VonMercier Arosa amphibious hovercraft roadster: for roads and destinations
American startup VonMercier Inc. close to completion of the development of a unique vehicle Arosa, which combines the advantages of a pleasure roadster and a boat.
VonMercier was founded by Michael Mercier, an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He showed the first pictures of his amphibious hovercraft in 2014 and intended to release it in a small series (60 pieces) in 2015. The car was then called the Supercraft and Mercier valued it at $75,000 and accepted $8,500 from interested customers as a deposit.
The Supercraft was announced to have a hybrid propulsion system of an internal combustion engine and two electric motors with a combined output of 103 hp. The design also included a buffer battery, while the dry weight of the Supercraft was an incredible 318 kg, which promised dynamics at the level of a decent sports car. The developer promised a cruising range of about 200 km (at a cruising speed of 64 km/h), a “maximum speed" of 128 km/h and a hovering height of 18 cm., sandy shore, river, lake, swamp, etc.
In 2015, no one saw “live” samples of Supercraft and everyone safely forgot about Mercier, but in May of this year he resurfaced on the Web (more precisely, on Vimeo video hosting) and announced that he was ready to bring his amphibian to the market, which is now called Arosa. In the late 90s, the Spanish brand Seat had a model of the same name – a small hatchback, a clone of the VW Lupo, but it is unlikely that Michael Mercier had heard anything about these European subcompacts.
According to Autoevolution magazine, Mercier promised investors and customers to begin deliveries of the Arosa in August. And now the summer has passed, and there are still no serial amphibians from VonMercier. However, the company’s website is up and running, with pretty decent images of Arosa, but no detailed description. The main page only says that Arosa is equipped with a hybrid power plant from a gasoline engine (used as a generator) and three electric motors. The site also has a section for subscribers, where there is more detailed information about the company and the car, which, however, is forbidden to be disclosed.
The design of the Arosa is slightly more elegant than that of the Supercraft, and judging by the pictures, at least one working prototype of the Arosa exists. The amphibian is designed for two people sitting in tandem. On the sides of the saloon are two decks trimmed with wood. There are no amenities like climate control and “music”, in front of the driver there is only a steering wheel, pedals, a power plant start button, a traction control steering wheel and an electronic instrument panel.
We were interested in VonMercier Arosa with its unusual design (the rotors on the sides imitating the wheels look especially impressive) and we decided to add it to our treasury of eccentric vehicles. Even if Mercier still releases his amphibian, it is not very clear how he will certify it and what will be its habitat. Most likely, Arosa will have to be registered as a boat, which, of course, cannot be driven on public roads, and the concept, as we understand it, was just that – versatility.