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Vehicle developer: Building an Amphibious Car Could Be Done for Just 15% Premium

Gibbs chairman says no one really knows potential market for new class of vehicles. Regulations remain real impediment.

by on Sep.10, 2010

The Gibbs Aquada can convert from water to land mode and vice versa in 5 seconds.

Making a vehicle amphibious would cost a premium of just 15% if it were designed for water use from the start, the chairman of the company that is working on several amphibious vehicles said.

In an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau, Neil Jenkins, chairman of Gibbs Technologies, said the additional hardware needed to turn a garden-variety car into an High-Speed Amphibian is not excessive. Added equipment would include a water jet with a power takeoff from the engine, the hardware to raise the wheels out of the water, sensors to allow the vehicle to determine it is floating and marine lights. That would turn a $32,000 Ford Mustang convertible into a fast amphibian priced at less than $37,000.

Even cars that go in water!

So far, the company’s biggest challenge has been winning U.S. regulatory approval for the car, called the Aquada, that Gibbs wants to build. In fact, Jenkins admitted that he figured getting the Aquada into production would take about three years, not the 11 years since he signed on with the company.