Beautiful electric yachts and boats
These yachts are beautiful, silent and environment-friendly. Dare we say, the future of yachting is here?
Most people think that electric boats are the product of the present. After all, with the rising environmental consciousness as well as advanced technology, it would be perfectly logical to assume that electric propulsion engines are a new thing.
But they’re not. In fact, Electric Launch Co, now called Elco Motor Yachts, built several 36 footers for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Fastforward to the present day and we now see electric motor technology slowly gaining headway into boating. But why has it taken so long for the technology to advance?
Naysayers are quick to acknowledge that while the technology is there, it is just not as efficient as diesel fuel at the moment. Modern electric batteries currently are no match for diesel fuel, they say, which delivers about six times more energy. Batteries also need to be recharged, which may be hard to do if the yacht is in a remote location where there are no charging facilities or service centres should there be a breakdown. Another crucial reason is that our own personal gadgets – mobile phones, laptops, tablets – and other appliances that are necessary for a comfortable trip such as airconditioning, refrigerators, heaters and stoves all compete for the electrical consumption onboard. And of course, salt
water is inherently hostile to machine parts and can corrode sensitive electronic power control modules.
These and many others are reasons marine craft technology is maybe lagging behind in developing electric yachts.
However, this does not mean that the technology is not improving tremendously. In fact, Volvo Penta is putting its money on electric propulsion by announcing that it will provide electrified power solutions for both land and sea by 2021. Hot on the heels of this announcement was the unveiling of the company’s hybrid-powered Inboard Performance System (IPS) concept, which allows boats to operate in the low-and-zero emission zones that seem to be the wave of the future. The hybrid system also allows for lower noise, vibrations and running costs for boats. The hybrid IPS will be available to commercial customers in 2021 and to the leisure boat sector soon after.
While that is a development for the future, today, we present three electric yachts that are exciting the imaginations of sailors everywhere.
A Stealth Cat
The Silent 79 is a watercraft of the future, running on solar power and electric motors fueled by lithium batteries. The 79-foot luxury catamaran can theoretically cruise nonstop around the world, using engines that are near silent, has no heat buildup or fumes. Onboard, the cat gets its energy from 56 solar panels positioned across the top deck. This baby doesn’t stint on luxury either. There’s lots of interior space with five cabins for 10 guests. The master suite, includes a bathroom, walk-in office and storage space. Other accouterments include wood joinery across the entire yacht, giving it a very luxe feel as well as a a huge saloon with a lounge and dining area. It also has a whirlpool and the option to support the propulsion system with a SkySails kite, which uses wind energy in addition to solar power. Top speed for this yacht is 12 to 20 knots. The first Silent 79s are already in production and will be in the water by early 2020.
For those who can’t wait for 2020, there is the Silent 55, which made its debut at the 2018 Cannes Yachting Festival in September 2018. The Silent 55 is the first and only oceangoing solar-electric production catamaran in the world. The yacht uses silent electric propulsion for unlimited range with no noise or fumes and minimal vibration, she is self-sufficient and virtually maintenance-free. This cat comes in three versions: An E-Power version two 135kwh motorrs and can reach up to 14 knots; a Cruiser version, with a pair of 30kwh motors or a Hybrid Power which has both diesel and electric motors. For those who love the idea of sails, there is the Sailor version, which is rigged with a mast and sails to provide additional propulsion. There are five different layouts for the interiors, ranging from three to six staterooms and three or four heads. The master stateroom is the centerpiece of the layouts while onboard ergonomics have been given priority, with comfortable living spaces, even during extended cruising.
This craft is the very epitome of elegance on water. Dubbed the “Tesla of the Seas”, the Q30, the first electric day cruiser, is equipped with an Oceanvolt AXC20 electric motor with a 20kw continuous power output. This means that this craft can cruise at nine knots with a max speed of 15 knots. The Finnish-built cruiser, from Q-Yachts is elegant with the first deliveries showing an all-white hulk, white furniture, a retro-looking plumb bow and an open stern. This cruiser has a simple layout with a wooden steering wheel, single throttle and an iPad to control onboard functions. While touted as a day cruiser, there is a cabin that could possibly turn the boat to a weekender.
The Silent 55 is the first electric-powered oceangoing cruiser in the world
Among the first customers for the Q30 are a Finnish rapper and a professional poker player