A great partnership is changing the face of on-water mobility, and giving life back to some of the world’s inner city waterways.
To satisfy the individual mobility needs of people today, Carl Rand and two partners founded GoBoat in 2014 to take the idea of shared mobility onto the water – purely electric-powered mobility, of course. Simply hire a boat and cast off. “Even in urban communities people enjoy a great feeling of freedom when they’re out on the water. We try to make that possible for everyone, even those who don’t own a boat. All they need is access to water,” he says. Their company now has over 100 employees and operates in Copenhagen, London and Melbourne, to name but three cities. More than a million boating trips have taken place since the company was set up. These “sharing boats” have already made a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. According to GoBoat’s calculations, their e-drives have saved over 800,000 metric tons of this climate killer.
When you talk to Carl Rand, you can really feel the passion that drives him. He likes to work on the boatbuilding industry’s mental blocks. Big American powerboats used to be a status symbol, but those days are gone, he says. And racing through the waves in a loud, gas-guzzling boat surrounded by exhaust fumes is no longer interesting. “The maritime industry is very traditionally minded,” he points out. “But that’s our best chance to discover new paths and experience nature in a new way.” Reliable partners are all the more important for this boating pioneer. “We are naturally delighted that Torqeedo has been working so hard on rethinking electric drives for so many years,” he says. The two firms have been cooperating for eight years and Carl Rand installed the very first generation of Cruise outboards in his boats. “We need a courageous market leader to find segments in our industry where electrification is the best option.”.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a fishing trip or time spent with your mum: if you put two people on a boat for two hours, they’re – as it were – forced to cultivate their relationship,” Carl says. And that’s why he sees boats as a social platform. Being on the water overcomes barriers – between people as well as between human beings and nature.
All this helps you to understand why Carl Rand looks to the future in a very positive frame of mind – by today’s standards. “What we’ve experienced up to now is only the beginning,” he says. “The technology is developing exponentially. The challenge now is to develop it into something humane that enables us to improve our world and our relationships with it.” This visionary boatbuilder thinks technology that only exists for its own sake is – you’ve guessed it – boring. He believes e-mobility is becoming so user-friendly and affordable that change will occur much faster than people who are still clinging to old certainties think: “We’ll all experience a completely new way of being on the water. It’ll be fantastic!”
GoBoat has boat rental locations and services in Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. Visit goboat.com.au to find out more.