 horsepower, 24 valves 2.5 liter engine.
The conversion from a land to water vehicle takes place in less than 12 seconds, and all the driver has to do is push a button and rev the engine.
When this button is pushed, the Gibbs Aquada recognizes that it is in the water and when it has reached the appropriate depth it then cuts the engine drives to the wheels. These then retract, rather like they would on a plane. Trim tabs are then deployed, the road lights change to marine lights and as the engine is revved, the engine then begins to power a jet.
The jet which propels the vehicle through the water can deliver 1 ton of thrust and can accelerate to “plane” in 5 seconds, enabling the opportunity to jet sky behind it.
The jet is also lightweight and compact.
The HSA technology took seven years to design and develop, along with many patents of different parts along the way. The undercarriage of the vehicle is designed like a hull and underwent vigorous tests for rust and corrosion in salt water. The vehicle is said to have residual buoyancy, meaning that in the event of it becoming submerged it would simply bob back up to the surface again; making it unsinkable.
Since the launch of the first HSA vehicle in 2003, the technology has been installed in various vehicles of different sizes, and fills the requirements for the appropriate marine and road safety guidelines.
Sir Richard Branson beat the world record for crossing the English Channel in an Aquada, beating the previous record by four hours.