Invest in the future: BeTriton is the electric amphibious RV redefining travel

Currently crowdfunding, Latvian company BeTriton is pioneering the future of sustainable travel
Invest in the future: BeTriton is the electric amphibious RV redefining travel

Over the years, I’ve written extensively about new kinds of vehicles, including solar cars, autocycles, and aircars. Creating something novel is no easy task, and if successful, future vehicles will be unrecognisable compared to today's offerings.

But now you can invest in something a lot sooner —  your very own electric amphibious RV — BeTriton, a combination of electric bike, camper, and boat. 

I spoke to Aigars Lauzis, Chief Amphibious Officer and co-founder of BeTriton to learn more and found a company that, while creating an entirely new kind of vehicle, is determined to develop a path to ensure that it can bring it to market.  

When we spoke, Lauzis was planning to travel from Latvia to Amsterdam using a BeTriton as a DIY marketing campaign. 

What is BeTriton?

Image: Matiss Markovskis.

BeTriton is a mobility industry first — a fully electric amphibious RV designed for outdoor adventure. It combines a hard-top motor boat, cargo tricycle and a modular tiny camper that sleeps two people and  comes with a fold-up kitchen, 

And there’s something incredibly joyous about this vehicle. You can imagine taking it out into the countryside to enjoy summer lakes and look at the stars. 

It is classified as an electric bicycle for customs but is also a category D boat for inland water. 

The vehicle’s range is 100+ km overland and 30+ km on water, depending on various conditions. Speed wise, the vehicle can go 25 km/h overland, and it goes up to 8 km/h on water.  It is equipped with two electric motor hubs, an electric outboard engine, and 250 watts worth of solar panels

The boat is designed for freshwater (inland lakes and rivers) only and is not designed to tackle ocean waves. Some of the parts are not made to withstand saline water.

The idea of BeTriton

I originally thought the idea for BeTriton might come from watching James Bond, but Lauzis revealed that after studying architecture he "cycled 30,000 kilometres from London to Tokyo on a normal bike" (speaker).

This trip, however, revealed some drawbacks:

" I got on a normal regular, regular touring bike with six bags. And I always hated the flimsy tents. But it was never a home, it was always a shelter".

The frustration of having to upload his bike by boat to cross water, combined with time spent living on a boat in Amsterdam sparked a new dream. Lauzis’ travels took him from Amsterdam to Istanbul, and ultimately to Shanghai, where he designed his first amphibious vehicle:

"I just fell in love with the whole idea of boats and I realised that I don't want to be an urban designer, I want to be a boat designer. So I designed my first one when I was still travelling.

"In Istanbul I studied Naval Architecture Marine Engineering and basically ended up in Shanghai, designing the first boat.

From novelty to market: the challenges of launching BeTriton 

After initial rentals in Latvia and its first sale to Insel Auf Raedern, a Swiss B2B tourism client, the company is fundraising to build a rental fleet and expand its European network of rental locations.

Lauzis shared: “The key message here is that launching a new vehicle category and trying to explain to the world.”

Making a transition from a novelty vehicle to a fully accepted commercial product is not an easy task. 

Image: The Arcimoto autocar

I’ve written extensively about Arcimoto autocars, and enjoyed a tourist trip riding in one over the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. Despite over ​​$84.5 million in funding, the company has faced financial difficulties since the COVID shutdowns and its opening of a scale manufacturing facility.

Its website has been deactivated, leaving many owmers with unserviced vehicles, trying to sell. 

Servicing is likely to be the biggest challenge for international buyers of BeTriton. Initially, the company will provide annual checks and servicing from Latvia. Other regions will require servicing centres along with dealerships. 

The vehicle is manufactured in-house in Latvia with the hope in the future to incorporate composite manufacturing:  “Our CTO  Edgars Koks has a background in aviation and is pretty much Latvia’s best composite engineer.”

Lauzis revealed that the company has over 180 pre-orders. However, the challenge is to produce them in a quantity high enough to reduce costs. 

Image: Matiss Markovskis.

The current full price estimate of one BeTriton is €17,900, depending on specification.

According to Lauzis: 

“Our main mission is to really bring it under €10,000, but we realised that in the early stages, it will be more expensive as it's a new category. Therefore we are introducing it through the B2B market, such as campsites, resorts, and existing boat and bike rentals.”

He added that while the company is a startup, “We have 10 angel investors, and we haven’t taken any VC money so far.”

The company has raised around €500,000 including grants. 

“Our investors know that we want to prove the business model with gradual growth.”

Probably the biggest downside is that battery charging from completely flat to 100 per cent charging takes 8 hours. The batteries are swappable, but it weighs about 12kg and costs over €1000.  But BeTriton offers a solution – it can be pedaled or rowed. The latest version can even be towed by a bike, eliminating the need to wait for a charge.

Some lakes and water areas may prohibit amphibious vehicles. Further, the bike’s dimensions are similar to those of a small car. It’s 1.45 metres wide, so you’ll have to be wary of other cyclists.

But I reckon you’ll attract enough interest on the road or in the water that you’re sure to feel like a rockstar. 

BeTriton is determined to bring this new kind of vehicle to the mainstream market If you're looking for an adventurous and eco-friendly way to travel, BeTriton might just be your perfect companion.

Image: Matiss Markovskis.

Lead image: Andrea Carmen. 

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