eSki Innovates Personal Watercraft Technology with SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Works

Recreational vehicle startup is redefining the personal watercraft experience with its electric model, blending efficiency, power, and sustainability with remarkably low noise levels.

Challenge

Create a new personal watercraft that will greatly reduce carbon emissions by being powered completely electric, and retain the same power as traditional products.

Solution

Design and virtual test using SOLIDWORKS® and 3DEXPERIENCE® Works data management, collaboration, simulation, communication, and project management solutions,  including SOLIDWORKS Professional CAD, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, as well as the Collaborative Designer for SOLIDWORKS, Collaborative Industry Innovator, 3DSwymer roles —as part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works for Startups Program

Results

  • Develop complete new product in SOLIDWORKS
  • Reduced development costs
  • Eliminated repetitive prototyping cycles
  • Enhanced collaboration

Every dedicated fisherman, or anyone who enjoys spending time on the water, understands the frustrations that accompany personal watercraft (PWC) traffic. The noise and fumes can be overwhelming and disruptive to a peaceful fishing or boating experience.

Jack Duffy-Protentis, the visionary behind eSki Watercraft, has established one of the world's first fully electric personal watercraft companies. With a mission to reduce carbon emissions, eSki represents a significant step forward in the realm of PWC, merging sustainability with innovation.

“I'm legally blind—I was born a car guy who can't drive a car,” quips Duffy-Protentis. Traditional gasoline PWC emits up to 250 pounds of CO2 per hour and have a lifespan of only 250 to 500 hours. “Our [electric] personal watercraft can last more than a thousand hours. EV is cleaner. It's quieter, it's simpler, and it is safer.

Support for New Businesses

The SOLIDWORKS® Startup Program is specifically designed to support and accelerate the success of early-stage startups by providing access to SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for a comprehensive set of tools and resources at significantly reduced cost. The program is particularly beneficial for hardware startups and entrepreneurs in the initial phase of their business who need professional-grade design tools to develop and refine their products.

Duffy-Protentis knew immediately the Startup Program was right for eSki. His challenge was not only to design a super-cool, high-performance electric PWC but also to streamline the development process from concept to production.

Related Resources

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform really helps out not just with collaboration from team member to team member, but also with tools like xShape. Now we have [a 3DEXPERIENCE Works tool with] SubD modeling that is actually dimensionable … it is so useful.

Jack Duffy-Protentis
Founder and CEO

A Platform for Success

eSki also leverages the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, which is offered as part of the Startup Program and provides a cloud-based product development environment for efficiently working with people inside and outside your company, along with a host of browser-based tools.

“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform really helps out not just with collaboration from team member to team member, but also with tools like xShape,” notes Duffy-Protentis. Also on the platform is 3D Sculptor’s xShape app, a specialized tool designed for creating complex, freeform shapes in a subdivision modeling environment that allows designers to easily craft smooth, stylized shapes—especially important to PWC design. (The company previously used Autodesk’s Maya for subdivision modeling.) “Now we have [a 3DEXPERIENCE Works tool with] SubD modeling that is actually dimensionable … it is so useful,” enthuses Duffy-Protentis.

The platform also provided an invaluable resource for connecting with suppliers. Engineers can upload parts, receive feedback, and initiate production with suppliers despite lacking direct industry connections. This feature proved essential to eSki to efficiently move from prototype to production. “Let's say we create a nose cone. [Being a startup,] I don't have dozens of industry connections with injection molding companies,” explains Duffy-Protentis. “The platform allows me to take that part, upload it, and basically say, ‘Hey, is this right? Would anybody be willing to make this for me?’”

Digital Prototyping

The use of SOLIDWORKS simulation tools enabled eSki to perform critical tests, including drop tests, shock tests, and stress analyses. These simulations were vital in verifying the design and durability of components, like the gearbox, thus preventing potential failures and reducing costs by avoiding purchases of unsuitable materials. “Initially, we were doing hand calculations, but once we started using SOLIDWORKS Simulation we became more confident in our calculations,” explains Duffy-Protentis. “We ran simulations on a gearbox, which showed us that the gears and the shafts that we were planning to use were going to break.” By leveraging simulation, the company avoided ordering defective parts and the subsequent problems that would have inevitably arisen from installing them.

Duffy-Protentis concludes, “We've completed our first functional prototype. We have pretty much the entire body and powertrain all in SOLIDWORKS. So really, we're just trying to do a fundraise right now to create that MVP (minimum viable product) pre-production unit. We want to make a couple of them, get them in the hands of rental companies, get feedback, make sure that everything works the way we want it to, and start production from there.”

Achieve Your Vision

SOLIDWORKS has not only enabled eSki to develop an innovative product but has also empowered the company to overcome significant industry barriers typically faced by startups. Through advanced design tools and a supportive platform for collaboration and supplier interaction, SOLIDWORKS has helped eSki move closer to achieving its vision of bringing sustainable and high-performance electric personal watercraft to the global market.

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