Electric boat goes airborne for cleaner ocean voyage

Appearing at a glance to be just a simple pleasure boat floating on the San Francisco Bay, as the hydrofoil-equipped vessel picks up speed it suddenly begins rising above the water, grabbing the attention of passengers on a nearby ferry.


However, the boat’s electric motor barely makes a sound as it propels itself forward rather than roaring like an engine.

If Swedish manufacturer Candela has its way, these electric boats with computer-guided hydrofoils may soon replace conventional ferries with combustion engines in harbors and bays around the world.

It is a half-plane, half-boat; From the helm of the 8.5-meter (28-foot) long C8, French sailor Tanguy de Lamotte said, “almost like riding a magic carpet.”

Candela’s US division is led by De Lamotte, who has completed the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race in a sailboat twice as big as the C8.

According to de Lamotte, the Swedish company’s objective is to produce the most energy-efficient electric boats “and get away from fossil fuels.”

The boat is lifted by hydrofoils that act as underwater wings as it accelerates. Only the rotor and hydrofoils are submerged, reducing friction significantly.

According to de Lamotte, the boat not only travels with 80 percent less energy but also avoids waves or swells that can cause nausea.

Additionally, passengers are spared the odor and noise of gas-powered motors because the engine is electric.

A speck in the ocean?
Candela has received 150 orders for the C8, which starts at $400,000 in price. By the end of the month, the first delivery is anticipated to arrive in Florida.

Lamotte argued that even though the project may appear to be a small step toward reducing emissions from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, it is at least a step in the right direction.

Even if the C8 is successful, they would only have a limited impact on the environment because recreational boats are typically only used a few times per week and when the weather is nice.

Thus, Candela intends to deal with ferries. He stated that their next model is a 25-seat catamaran that will be evaluated as a shuttle in the Stockholm archipelago later this year.

When the service begins, it is anticipated that it will cut the amount of time it takes for people to travel from the Ekero suburb to the city center by bus or ferry by half.

Additionally, the company intends to test its P8 craft, which is a “limousine” version of the C8, between hotels in Venice, Italy, and the airport.

Hydrofoils and electric motors are far from being practical for large container ships or cruise ships at this time.

In addition, the problem of making batteries and recycling the materials remains a challenge for the sector.

On board the C8, de Lamotte told AFP, “The solution to our environmental problem is going to come with technology.”

“That’s the goal we’re trying to achieve; Certainly, the impact is significantly less than with internal combustion engines.

Candela touts the C8 as the “fastest” and “longest-range” electric boat on the market as it heads to Cannes. On a single charge, the boat can travel as far as 57 nautical miles (about 100 kilometers) at an average speed of 22 knots and a peak speed of 30 knots.

The market for electric boats will be worth more than $16 billion by 2031, according to a report published last year by Allied Market Research. In 2021, the market was worth $5 billion.

Candela aims to stand out with hydrofoils and a sophisticated computer that automatically adjusts them to ensure safe and smooth travel.

When de Lamotte was hired by the Swedish company, he was working on his own prototype and stated, “Designing an electric boat is easy enough.”

“Making it fly on its own is more difficult.”

After seeing an older model of the Candela flying boat in the San Francisco Bay last year and giving one a try, French entrepreneur Alexei Chemenda claims that he and his wife “fell in love” with it.

A C8 will be delivered to Cannes, where the couple plans to rent their home.

It’s amazing. You feel like you are floating as the boat rises and the wake vanishes.

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