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Story Arc

by Kate Calamusa
Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats
Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats

In the ever-widening realm of electric boats, a new player has emerged on the waterscape: Arc Boats. Founded in 2021, the Los Angeles, California-based brand has brought together an eclectic team from the fields of aerospace engineering, electric vehicles, marine manufacturing, and software development, many with stints at such companies as SpaceX, Tesla, Rivian, Lyft, and marine staples like Brunswick and MarineMax, in the creation of a new breed of electric boats.

Designed and built completely in-house, from the battery packs to the powertrains and OS systems, the company’s Arc One debuted in 2022—a zippy 24-footer that packed a custom-made 220 kWh battery and 500 hp electric inboard to help it reach speeds of 40 mph. It made press stops up and down the West Coast, turned heads doing so, and sold out quickly.

If the Arc One was the experimental prototype, the Arc Sport set to debut here this summer is expected to be the brand’s mass-market powerhouse, upping those initial Arc One accolades with a 225kWh battery powertrain and a 570 hp inboard, all still with zero emissions and a whisper-quiet ride.

“We’re out to build a better boat,” states Arc Boat chief executive officer Mitch Lee, who grew up boating and has lent his background in mechanical engineering to the company’s formation. “And for us, that means starting with the batteries and building the boat around them, as opposed to taking a boat and slapping an electric powertrain on it, so that instead they are fully integrated into the design and the performance.”

Thus, the Arc Sport is a symphony of form and function: Its streamlined aluminum hull, sculpted with precision, slices through the water like a blade, minimizing drag and maximizing efficiency. The attention to detail is evident in every curve and contour, from the gracefully arched bow to the aerodynamic deck layout. It features an auto-retract hardtop tower to close the cabin in inclement weather; an intelligent computer-controlled water ballast to allow you to shape your wake; bow and stern thrusters for easier maneuverability; and, extensive transom storage as the engine is instead integrated underneath the flooring along with the batteries. Everything is accessible at the touch of a button via the intuitive display in the cockpit, and taking a cue from the likes of Tesla, the Arc Sport utilizes over-the-air (OTA) updating to get better performance over time.

Lee points to that automotive industry, and its leaders, as models for how Arc hopes to help shape the future of electric boating.

“It’s pretty interesting when you look at things that now seem standard in the auto industry—helpful tech like back-up cameras or intuitive controls, or even how Tesla can push out an OTA update and fix any kind of little issue—haven’t really been brought to the boating industry at large yet,” he says. “If we can bring that same type of technology, and level of service, and integrate them all in a streamlined product, I think we have the potential to really appeal to this market.”

While other electric boats of the same class—at a retail price of $258,000 it sits right around the same price as XShore’s Eelex 8000, and less than that of the Candela C-8—have been largely aimed at pleasure boating, or even hassle-free commuting, the Arc Sport has been specifically calibrated for water sports. “Traditional sports boats are not only gas guzzlers, but they require a certain amount of finesse to even know how to captain that perfect wake,” explains Lee. “We’ve invested a ton of time and energy into our ballast systems and intuitive controls, so instead of spending a bunch of time trialing and erroring, you can instead have that rip-roarin’ ride at the touch of a few buttons.”

Because they have channeled so much energy into their software systems, Arc plans to continue to handle every part of the production in-house, selling vessels direct to consumers. Long a sticking point in the rollout of electric boats by and large, the battery packs found aboard the Sport are also designed and engineered within the company’s walls, a move Lee says was necessary as they hoped to ramp up production on a larger scale.

 “I think that the fact that we do everything in-house is part of what makes us distinctive,” states Lee. “We can control and refine each and every little element, and as we plan to service the boats as well, hope to continue to learn from our customers based on their feedback as they get out on the water.”

While the company is firmly in sports mode at the moment as it rolls out the first models this summer (the brand plans a nationwide tour to demo the boat for interested parties, including stops in southern California beach towns, Lake Tahoe, and the Northwest), Lee states that he thinks that Arc will be a player for many years to come. “I think if you look ahead 5, 10, 20 years, the boating market will be largely electric, for a host of reasons. We are positioning ourselves well today with our engineering so that down the line we evolve along with industry, and help lead the charge.”

>> For more details on the Arc Sport, including details on its forthcoming stop in Seattle as part of the brand’s summerlong nationwide tour, go to: arcboats.com.

Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats
Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats
Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats
Photo Courtesy of Arc Boats

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