The Bubble is similar to a hydrofoil, with fibreglass foils that deploy to hoist its hull into the air when it reaches a certain speed, powered by electric batteries. It’s noise and pollution-free, more energy efficient than conventional boats. The Bubble uses computer processors to adjust the hydrofoil wings constantly in the water. It costs around €200,000 to build and can reach speeds of up to 18 knots (20.7mph). Test voyages in Paris are limited to a maximum speed of 18.6mph. However a journey from the Eiffel Tower in the west to Notre-Dame cathedral in the bubble takes just minutes.
Paris has one of the densest urban transport networks in the world, with more than 650 trains running simultaneously at rush hour and 4.7 billion trips made by public transport in the Paris region in 2016. Co-founder Alain Thebault of the Sea Bubbles company said regulatory issues from the City of Paris have stymied progress, leading the company to pursue projects in Switzerland and the US rather than solely in France. “All the signals seem to be turning green for the start of commercial operations of our Bubble Taxis in the first three months of 2020,” said Sea Bubbles’ CEO and Swedish champion windsurfer Anders Bringdal.