Taiga Motors’ Orca, the first mass-produced electric-powered personal watercraft, delivers on a triple-pronged promise of zero emissions, zero noise and zero smell. Thankfully, as our testing by multiple editors showed, it’s the polar opposite of zero fun. Climb aboard the 9-foot-6-inch Orca and hit the start button. The 7-inch dash display coming to life may be the only indication the 120 kW motor (equivalent to about 160 hp) is powered up. But be ready when you squeeze the trigger throttle. The Taiga Orca accelerates with almost zero hesitation, showcasing impressive torque. That torque is displayed throughout the powerband en route to the top speed we recorded of 62 mph. At every step of the way, the only noticeable sound was a whirring driveline.
While the first Orca models were made with carbon fiber, Taiga opted to utilize a sheet-molded composite in the manufacture of the Orca Performance hull. It’s durable and lightweight, and the shape produces a mix of playfulness and precision in the turns. The hull drifts slightly upon initiation, then hooks up at the bow to snap through and exit.
The battery placement, low in the hull, lowers the center of gravity to enhance performance and stability. Electric trim drops the bow for more aggressive handling or raises it to increase top speed. A reverse lever on the left handgrip that reverses the direction of the drive shaft simplifies low-speed handling. With no throttle or reverse input, the craft assumes a true neutral, requiring no pump apparatus to deflect jet thrust.
Taiga estimates up to a two-hour runtime for a typical session of mixed-speed riding, including low and midrange speeds, and the occasional high-speed run. Riders can tweak battery consumption via a trio of user-selected power settings. The Range mode limits power to 40 kW for the greatest runtime; Sport mode delivers a balance of power and efficiency at 70 kW; Wild mode unleashes the motor’s full 120 kW potential. Deplete the battery and you can bring it to a full charge in about 12 hours via standard 110V household power. Faster results (three and a half hours) are available with automotive-standard Level 2 charging stations. Level 3 charging, such as at malls, gas stations or many parking lots, slices that time to 30 to 40 minutes.
- Sealed battery alleviates concerns of water intrusion.
- Closed-loop cooling doesn’t require freshwater engine flushing.
- Cellular Wi-Fi connectivity means remote OS updates, like adding features or fixing bugs.
How We Tested
- Motor: 120 kW Orca Tractive Unit with sealed lithium-ion battery
- Drive/Impeller: Jet drive/155 mm axial flow single-stage pump/4-blade SS 12/20-pitch impeller
- Gear Ratio: 1.00:1 Battery: 50 percent charge
Pricing and Specs