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New Zealand Entrepreneur Launches Amphibious Trucks

February 8, 2012

New Zealand Entrepreneur Launches Amphibious Trucks

Amphitrucks capable of traveling up to 130km/h on land and over 60km/h on water were launched in Washington today.

US military engineers and invited guests were the first in the world to see the “Phibian” in action at an event preceding the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) annual conference yesterday.

The ‘Phibian’ is the fourth high speed amphibious vehicle demonstrated by Gibbs Technologies. It compliments the smaller all-terrain Humdinga which was also disclosed at the conference. Both vehicles feature Gibbs’ proprietary High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology which incorporates major engineering and design advancements in suspension, water propulsion and wheel-retraction.

Gibbs Technologies is the world’s only developer of road legal high-speed amphibious vehicles for consumer, commercial, military and first rescue use.

In 2004 Richard Branson set a new record for crossing the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle in a Gibbs Aquada reducing the time by over four hours.

Since then Gibbs has focused on further developing his High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology which is the result of fifteen years, more than $200 million and more than two million hours of engineering time.

Constructed primarily of strong, lightweight carbon fibre, the Phibian offers all-terrain capability on land. When transitioning from land to water, the wheels retract and dual jet propulsion provides high speed water performance equal to that of purpose-built patrol and rescue boats, effectively combining boat, truck and trailer.

It has been developed for general transport, search and rescue and law enforcement operations.

“When conducting search and rescue missions, whether it be for an individual or following a natural disaster, time is of the essence,” says, Gibbs

“A vehicle that can perform as well as a multi-terrain vehicle on land while reaching planing speeds on the water means that response will be significantly faster and more seamless.”

Alan Gibbs is one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs. He built his first amphibious vehicle in 1995 so he could drive his boat from the water to his bach without the need for a trailer. He went on to form Gibbs Technologies in 1996. They have continuously improved the technology, acquiring over 100 patents since then.

“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, and the floods in Australia illustrate the need for amphibians as capable, versatile and efficient as Phibian and Humdinga,” Gibbs said.


Phibian and Humdinga are the only truck capable of motorway and off road performance on land and on-plane speed on water. Versatility and capability attributes include:

• Motorway-capable speed
• On-plane water performance
• Sea-taming hull design

In addition to general purpose, first responder and humanitarian uses, Phibian also has the potential to provide military special units with specialised capabilities.

Phibian will be offered as a base model that can be configured for customer requirements. Factory-installed options include:

• Fully enclosed, stand-up cabin with integrated radar arch
• Rear radar arch
• Canvas T-top over cockpit and extended canvas over cargo area
• Two crew seats with integrated restraints
• Passenger seating for 12 in cargo area
• Right- and left-hand side door
• Tailgate and winch
• Anchor and electric windlass
• U.S. Coast Guard-required equipment for passenger use
• Heater and air conditioner
• Chemical toilet with stowable privacy enclosure
• Custom exterior paint and/or vinyl wrap

Production timing and manufacturing locations for Phibian and Humdinga will be announced at a later date.

Phibian and Humdinga are just two of several amphibians in the Gibbs portfolio. Others include:

Aquada: The world’s first amphibian to feature Gibbs’ HSA technology, Aquada is capable of speeds over 200km/h on land and 50km/h on water. The Aquada was designed from the ground up to perform very well in both fields, 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 amphibious vehicle. Branson cut 4 hours and 20 minutes off the previous record of 6 hours, which had stood since the late 1960s.

Quadski: The first-generation Quadski was demonstrated in 2006, and is a high-powered, fully functional quad-bike that converts to a jet ski. It is the first personal off-road vehicle to feature HSA technology, and makes a seamless high-speed transition between land and water. A totally new Quadski will be introduced to the market this year.


Gibbs Technologies is the world’s only developer of road legal High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology vehicles for consumer, commercial, humanitarian and military use. Gibbs Technologies was established in New Zealand in 1996 by entrepreneur Alan Gibbs. Joined by Englishman Neil Jenkins in 1999, Gibbs Technologies has gone on to be the world leader in researching and developing High Speed Amphibian Technology (HSA).

Additional information about Gibbs and HSA technology is available at


Engine / Propulsion

Type: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


Type: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):30
Departure angle (degrees):28
Ground clearance (in / mm): 16 / 353


Occupants:three crew, 12 passengers
Curb weight (lb / kg base): 4500
Payload (lb / kg):3307 / 1500


Engine / Propulsion

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

Suspension / Brakes

Drive layout (land):permanent 4WD
Brakes: disc


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
Occupants:5-7 configurable
Payload (lb / kg):1653 / 750
Gross vehicle weight (lb / kg):6613 / 3500


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