One of the newest exciting additions to water activities is the electric hydrofoil, aka e-foil. This fun piece of equipment has recently made a huge splash in the water for both water enthusiasts, and novices alike. With all of the emphatic attention on these electric surfboards, it leaves many people wondering how to get their hands on an efoil, but the largest hurdle is the cost of the equipment.
This article will address the common question of:
WHY DO EFOILS COST SO MUCH?
The high price tag of the electric hydrofoil has many people baffled. How much does an efoil cost? That depends. The easy answer is that the price range is as low as $7000 and as high as $13,000. The cheapest efoil on the market today is the Waydoo efoil, and the most expensive efoil is the Lift efoil.
So let us break this down so that the enthusiast and the novice alike can appreciate the elevated cost of these electric hydrofoil surfboards.
FIRST: SURFING IS FUN FOR ALL
Surfing has been a very popular water activity for centuries. Dating back to as early as the 12th Century, Polynesians have documented their love for the ocean waves with images of surfing the waves in cave paintings. Specifically, Hawaii has been credited as the origin point of surfing. With the introduction of Hawaii to the rest of the world through maritime exploration, surfing quickly spread around the world over the course of time. Today, you can find surf shops everywhere as surfers from every corner enjoy the power and beauty of ocean waves. Surfing is fun, it is exciting, and people love it.
SECOND: TECHNOLOGY HAS ADVANCED SURFING
In surfing, the primary piece of equipment is obviously the surfboard. Advancement in design, materials, and processes have enabled surfboard shapers to experiment with nose shapes, fin placement, rail designs, buoyancy, strength, and weight to name a few. With every advancement, the impact on surfing has been displayed in the surfer’s speed, performance, and maneuvers.
With these two points, it is not surprising to conclude that people want to surf and surfers want to improve performance. This creates a demand in the marketplace.
WHAT ABOUT THE EFOILS? WHY ARE EFOILS SO EXPENSIVE?
There are several reasons for the high price on the electric hydrofoil. The primary reasons are covered below.
To perform the way they do, e-foils must have a powerful electric motor backed by a robust battery. The top end efoils have 3000 watt motors that produce approximately 3.22 horse-power. This can propel the efoil boards over 30 miles per hour. The torque provided by these motors are moving a rider that varies in size up to 300 lbs, and are expected to perform in all water conditions: salt water, fresh water, cold and warm temperatures. Additionally, the motor is expected to last for the life of the board. Lastly, the motor is electric, so the housing is incredibly important to the success of the motor.
With this much power, the battery can’t be off the shelf from your neighborhood auto parts store. It can’t even be the battery at the marine boat shop. The battery used by all efoil manufacturers is a waterproof lithium ion battery. As the world demands more battery powered equipment, the cost of lithium ion batteries increases. The safety factors required of a personal watercraft like the efoil mandate that the batteries also be encased in a waterproof box. The battery must be capable of rapid charging, and long term reliability to meet the expectations of the surfing market. Lastly, all that energy of the battery must fit into a small compartment of the efoil board.
We would suggest that the battery and motor alone accounts for roughly $5000 - $7000 of the total price of the electric foil.
LIGHTER STRONGER MATERIALS
The electric hydrofoil boards on the market today range from air-filled raft technology to carbon fiber technology, with many variants in between. Some of the cheaper efoil boards in the market use a closed cell bead foam knows as EPP. This material is inexpensive, but durable to impact, heat, and water. EPP is the same material used in the foam rollers that are used in physical therapy.
Fiberglass is another popular choice for making efoil boards. This is not surprising as most surfboards are made using fiberglass. Fiberglass has a very attractive strength to weight ratio and is easy to work into various shapes. This makes fiberglass perfect for surfboards, and efoil boards.
The top line efoil boards are made with carbon fiber materials. Carbon fiber has some of the same attractive properties as fiberglass, but with 20 percent more strength and 15 percent less weight. This makes carbon fiber even more attractive to applications where high strength and low weight are desired.
The wide range of materials also leads to a wide range in costs. EPP and fiberglass is widely used by many industries and is easy to process. Carbon fiber requires a much more involved process, and therefore is used by fewer manufacturers in fewer industries. This makes carbon fiber more expensive than the other two materials covered here.
Depending on the size of the board and the materials used, we would suggest that the board materials will account for $2000 - $5000 of the total price of the efoil.
People across the globe have fallen in love with the efoil, but it remains a relatively small portion of the marketplace. As such, there are only a few manufacturers producing efoil boards for the world. These manufacturers are competing with much larger industries for their primary hardware parts and board materials.
Some have suggested that the cost of lithium ion batteries should come down as the world demands more electric cars and devices. We would suggest just the opposite. As demand grows, so does price. Lithium is a precious mineral that is mined primarily in Australia, Latin America, and China. The worldwide demand for lithium has pressed the mining operations into overdrive to keep up. We believe that lithium ion batteries will remain costly until new battery technology enters the market.
The thrill of the electric hydrofoil is something that is loved by so many, and the popularity of these boards is growing every day. Read our full article on the benefit of efoiling here. This amazing integration of fun and technology is still on an upward trend, so the demand for the efoil will continue to grow. We conclude that the overall price of the efoil will remain similar to where it is today for the foreseeable future. If you want to get in on the action, but you don’t want to pay the price, you can try to what thousands of water enthusiasts do when they don’t own a boat…make a friend with someone who owns a boat.