[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Amphibious car drives over water
The car will cost about 150,000

A sports car which can travel on water at the touch of a button has been given a test drive on the Thames.

The convertible Aquada Sports Amphibian, which can reach up to 100mph on land, uses a jet to propel it through water at speeds of over 30mph.

It takes about 10 seconds for the car's wheels to retract, the power to switch and the boat to take off, says Gibbs Technologies, the company behind the car.

The accelerator can then be used as a throttle in the water.

Those who want to buy their own James Bond-style vehicle can expect to pay out about 150,000 when it goes on the market later this year.

The company chose London's Docklands, scene of a high-speed boat chase in the Bond film The World Is Not Enough, to test drive the car in public.

AQUADA FACTS
Goes in sea or fresh water
Has a range of 50 miles
Two-wheel drive
Has engine of 175hp

But unlike the submarine Lotus Esprit in the Spy Who Loved Me, the Aquada planes across the water's surface.

Gibbs Technologies says other amphibious cars have not managed to get faster than 6mph on the water.

And previous attempts have often failed because of difficulties getting the vehicle to climb back onto dry land.

Company founder Alan Gibbs said: "This is new in the way that helicopters were new or Harrier jump jets were new.

"It's a genuine amphibian which has been an international project, but it's British engineering which has made it possible."

He said it was meant as a sports car and a sports boat.

"But it could be a commuter city vehicle which avoids commuter congestion, " he added.

"The Thames is a perfect location to make use of this vehicle as it has no speed limit and is greatly under-utilised."

The car needs a boat ramp or slope to get into the water, although it could be driven straight into the sea from the shore.

New owners will need to insure it for both road and marine use.

The launch on Wednesday followed seven years of work by 70 engineers and designers at the firm's headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

A launch series is in production to be available later this year.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Simon Montague
"It's James Bond in the flesh"



SEE ALSO:
Self-parking car hits the shops
01 Sep 03  |  Technology
Gaddafi invents 'rocket car'
06 Sep 99  |  Middle East
The car that swims
26 Aug 99  |  Science/Nature


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific