So it’s been a pretty good year as far as electric jet skis go. Back in March, The Watercraft Journal formally announced the launch of Free Form Factory’s Gratis X1 – an all-electric standup. Well, just last week, the Rancho Cordova, California-based electric watercraft maker was purchased by Salt Lake City-based Nikola Motor Co. The acquisition also doesn’t mean that Free Form Factory’s founder and CEO Jordan Darling is out either. In an interview with the Business Journal, Darling will now be vice president of Nikola Powersports, where he will be responsible for “the company’s watercraft and utility task vehicle offerings.”
The Free Form Factory Gratis X1 required no fuel and produced zero emissions, and made of “hulklite,” a plastic said to be three-and-a-half times stronger than fiberglass. According to the article, “Darling said he started talking to Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton about five months ago about purchasing drivetrains for Free Form’s watercraft. Over a series of meetings, Milton expressed interested in acquiring Free Form Factory.
“Nikola is aiming to produce a sit-down personal watercraft that will outperform the top internal-combustion versions on the water and provide up to a five-hour ride time with zero emissions and less noise,” the article continues. That, more than anything, is a substantial goal and could put the Free Form/Nikola merger in the same league as Sea-Doo and Yamaha. “Darling will play a pivotal role in bringing that new vehicle to fruition. That watercraft will be made with the hull technology and manufacturing process that Darling spearheaded during the past few years at Free Form Factory.”
Nikola’s new electric runabout watercraft will be tested with dealerships around April next year, according to Milton, “adding that its watercraft and utility task vehicles will be in full production by the end of next year.” Despite Nikola’s Salt Lake City, Utah, location, Darling is expected to remain in the Sacramento region. “He will maintain office space in the Sacramento region for Nikola Powersports Research and Development, and expects to move into a new space soon.”