Weird Alibaba: A solar-powered $10,000 inflatable electric houseboat

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The list of weird yet awesome electric boats on Alibaba seems to grow every week. Fortunately for us, we’ve managed to stumble upon another oddball offering in the form of an inflatable electric houseboat. And if you ask me, it’s perfect for the latest edition of the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week series.

For some reason our graphics guy seems to think this is more of a bathroom toy that I’d put in my tub than a fully-fledged ocean-going vessel. But don’t be fooled! This inflatable boat is actually 6 meters (20 feet) long and can fit up to six people aboard (and apparently another three on the roof).

The canopy is somehow rigid enough to support several people on top, making it a fun diving platform when you’re out on the lake.

I have no idea how an inflatable houseboat could be that strong, but they seem to have figured it out.

Or at least someone has. Googling around leads me to believe that this might be a knockoff from a company called Hovercraft SI. Or maybe they just source their inflatable boats from the Alibaba vendor I found. Who knows? The only thing I do know for sure is that I definitely want one of these things!

And at $10,000 (or just $6,000 if you buy 100 units!), it’s probably one of the cheapest electric houseboats on the market.

The term houseboat might be a bit of a stretch though. I’m not sure there’s much of a kitchen, as an open flame in a plastic inflatable boat doesn’t seem like a good idea. It’s the same reason you don’t see many barbecues in rental bounce houses.

And I’ve never seen an inflatable toilet before but I’m guessing it wouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. So this houseboat is likely missing a head.

But the rest seems to be nicely thought out. At first I questioned why it needed fenders — it’s not like you’re going to scratch up your fiberglass hull. But then I realized that perhaps sliding your inflatable boat right up to a splinter-lined wooden dock might not be the best idea.

And check out those accoutrements! There’s a great looking captain’s chair and command console, there are large windows to enjoy the sunrise each morning when you wake, and there are even privacy curtains to keep other’s eyes off of you at night. You what they say, when this houseboats a’rocking….either don’t come a’knocking or maybe call the Coast Guard because something has gone horribly wrong with my inflatable houseboat.

Apologies to my more tech-enthused readers, but we don’t have a lot of specs to share on this interesting marine abode. We can tell that the electric outboard motor is made by EPropulsion, but I don’t see any information about batteries.

There’s a good chance it’s running a 24V-48V system, but without any further information from the manufacturer I’m a bit worried that it’s a BYOB (bring your own batteries) situation.

That’s the case with my own electric boat that I recently ordered, where I have to supply the 24V batteries stateside when it arrives.

Even so, that’s the easy part. If China can make me an inflatable houseboat, I don’t mind scrounging around for some batteries.

I’m not sure how much solar is on the roof either, but those three panels look to be a good 250W each, maybe more. That’s not likely enough to power the motor alone, but it might double the range of the battery on a sunny day. It also means that you could probably avoid charging the boat if you use it just on the weekends. Even if you nearly drain it over the weekend, it can charge back up all week and be ready for you with a full charge next Saturday morning. Or considering that most houseboats are fairly stationary, you’d be able to use its battery for running other devices like lights, music, charging up electric surfboards, etc.

At $10,000, this one unfortunately won’t be added my growing stable of questionable purchases from Alibaba. But if someone else wants to take a risk, I’ll be excited to hear all about your maiden voyage.

Maybe just bring a life jacket.

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Sources: Joshua-Franklin close for April 1 at O2