The wheels hide in the body when not in use
Yamaha might bring even more capability to the side-by-side market in the future, because a patent shows the company developing retractable wheels for a two-seat amphibious vehicle. The firm filed for the rights to the design in November 2014, but the Japan Patent Office published it on May 30, 2016. AutoGuide was first to discover the odd vehicle.
Unfortunately, the machine translation from the Japan Patent Office is not very easy to understand, but its clear the wheels would still be able to control the vehicle on land. A rotating hub allows them to retract into a compartment in the body when on water. Covers deploy to protect the wheels’ top and side, too. The patent doesn’t indicate how the side-by-side gets around on land, but there’s “an aquatic propulsive engine which gives impelling force to the aforementioned vehicles on water surface.” The patent photos also show a propeller at the back.
Yamaha already sells side-by-sides and has decades of experience with personal watercraft with its Waverunner line. Building this amphibious vehicle would combine that knowledge into one product. The idea isn’t entirely unique either. Gibbs offers an aquatic ATV called the Quadski and even has a concept for a transforming side-by-side called the Terraquad. However, Yamaha’s solution looks sleeker by hiding the wheels in the body when on water.