Before budget airlines and the Channel Tunnel, the faster way to get from Britain to France was by hovercraft. The largest of these was the SNR4, a 300-ton behemoth capable of carrying 380 passengers and 40 cars at a speed of 70 mph (113 km/h). In the 1950s and ‘60s, magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics were predicting a future where we’d all be cruising around in affordable, personal hovercrafts. Sadly, it was not to be.
Now, some 11 years after the last SNR4 was retired, 21-year-old industrial design graduate Yuhan Zhang has resurrected the personal hovercraft in the form of her Volkswagen Aqua study.
A hydrogen fuel cell / electric-drive hovercraft with seating for two and a submarine-style rear hatch for entry and egress. Just look at it! It’s like a Vanair Vanguard had sex with the Audi RSQ and this was the result. Check out our gallery below as well as the designer’s description and video slideshow for more information.
By Tristan Hankins
From Yuhan Zhang:
“Aqua is based on the customized subject “Chinese off-road vehicle” by Volkswagen.
The Aqua offers an insight of futuristic vehicle powered by hydrogen and propelled by impeller.
Aqua is function with several engines, the main one drives the fan (or impeller) under the chases, which is responsible for lifting the vehicle by forcing high pressure air under the craft. The air inflates the "skirt" under the vehicle, causing it to rise above the surface. Additional engines provide thrust in order to propel the craft.
Aqua interprets the philosophy of Volkswagen Design with no single parting-line and laconic appearance, The door (hatch)locates on the back of Aqua. It features an electric drive train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell with no pollutant emissions.”