What an electric boat ride feels like (and sounds like)

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Lake Washington in August may be known for its gas-fueled, ear-splitting thunderboats, but this week it played host to an electric-powered lightning boat that was much easier on the ears.

“One thing you’ll note is that we’re able to have a conversation,” pilot Miriam Morris said as she revved up the Arc One electric boat past 40 mph. “This would not be possible on a gas boat.”

Arc brought the 24-foot luxury cruiser up to Kirkland’s Carillon Point dock to give potential buyers in the Seattle area — and at least one landlubber journalist — an up-close look and a quick jaunt around Lake Washington.

The Arc One, designed for lake outings, is the first in what the company hopes will eventually become a full line of electric boats. California-based Arc has already sold out the limited number of boats it’s been building over the past year (in the “low double-digits,” said Ted Herringshaw, the company’s head of product). But it’s planning to raise the production rate for a new model next year, thanks to a $30 million funding round and a bigger factory that’s set to open in Torrance, Calif.

Arc, which was founded in early 2021, is just one of several startups targeting the luxury electric boat market. Another leader in the field is Seattle-based Pure Watercraft, which is partnering with GM on pontoon boats and other products. Candela (which builds electric-powered hydrofoils) and X Shore are in the race as well — although Herringshaw doesn’t regard it as a race.