There’s something inherently fun about the idea of a solar-powered electric houseboat. Living on the water and never paying for fuel sounds like a dream for many people. But would anyone make it a reality by buying a houseboat sight unseen from China?
I’ve found plenty of fun and strange EVs for this Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column, but the electric houseboats have always been some of the most outlandish.
This time though, the houseboat actually looks like something that you could conceivably live in.
Largely surrounded by glass walls, the houseboat helps avoid that claustrophobic feeling and gives you an unobstructed view of the water or the trashcans on the dock you spend most of your time tied up to.
The main living space appears to be a combined living room and kitchenette.
There’s a beautiful-looking porch off of the living room that could double as a swim deck. On the opposite end of the boat is a smaller porch off of the bedroom.
What interests me most is the electrical system, but the Alibaba page doesn’t give us much information there. We know that an electric outboard powers the houseboat, though we don’t have any details on the model or power of the motor.
There’s similarly very scant information on the battery bank, though it’s likely a series of SLA batteries that double as a stable ballast.
Then there’s that solar panel array on top. Again, there’s frustratingly little information on the power of the panel array, though it does look quite large and thus is likely sufficient to provide all of the necessary power to run the daily needs on the boat.
These types of vessels generally don’t travel for very long periods or cover great distances, so the panels might be fine for shorter voyages down the lake or river. But if you wanted to head out on a longer excursion, you’d likely need to stop and charge along the way.
There is one detail that seems a bit strange. The boat’s length is listed as 40 inches (1 meter). I’m hoping that’s a typo and is meant to say 40 feet (12 meters). If not, then that US $130,000 price makes this houseboat seriously expensive per square foot.
Even though I have actually bought an electric boat from China before, I’m definitely not taking a risk on this one. And I don’t advise anyone else to try it either. It’s fun to explore the weird and interesting electric vehicles sprawling Alibaba’s site, but let’s not delude ourselves into thinking this beautiful houseboat rendering would actually appear on a trailer at our door like this.