Princeton University’s Electric Speedboat team (PES) broke the world water speed record for an electric-powered boat at the Annual Gold Technologies and Robbins/Margeas Electric Records Event on Thursday, October 26 when hydroplane driver John Peeters averaged 114.20 mph on the American Power Boat Association’s (APBA) sanctioned kilo course on Lake Townsend near Greensboro, NC. 

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Big Bird broke the previous world record by 26 mph. Photo by Bobby Diaz, PES

The team, made up of more than 40 students from New Jersey’s Princeton University, crushed the previous official record of 88.61 mph established by Jaguar-Vector’s V20E race boat in 2018. 

After a brief course delay that morning, the team launched their customized Pro-Outboard hydroplane with a 200-hp electric race motor, co-developed with Flux Marine, around 10 a.m. The boat, nicknamed Big Bird, was met with perfect lake conditions and a picturesque backdrop of autumn colors. 

Peeters entered the kilo speed-trap and posted a single direction speed of 111.08 mph. Without recharging the boat’s batteries (as is required of a kilo-style event), he then increased his speed in the opposite direction, recording an average speed of 117.50 mph. The two speeds averaged together for the new world record of 114.20 mph. 

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The team. Photo by Princeton Alumni Weekly

“We came together as a team with a dream. Today, hard work and ingenuity brought this dream into a reality,” said Peeters, an Arlington, Washington, resident and holder of numerous hydroplane racing records. “Rarely can one say: we are the greatest or best, but today we can. Fastest electric boat ever,” he added afterwards. 

After repairs were made to a broken propeller shaft that unfortunately ended the day early, Andrew Robbins, PES’s chief executive officer, believes the team is on track for a 120-plus mph average on the next attempt and plans are already in the works to increase the record they just set. 

The team would like to thank their title partners in Flux Marine, Cigarette Racing, and Danecca for all their support and contributions to making this possible.

If you're interested in more on electric boats, check out our recent review of the Candela electric hydrofoiling boat!