Two production-ready amphibious vehicles are planned for introduction in the United States in 2009, according to UK-based Gibbs Technologies, who is forming three new companies to produce and market its vehicles in North America. Quadski, an all-terrain vehicle, will be manufactured and sold by Gibbs Sports Amphibians. Aquada, a vehicle that combines the handling of a sports car with an ability to travel at more than 30 mph on water, will be built and marketed by Gibbs Amphibians.

Quadski is the third demonstration of Gibbs' HSA technology following the successes of the Aquada and the Humdinga. It is capable of traveling up to 50 mph (72 kph) on land and water and makes the transition at the flick of a switch.

According to Alan Gibbs, the firm's founder and chairman, "Our market research indicates that a lineup of high-speed amphibious vehicles similar to the Aquada could generate annual sales volumes of 100,000 or more within five years."

"I know consumers will love the fun of driving a Quadski on land one minute and then head straight into the sea or river the next. But there is a very serious side to Quadski as well: emergency services and aid workers will be able to reach areas and people no two-wheel- or four-wheel-drive vehicle could reach," Gibbs notes.

The Gibbs Aquada is transformed from road to water mode at the touch of a single button. The amphibian senses when it is in water, and so will not allow retraction of its wheels when on dry land. Hydraulic pressure is applied to the hydraulic strut, which lifts the wheel and tire assembly to its retracted position within the wheel housing. At the same time the wheels are "decoupled" so they are no longer driven by the engine. The steering nozzle is mounted on the back of the stator nozzle and is connected to the normal steering wheel. It is used to direct the water jet in order to steer the amphibian. The designers also devised a way to prevent water from entering the vehicle when in the water. Spray rails and chines contain the spray on either side of the amphibian and away from the cockpit.

Gibbs Technologies currently is considering locations for technical centers, sales offices and manufacturing plants in several states including Georgia, Virginia, Michigan and Texas, according to Alan Gibbs, the firm's founder and chairman.

"A commercially viable high-speed amphibious vehicle has eluded auto manufacturers, entrepreneurs and inventors for more than 100 years," Gibbs said. "Recent developments in light-weight materials, engine technology and vehicle architecture, however, have enabled us to accomplish what many believed to be impossible."

Source: Gibbs Technologies. (June 13, 2007). "Gibbs Entering U.S. Market With Amphibious Vehicles." Gibbs Technologies press release courtesy of PR Newswire.