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No SeaBubbles trials on the Seine

Hopes of seeing whimsical SeaBubbles water taxis being tested on the Seine next year have taken a blow after red tape in Paris prompted live trials to be moved to Lac Léman (Lake Geneva).

But inventor Alain Thébault, who designed the world speed record yacht Hydroptère, told Connexion he was not disappointed. “The air our children breathe is not national. It is the same air in Paris, London, Geneva or Dubai.

“Where the trial takes place is therefore of no importance. What matters is that we act to halt climate change, and that we do so quickly”.

Part car, part boat, part plane, the five-seater electric water taxis use hydrofoils to ‘fly’ on the water and aim to improve air quality and bypass jammed roads.

Despite support from Paris mayor Anne Hid­al­go and a successful summer test on the Seine, talks with Paris port authorities on a 2018 trial came to nothing as SeaBubbles could not secure the time and space for full testing. So Mr Thébault opted for Geneva where he has been offered a trial of up to a year from April, 2018, with free use of jetties to run a water taxi service.

He was impressed by Swiss Federation president Doris Leuthard’s enthusiasm and willingness to take a ride in a SeaBubble. “We need more women like her in power, who want to change the world, and who get things done with less conflict on the way.” Mr Thébault is confident that once they have the backing of successful tests they will be ready to launch services in several cities.

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