Gibbs debuts new pair of water-going amphitrucks

View 10 Photos
"When am I going to get my flying car?" It's one of the more annoying questions we get asked on a regular basis, and the answer is quite simple: Something that's designed to do two things is rarely good at doing either. Particularly when you're talking about motor vehicles.

So that flying car won't be particularly good for either flying or driving. And the same goes for amphibious vehicles – that is, vehicles designed to drive on (or off) road and float on water. By and large the history of these vehicles dictates that if you want a boat, you're better off buying a boat, and if you want a truck, you'd better by a truck. Just don't expect one to do both.

Gibbs Amphibians – the same outfit behind the Aquada amphibious sportscar and Quadski ATV/jet-ski – aims to change that with a pair of vehicles called the Phibian and the Humdinga. Both are designed to drive at highway speeds on the road and travel up to 30 mph (a respectable clip for a boat) on the water, with retractable wheels allowing it to switch between the two in seconds.

The 30-foot-long Phibian (pictured above) looks something like a Coast Guard patrol boat on a trailer packs a 500-horsepower turbo diesel that can drive all four wheels (selectable) or a pair of water jet drives, carrying up to 15 passengers. The Humdinga (pictured at right), meanwhile, measures 21.5 feet long and packs a 350-horsepower supercharged V8 to carry up to seven people.

Both are designed to make the transition from land to water and back to land, enabling rescue and supply duties to be carried out with ease and efficiency. We just wouldn't expect either to be particularly adept in either environment. Check 'em out in the high-res image gallery and press release after the jump for a closer look.
Show full PR text
Gibbs Amphibians Introduces Phibian and Humdinga High Speed Amphitrucks.

- Designed and engineered for multiple, transport, first responder and military applications
- Phibian features large load capacity and off-road capability
- Humdinga II is designed for light-duty patrol with rapid-response capability
- Quickly reconfigurable for cargo and passenger-carrying operations
- Eliminates the need for separate boats and tow vehicles and trailers
- Can be specially adapted to customers' specifications
- Potential to grow technology and manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

WASHINGTON – Gibbs Amphibians introduced the Phibian today at an event preceding the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) annual conference. Equipped with Gibbs Amphibians' proprietary High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology, Phibian joins Humdinga in the Gibbs Amphibians commercial portfolio, two new amphitrucks capable with many uses including military and rescue roles.

Phibian and Humdinga II feature Gibbs' proprietary High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology, which incorporates many technological break throughs in suspension, water propulsion and wheel-retraction design. The water-jet propulsion system enables safe operation in shallow water yet provides the high levels of thrust necessary to achieve planing speeds within seconds. A patented retracting suspension system provides exceptional ride-and-handling on the road, but in the water retracts wheels in seconds to reduce hull drag in marine use.

Phibian is an entirely new type of amphibious truck. Constructed primarily of carbon fiber, it is a multi-mode, multi-mission, high-speed amphibian that offers off-road capability on land. When Phibian transitions from land to water, the wheels retract and its dual jet propulsion provides water performance equal to that of purpose-built patrol and rescue boats. The transition from road to water takes less than 10 seconds.

"Phibian and Humdinga deliver a revolutionary and highly effective solution to the growing demands placed on today's transport, first responder and military communities," said Gibbs' Chairman, Neil Jenkins.

"Natural disasters in recent memory, such as the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in Asia; as well as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, illustrate the need for amphibians as capable, versatile and efficient as Phibian and Humdinga," Jenkins said.

Phibian is capable of traveling at highway speeds on land and in excess of 30 mph on water. It seamlessly makes its land-to-water transition in less than 10 seconds with the simple push of a button.

Humdinga is a smaller vehicle created specifically to deal with remote and difficult terrain.

Gibbs has been developing its HSA technology since 1997. It represents an investment of more than $200 million and more than two million hours of engineering. Gibbs' HSA technology can be applied to amphibians of all sizes – from 800 pounds to 10 tons. It solves the persistent challenges of land-sea borders around the world, such as beachhead landings or crossing waterways and lakes.

Phibian and Humdinga versatility and capability attributes include:
- Highway-capable speed
- On-plane water performance in excess of 30 mph
- Replace need for separate boats and tow vehicles.

In addition to first responder and humanitarian uses, Phibian and Humdinga II also have the potential to provide military units with specialized capabilities as well as many general transport applications.

Both amphibians will be offered as a base model that can be configured for customer requirements. Factory-installed options are being developed and may include for the Phibian:
- Fully enclosed, stand-up cabin with integrated radar arch
- Rear radar arch
- Canvas T-top over cockpit and extended canvas over cargo area
- Two or three crew seats with integrated restraints
- Passenger seating for 12 in cargo area
– Right- and left-hand side doors with full NATO pallet size access
- Tailgate and winch
- Anchor with electric windlass
- U.S. Coast Guard-required equipment for passenger use
- Heater and air conditioner
- Chemical toilet with stowable privacy enclosure
- Custom exterior treatments

Phibian and Humdinga II are just two of several amphibians Gibbs has developed. Others include:

Aquada: The world's first amphibian to feature Gibbs' High Speed Amphibian technology, Aquada is capable of speeds of more than 100 mph on land and in excess of 30 mph on water. The Aquada was designed from the ground up to perform in both land and marine modes, with over 100 patents covering technical innovations. In 2004, Virgin Group owner Richard Branson used a Gibbs Aquada to set a new record for crossing the English Channel in an amphibian. Branson set a new record of 1 hour 40 minutes, smashing the previous, 30-year-old record by more than 4 hours.

Quadski: The first-generation Quadski was demonstrated in 2006, and is capable of off-highway operation and marine operation. It is the first personal off-highway amphibian to feature HSA technology, and makes a seamless transition between land and water. An advanced Quadski will be introduced this year.

Gibbs Amphibians is the world's leading developer of High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology platforms for consumer, commercial, humanitarian and military use. It was founded by New Zealand entrepreneur Alan Gibbs in 1996 and Neil Jenkins joined him as a partner in 1999. Since its formation, Gibbs Amphibians has led the world in researching and developing the concept of HSA technology, and has patented more than 100 inventions relating to the technology. Additional information about Gibbs, HSA technology and licensing opportunities is available at

Engine / Propulsion
twin turbo diesels (land) with twin jet drives (water)
Horsepower (hp / kW):
500 / 368
Water speed (mph):
more than 30

coil over springs and dampers
Drive layout (land):
FWD or RWD, selectable 4WD
Steering type:
power-assisted hydraulic

hydraulically operated disc brakes

Wheels and tires
275/80R20 MPT

Overall length (ft / mm):
30.22 / 9212
Overall width: (ft / mm):
8.3 / 2532
Overall height: (ft / mm):
11.98 / 3654
Track width (ft / mm):
6.95 / 2120
Wheelbase (ft / mm):
20.63 / 6289
Approach angle (degrees):
Departure angle (degrees):
Ground clearance (in / mm):
16 / 353

three crew, 12 passengers
Curb weight (lb / kg base):
Payload (lb / kg):
3307 / 1500
Gross vehicle weight (lb / kg):

Engine / Propulsion

supercharged V8
Horsepower (hp / kW):
350 / 261

Suspension / Brakes
Drive layout (land):
permanent 4WD

Overall length (ft / mm):
21.5 / 6553
Overall width: (ft / mm):
79 / 2000
Overall height: (ft / mm):
98 / 2500
Track width (ft / mm):
6.95 / 2120

Curb weight (lb / kg base):
4960 / 2750
5-7 configurable
Payload (lb / kg):
1653 / 750
Gross vehicle weight (lb / kg):
6613 / 3500

More Information