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How superyacht diesel electric power systems work

Diesel-electric power has powered ships and submarines for nearly a century. Today, it is the subject of more discussions between owners, captains, designers and builders as a cleaner, more efficient source of on-board power and propulsion. It has been hyped as a possible ‘greener’ way forward, but is it?

What it is and how it works

When Rudolph Diesel obtained the patent for his 1.58kW Rational Heat Engine with its 10ft diameter flywheel in 1892, he never could have predicted that what came to be called the diesel engine would be as popular as it is today. Nor could he have foreseen the many uses to which the engine has been put. He might, however, recognise the diesel-electric drive train.

Such a system, quite crude by today’s standards, was installed in 1903 in the Russian tanker Vandal , while Diesel was still alive. _The Vandal’s _diesel-electric drive was a far cry from today’s systems where the driving engine and its electric generator (often called by its abbreviation, genset) might be on one part of the vessel and the motor driving the propeller might be elsewhere, even outside the hull.

There are arguments both for and against diesel-electric drives. Proponents say that emissions are lower because only the power needed is used and fuel consumption is reduced, while those against suggest that the weight of a genset and driving motor increases the overall vessel weight, which requires more horsepower to drive the yacht. Additional electrical systems also add complexity, which can cause interference with other electrical systems.

From the naval architect’s standpoint, a diesel-electric system allows the drive engine to be moved away from the end of the propeller shaft. The diesel generator can also be located away from guests to reduce noise and vibration and placed in areas of the hull not normally used for engines or people.

For example, on a 40m yacht, the area under the cockpit may not have adequate headroom for crew cabins, but a pair of diesel generators might fit easily. On vessels over 150m, a gas turbine located in the stack where hot gases can be directed up and away from the deck may be used to generate power, moving power generation completely out of the hull.

A further advantage is that a yacht equipped with several generators can carefully optimise power levels between the house and drive loads. For example, when the yacht is under way, house loads tend to be lower than when the yacht is sitting in harbour with guests aboard. This enables the electronics system to adjust generator power levels between house and powering modes so that both are operating with minimum emissions and fuel consumption.

Under way, the electronic controls monitor propulsion performance as well as house loads and adjust the generators accordingly. This eliminates running high-horsepower main engines continually and still having to adjust generator loads. The end results are lower emissions and improved fuel performance. In addition, an electric propulsion motor can easily be controlled in terms of speed and be reversed without the need for a large gearbox or transmission.

The end result is lower emissions and better fuel performance. In addition, an electric propulsion motor can easily be controlled in terms of speed

An added benefit is the fact that the drive motor can be located outside the hull in a pod drive of the type that Siemens and Schottel have developed, or an azimuthing pod drive can also be used. Using pod drives allows seawater to cool the drive motors, reduces the size of the engine compartment and cuts down on vibration and noise inside the hull. By turning the actual drives, propeller thrust is directed where it can do most good, rather than being deflected off rudders. In addition, rudders and their complexity are eliminated, improving hull drag. In addition, because thrust lines are horizontal, propeller efficiency is considerably improved.

Gensets and batteries

The number of gensets required for a successful diesel-electric installation is critical. If, for example, three large generators are used, at least one will have to operate continuously unless the vessel is on shore power. In addition, one might be under repair. Considering that an 80m yacht might require 300kW when in port, and an additional 400kW when under way, it might seem sensible to have two 400kW generators. But at anchor at night, the generator loads might go down to 100kW, thus both generators would be oversized. In this case it might be more feasible to have a smaller genset of 100kW, two of 300kW, and one of 400kW or 500kW to enable loads to be matched to power consumption to minimise emissions and fuel costs.

For silent operation, say at night, the diesel-electric system could be combined with an energy-dense lithium-ion battery bank or two. In operation, the batteries could be used to drive the pod motors or to power the house lighting for totally silent, night-time operation. The battery banks would have to be quite large to store enough power – probably around 800 to 1,000 amp-hours at 600 volts for a 60m to 70m yacht – but with today’s lithium-ion batteries, such a system is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Diesel-electric and emissions regulations

For all its appeal, diesel-electric has a few disadvantages. To start with, instead of a mechanical engineer, an owner will require an electrical engineer.

As mentioned above, the increased weight of a diesel-electric system can be a drawback. With the new emissions controls that have just come into force in various parts of the world, each genset will require its own controls, should each set be in different parts of the yacht.

Throwing a wrench into the development of diesel-electric yachts are ECAs, or Emission Control Areas. These areas are intended to cut down on NOx (nitrogen oxides) and SOx (sulphur oxides). ECAs, which recently were put in place around the coasts of North America and affect every large vessel in those waters, will necessitate the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce NOx and low-sulphur diesel fuel to reduce SOx. Generator manufacturer Northern Lights has just introduced what it calls its Diesel Exhaust Cleaning System (DECS). The system is based on DCL International’s Marine-X system, which removes particulates as they are emitted from the engine.

Throwing a wrench into the development of diesel-electric yachts are ECAs, or Emission Control Areas. These areas are intended to cut down on NOx (nitrogen oxides) and SOx (sulphur oxides)

In a non-Northern Lights installation, to reduce NOx, a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank containing urea and an atomiser pipe would need to be located near the generators. The DEF is injected into the exhaust stream to react with NOx to create nitrogen and water. To simplify this installation, the entire generator compartment may have to be located in an easily accessible place where the DEF tanks and atomiser can be used on all the generators.

Because of SCR and its associated piping, engine rooms will grow larger, but by placing the drive motors on pods outside the hull, engine room size increases can be minimised. However, this will require widespread adoption of diesel-electric drives, instead of diesels with transmissions and shafts.

Alternative fuel systems

In order to reduce emissions, commercial ship owners are experimenting with using fuels that reduce costs and do not produce much in the way of emissions. Often, where commercial shipping leads, recreational vessels follow, thus a superyacht of the future might be powered by one of these fuels. However, terminals where ships using liquefied gas can refuel may be far and few between and until the infrastructure improves considerably yachts will not follow this trend.

A hydrogen-fuelled superyacht has been proposed. It is a 64m hydrogen diesel-electric yacht from Pharos Marine in Egypt. Given the explosive nature of hydrogen and the lack of refuelling facilities, though, this is more a marketing concept than a real project.

In the far longer term, nanotechnology could lead to major advances in solar and wind power generation. Combined with advances in electric motor and battery technology, nanotechnology could change the look and style of superyachts as we know them today.

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Electric yacht: What are the options for going electric?

  • Will Bruton
  • July 17, 2020

The options for having an electric yacht or a hybrid-electric yacht are growing in popularity; we outline the current options for those making the switch

An Arcona 380z which has electric propulsion

The Arcona 380Z is a standard production yacht that has been adapted for electric propulsion. Note the increased solar panel surface area with soft panels bonded to the sails. Credit: Jukka Pakainen

A modern electric yacht can come in all shapes and sizes, from the latest high-tech speed boats with recently developed high-performance electric engines, to a traditional tender with an electric outboard on the back. Increasingly yachts are going electric too as electric engines become increasingly capable of propelling boats weighing several tonnes, and with the rigging for sails, at a reasonable speed for an acceptable length of time. 

Since the invention of the marinised engine , there has never been the capacity to store enough fuel to cover significant distances in boats that are smaller than a tanker, with fuel capacity always being the limiting factor. As such the best way to cover long distances on a boat fit for a small number of passengers was, and remains, wind power. 

For all the many green attributes that using the power of wind offers, there is no escaping that for most, fossil fuels still represent some part of sailing – whether that be a diesel engine to motor in light winds, onto and off a mooring , or to generate power for onboard electronic systems. Even a small tender used to go from ship-to-shore is often fitted with an outboard motor.

Recent advances in electric power, however, have started to make electric propulsion a reasonable alternative to fossil fuel power. Range will always be an issue but that has long been true of a traditional diesel engine. Improvements in lithuim-ion battery performance is, and likely will continue to, increase range every year. 

diesel electric yachts

Spirit Yachts 44e – the ‘e’ stands for electric

Additionally electric power and batteries offer the bonus of being able to be recharged via solar panels , a wind turbine or hydroelectric power – via a hydrogenerator mounted on the stern of a boat sailing. 

At first glance the electric yacht market could appear in its infancy, but like every revolution, the will of the people is driving forward technology that only a few years ago was seen as the stuff of fantasy.

The market has responded to demand, and battery and motor technology has come on leaps and bounds, driven in part by the rapid development of electric cars.

It may not be commonplace yet, but electric yachting is here, even available ‘off the shelf’, so is it time to get onboard?

Spirit 111 launch

The Spirit 111 is a bold hybrid yacht, promising 30 miles motoring under electric power alone. Credit: Ian Roman/Waterline Media

A cutting edge electric yacht

Like Formula One, it’s the cutting edge of electric yachting that trickles down into mainstream production in no time at all.

For Spirit Yachts, a builder defined by a unique blend of traditional and state-of-the-art, electric yachting has been driven by demanding clients that want their yachts to be at the cutting edge.

Spirit Yachts have now produced a number of projects aimed at the all electric luxury yacht market including the Spirit 44e electric yacht and a recent project, the Spirit 111, had all the hallmarks of a superyacht project and the team had to earn their keep delivering to brief.

Managing Director Nigel Stuart explained how it works.

‘The 111 combines several cutting-edge technologies to deliver a something that’s never really been done before. A lithium-ion powered electric drive system can be charged by hydrogenation and also two high-wattage diesel generators.

‘Each generator is 22kw, meaning they can pack a lot of power into the system in a short period of time, they don’t need to run for long to fully recharge.

‘The prop is both a means of drive and power generation, so no separate hydrogenerator is needed. She will be capable of motoring under electric alone for more than 30 miles.

‘When you take on a project that’s electric, it makes you think hard about efficiency so the air conditioning, water heaters and everything in the galley has also been carefully selected to use less power.

‘For her owner there is very little compromise and some major advantages.’

Whilst it’s a long way from the average cruising yacht, the trickle-down effect of projects like the Spirit 111 can’t be underestimated.

A Contessa 32 which has electric propulsion

Calypso , a Contessa 32, was the yard’s first foray into electric-powered yachts. Credit: Jeremy Rogers

Traditional electric yacht

Jeremy Rogers’ yard in Lymington is the birthplace of the iconic Contessa designs and a veritable temple to long keeled , traditional craft.

Less well known is the yard’s interest in electric auxiliary engines, something they have been involved in for more than 10 years.

Their first project, the refit of a Contessa 32 called Calypso, was an experiment by the Rogers family to see what was possible.

‘ Calypso was a test bed in the technology’s infancy,’ explains Kit Rogers of this early electric boat.

‘Inevitably, we didn’t get it all right, but we learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of electric yachting. The end result was a hybrid. The more we did, the more interesting the project became.

‘It’s not just the obvious, silent peaceful propulsion; it’s also the things you take for granted about a cruising boat. For example, no gas, we didn’t need it because we had electric power.

The yard has also worked on an electric folkboat conversion for a foreign customer.

‘The client, first and foremost, loves to sail. He sees the electric as an auxiliary option, along with the rowing and is excited to own a boat that’s quietly different.

‘He’s looking for a more connected experience and an electric boat helps him achieve it. When you’ve been motoring in and out of marinas under chugging diesel engines for years, the electric motor is something of a revelation.

Arcona 380Z has solar panels to help generation in this electric boat

Arcona has installed solar sails on its latest 380Z electric yacht

Off-the-shelf electric yacht

Perhaps the biggest indication of the future of the electric boat is the willingness of production and semi-production builders to pin their flags to the mast and embrace it.

One of the first was Hanse, who developed a version of their 315 utilising a Torquedo electric pod system.

Providing around the same amount of power as a 10 horsepower diesel, a 4.4kWh lithium ion battery pack powers the system.

Arcona, Dufour, Elan and Delphia also have electric boat models and are each taking their own direction on entering the market.

Arcona’s 380Z (the ‘Z’ stands for ‘zero emission’) fully electric boat has solar panel covered sails, capitalising on the large surface area to top up batteries under sail.

In the multihull market, there is even more scope for solar, wind and hydrogenation due to the horizontal surface area available for solar charging.

What are the options for an electric yacht?

Pure electric.

Purely electric systems can be broadly divided into two categories, high and low voltage.

The latter is the simplest option in terms of how it works and requires less specialist knowledge to install.

Kit Rogers installed a 48v Ocean Volt system in his latest project and remarked on the experience.

‘The advantage of the low voltage system is its inherent lack of complexity. Whilst we’ve coupled it with lithium ion battery technology, it can also be wired up to conventional lead acid batteries. There are pros and cons to both. What surprises everyone is the size, it’s a tiny motor and is surrounded by lots of space where the engine would normally sit.’

High voltage systems are more advanced, and utilising lithium-ion technology, their capacity is improving year on year.

For larger yachts this is generally seen as a better option.

A partnership between BMW and Torqueedo has led to the development of the Deep Blue 315v high voltage battery.

Effectively the same unit as found in the BMWi3 electric cars now often seen on the high street, the system produces a lot of power and is being used on the Spirit 111 project as well as catamarans.

Electric hybrid

One big barrier to entry exists for most potential electric yacht buyers – range.

Even the most advanced set-ups are limited to a maximum of a few hours motoring at cruising speed.

‘The electric motors excel at two things in particular,’ explained Kit Rogers.

‘The first is as auxiliary power for getting in and out of marinas. The second is engaged at low power to very efficiently motor-sail in light airs. If you want to do more than that, at present, you need to add a way of packing in the charge into the battery quickly whilst at sea; which means a generator’ .

As with electric cars and as enthusiasm builds for the technology, a hybrid option, pairing a generator with an electric drive system, is already proving popular and is probably the most practical option for those planning to cruise any distance.

Using a large generator, charge can be quickly put into the system when needed.

Once under sail, the yacht’s propeller becomes a hydro generator, meaning that diesel power is not needed day-to-day.

Solar can also be used to add additional charging capacity.

‘When a fully integrated electric hybrid system is incorporated into a cruising yacht from the outset, its possibilities really become clear,’ explains John Arnold, UK manager at Torqeedo.

‘Sailing for days on end with no engine noise is entirely possible. There are other less obvious benefits too. Electric drives have no long rotating shaft, so can be used as pod drives as well, meaning the boat is far more manoeuvrable than even a yacht equipped with bow and stern thrusters.’

Spirit Yachts' 44e electric boat

Spirit Yachts 44e

How much does it cost to convert a yacht to electric power?

The technology exists, but anyone seriously considering going electric will want to crunch the numbers.

In the case of taking out a traditional inboard diesel and replacing it with an electric system, it’s relatively easy to work this out.

However, unless you include an auxiliary generator, you will be limited to battery range alone.

For this reason, we’ve done a like for like comparison for a 35ft yacht engine refit, including the cost of a generator to make the system a practical hybrid.

Unsurprisingly, at the moment, there’s a big difference in cost, but at between three to six times the cost, it is gradually coming into the realms of possibility, and prices should continue to drop as technology develops and evolves.

Ocean Volt SD10 Motor system (including batteries, charger and 6kw generator): £30,825.16

Beta Marine Beta 20hp Marine Diesel: £4,100

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The All-Electric Yacht Evolution

  • By David Schmidt
  • January 13, 2022

Sunreef Yachts

The powerboat drivers idle near their starting lines off Monaco, waiting for the signal to punch the throttles. But they’re different from those who have raced here since 1904: These nine boats are competing in the Solar Class at the 2021 Monaco Energy Boat Challenge.

Every July, the Monaco Yacht Club organizes this race, which features next-generation technologies. This year, after five days of competition—including a 16-nautical-mile-lap race, slalom racing and a championship race—the Dutch-flagged Sunflare solar team claimed top honors in the sun-powered class.

Is their boat’s top speed of about 29 knots going to break any world speed records? No. But the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge is a harbinger of recreational boating’s not-so-distant future.

That future, of being carbon-free, has been a long time coming. German inventor Moritz von Jacobi created an early electric boat in 1839, a 24-footer that could carry 14 passengers at roughly 2.6 knots. In 1882, Anthony Reckenzaun, an Austria-born electrical engineer, built Electricity , a steel-hulled launch with onboard batteries that was considered one of the first “practical” electric vessels. Other innovations continued until circa 1910, when Ole Evinrude’s gasoline-fired outboards began their own revolution.

Now, a century later, electric yachts harness technologies such as solar panels, electric drivetrains, lightweight construction in carbon fiber, lithium-based batteries and, in some cases, hydrofoils. These boats’ performance, comfort and range can rival some traditionally powered yachts—and they are clean and quiet. Much like Teslas, they sometimes also come with memorable acceleration curves.

Contemporary electric boats range in size and complexity. There are displacement monohulls such as Zin Boat’s 20-foot Z2T and Z2R and X Shore’s 26-foot Eelex 8000. There are hydrofoilers such as the upcoming Navier 27 (see sidebar). There are also boats like those contesting the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge, as well as bluewater cruisers with multiple hulls.

“The first advantage is space,” says Michael Köhler, CEO of Silent-Yachts . “Catamarans have more surface area, which benefits the number of solar panels that can be installed.”

Other advantages of multiple hulls in electric-boat design include increased form stability (no ballasted keels) and reduced drag. “This low resistance means they’re better suited for electric motoring, as they need a lot less energy to move than monohulls,” says Nicolas Lapp, Sunreef Yachts’ strategy consultant for research and development.

Navier 27

One key to reducing a yacht’s energy requirements involves reducing its displacement. “The lighter the yacht, the less energy is needed to move it,” Köhler says. “For this reason, our yachts are made of lightweight carbon fiber.”

While all of the yachts discussed in this article can be charged via shore-supplied AC power, cruisers typically want greater autonomy. To that end, Silent-Yachts and Sunreef Yachts use solar panels. The team at Silent-Yachts specs its panels from California-based SunPower, while Sunreef Yachts created the marine industry’s first flexible solar panels, which are flush-mounted on hulls, masts and superstructures.

Aesthetics matter in yachting, and not everyone wants to cruise aboard a solar farm. Here, Lapp sees an opportunity. “If you want sustainability to be cool and attract the attention of new generations, the appeal of the product is something you cannot neglect,” he says. “Seamless integration of the solar panels was a way for us to prove that sustainability [can] generate green power [and] cool looks.” (After all, no one buys a Tesla because it looks like a Chevy.)

While the Caribbean and Mediterranean are blessed with abundant lumens, other world-class cruising grounds—say, the Pacific Northwest—aren’t equally illuminated. Because of this, electric cruising yachts typically also include redundant systems to ensure that the navigation lights stay on without heading to a marina.

“Every Silent yacht is equipped with a backup generator,” Köhler says. “This makes sure you never run out of energy, even when facing longer periods of unfavorable weather conditions.”

Rainy-day alternatives can include other green-power solutions. Sunreef Yachts typically specs dual wind generators atop its yachts’ rooftops. However, Lapp is realistic about their capabilities.

“Wind turbines can only supply a small fraction of the energy that our solar panels can,” he says, explaining that, in the right conditions, Sunreef’s panels typically generate 40 times more juice than the turbines. “What’s nice about working with wind is that your generators work all the time.” That includes under navigation, at the dock and throughout the night.

Reo Baird and Sampriti Bhattacharyya

Energy sources aside, these experts say that high-quality batteries offering high performance are critical. Larger-capacity battery banks ensure more power reserves, but adding them can affect a yacht’s performance.

“The weight of the battery banks is also an important factor, as it can reduce or increase the overall efficiency,” Köhler says.

Battery performance is also critical for electric-powered coastal craft. One example is X Shore’s Eelex 8000, which has a high-performance 225 kW electric motor and dual 63 kWh lithium-ion batteries that can be charged anywhere there’s a power socket, or supercharged using the same technology as electric cars.

“The batteries can be charged in five to eight hours with three-phase power plugs and one to two hours with superchargers,” says Elias Wästberg, X Shore’s project manager.

While superchargers don’t exist in the middle of oceans, builders of electric-powered bluewater boats have already done this math. Silent-Yachts says its power catamarans are built to offer transatlantic autonomy, but a lot depends on how the owner uses the boat to minimize energy consumption.

“During sunny conditions, a general rule of thumb is that cruising at 6 knots maintains a balance between consumption and production,” Köhler says. “This basically means unlimited range. …The main thing that owners can do to increase range is reduce speed and turn off any appliances.”

This begs the question: Do owners need to downshift their expectations for onboard comfort when going electric?

“There’s no need to make any sacrifices or closely monitor energy levels,” Lapp says. “A lot of energy saving is done automatically. For example, at night, the air-conditioning system focuses solely on selected areas and cabins. … It consumes 70 percent less energy than most systems.”

And should the battery banks get thirsty, there’s always the generator.

Cruising with zero emissions might be a selling point for some customers, but one need not squeeze trees to embrace yachting’s future. “Running costs and maintenance levels are much lower compared to regular-motor catamarans,” Köhler says.

Then, there are unquantifiable returns. “You get to enjoy the absolute luxury of cruising in total silence and without disturbing the marine life around you,” Lapp says, adding that this experience helps owners create “better connections with the environment.”

Sunreef Yachts

Finally, there can also be the grin factor. “The Eelex 8000 can accelerate from 0 to 20 knots in 4.2 seconds,” Wästberg says. “The software captures 150 data points every second, allowing for real-time analytics of battery and engine performance, including temperature, humidity, pressure, location and the craft’s system status.”

While electric yachts boast some impressive capabilities, free lunches are unicorns. Electric yachts don’t emit carbon dioxide, but their carbon footprint likely deepens with stem-to-stern life-cycle assessments of their photovoltaic panels, carbon-fiber hulls and lithium-based batteries. Then there’s the inconvenient financial truth that all batteries have a finite number of charge cycles and eventually need refitting. Also, for now, diesel mechanics greatly outnumber certified electric-boat technicians, especially in remote locales.

Still, few people gifted with foresight would have bet against Evinrude’s outboards in the early 20th century. The same holds true for today’s electric boats. One only has to look at the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge to realize that some of the brightest minds in the marine and technology fields are committed to a carbon-free future.

Couple this trend with the fact that electric yachts are already providing better performance and compromise-free cruising, and yachting’s future is looking bright (green).  

Navier Boats teamed up with Paul Bieker, an America’s Cup-winning naval architect and hydrofoil expert, to create the Navier 27. It delivers 30-plus-knot top speeds or a 75-nautical-mile range at slower speeds. While impressive, hydrofoils require active control, which is a crux that Navier solved by creating an autonomous foil-control system.

Sunreef 100 Eco

It’s one thing to build a solar-powered vessel for the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge; it’s a different challenge to build an electric 100-footer that can accommodate 12 guests and five crewmembers. The Sunreef 100 Eco’s flexible solar panels mean this cat can accommodate 2,610 square feet of solar-farm space and generate up to 46 kilowatts per hour of DC power, which should keep its high-performance lithium-ion batteries topped off. 

Hands on the Helm

While the Navier 27 will initially require human hands on its helm, down-the-road software releases are expected to enable autonomous driving.

Panel Planners

While photovoltaic panels can be fitted to any yacht, catamarans present themselves as an ideal platform, given their beam and broader coach-roof space.

  • More: Electric , Electric Boats , Electric Motors , Electric Yachts , Silent-Yachts , Sunreef Yachts , Yachts , Zin Boats
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How hybrid sailing yachts finally became a feasible option

Yachting World

  • May 17, 2019

They’ve been a long time coming, but marine hybrid propulsion systems are finally a working reality, as Sam Fortescue reports


The Bootswerft Heinrich-built 13m Yamila uses an Oceanvolt electric motor rather than a diesel engine. Photo: Peter Minder

Every sailor is familiar with the wet cough of the diesel engine, and the acrid smell of its exhaust. For some it’s the sign that an adventure is starting, for others it is the reassurance that all is well on board the boat. The traditional engine is perhaps your boat’s most important safety feature, but its days may be numbered.

The electric sailing revolution is coming – and though adoption in the marine sector is proving much slower than in the automotive world ashore, progress is being made.

The market is still relatively small. Clear market leader Torqeedo had sales of €25m last year, most of which was in ferries and compact outboards. It also offers a range of saildrive and pod drive motors for yachts displacing from 2 to 50 tonnes, or roughly 20-60ft LOA.

But sailors have been slow on the uptake, and for one good reason: if you’re planning to cross an ocean or take on tough conditions offshore, you rely on your engine to help you outrun danger or motor through the doldrums – sometimes for days at a time.


Oceanvolt AXC series is a modular shaft drive system (10kW to 40kW) that will fit in place of a tradition diesel engine

Even with the current crop of advanced lithium-ion boat batteries , the range of an electric system is measured in tens of miles, not hundreds. So a 35ft monohull with 10kWh of lithium battery (four units weighing 96kg in total) would have a range of just 24 nautical miles at 3.8 knots, or less than 16 nautical miles at full throttle.

Taking into account the incredible wastage of combustion engines, which dissipate more energy as heat and noise than they provide in propulsion, diesel is still ten times more energy dense than batteries.


Full-carbon luxury daysailer Yamila uses an Oceanvolt SD8 8kW electric saildrive system. Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

“When you look at bluewater cruisers, of course you will have a diesel,” says Torqeedo’s founder and CEO, Dr Christoph Ballin. “And it’s right that not many coastal sailors opt for pure electric.”

But that doesn’t mean that electric has no interest for cruising sailors – far from it. The more common route for ‘normal’ sailors will be to combine diesel and electric in a hybrid sailing system.

Under this model, the engine is replaced by an electric motor, hooked up to a bank of lithium batteries. This can be charged via hydrogeneration – when the speed under sail turns the propeller and puts charge back into the batteries – and solar or wind. But when extended periods under power are required a standalone DC generator, which can be installed anywhere on board, supplies the electricity.

This is the set-up recommended by Finland’s Oceanvolt, which has focused on the cruising sailing market with a range of shaft and sail drive motors from 3.7kW to 15kW (roughly 10hp to 45hp in diesel engine terms).

“In the case of the round-the-world cruiser, we recommend a hybrid system with a backup genset to support continuous drive when/if needed,” says Oceanvolt CEO Markus Mustelin. “A regenerating prop, which spins while sailing and recharges the batteries (sacrificing 0.2-0.4 of a knot, depending on the boat and conditions) makes it possible to be almost independent of the genset and use it only for backup.”

diesel electric yachts

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This system has the advantage that the generator is only needed on longer passages, so the boat still manoeuvres silently in and out of ports and anchorages.

And a well-designed, correctly sized generator is much more efficient at turning diesel into electricity than an engine not originally designed for the job. Some sailors opt for an in-line hybrid system, like those offered by Hybrid-Marine, which bolts onto the existing diesel.

These are easier to retrofit, with many of the same characteristics as the full hybrid system, but there’s the disadvantage of still having an engine boxed away somewhere near the middle of the boat.


Electro magnetism

Until now, most business has been done through retrofitting existing yachts. But an increasing number of yacht builders are looking to include electric propulsion as original equipment. The world’s third largest boatbuilder, Hanse Yachts , is perhaps the most advanced – offering its entry-level Hanse 315 with an electric rudder-drive option.

The system takes up less space than the standard diesel, is much quieter and vibration- and emissions-free. But Hanse admits take up has been disappointing.

The technology has found more interest among lake sailors. Innovative young German brand Bente has been fitting Torqeedo motors to its successful 24ft model, originally designed for Germany’s ‘Green Lakes’.

Closer to home, dinghy specialist RS Sailing has decided to fit a retractable electric drive to its new RS21 keelboat. Already christened the ‘invisible gennaker’, the system is based on Torqeedo’s Travel 1003 outboard motor.

Bigger race boats have also been attracted by the lure of low-weight propulsion. Just look at Malizia , an IMOCA 60 being prepared for the 2020 Vendée Globe with a lightweight Torqeedo system.

“Emissions-free round the world under race conditions, while simultaneously producing your own energy, is a thoroughly inspirational concept,” said Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann.

Electric has also been successful at the luxury end of the market, where lithium-ion batteries account for a smaller share of the boat’s overall cost. A 50ft Privilege 5 catamaran and a carbon fibre Gunboat 60 have both been retrofitted with Torqeedo kit, while Oceanvolt appears on a Swan 57 and an all-carbon Agile 42.


Overview of the Torqeedo Deep Blue propulsion system installed in the Gunboat Moonwave

The Gunboat Moonwave has two 25kW Deep Blue saildrives both capable of regenerating under sail. There is still a generator on board to extend battery range offshore, but “they no longer use the generator – it’s just for emergency,” says Torqeedo’s Ballin.

Spirit Yachts is also designing electric propulsion into its Spirit 111  flagship, due for launch this summer. With four big 40kW lithium batteries aboard and a 100kW motor, the yacht will be able to operate silently for hours, although it also has 100kW of diesel generator capacity.

“The real focus is not the propulsion,” explains Spirit director Nigel Stuart, “but that everything works in harmony, from galley equipment and hot water to heating, air conditioning, hydraulics etc.” The British yard is also building a 65-footer using Oceanvolt hybrid technology and a new 44-footer that is pure electric.

With racing on one hand and high-end cruisers on the other, there is something of a gap in the middle. By Torqeedo’s own admission, the cruising sailor hasn’t been a big focus of the electric revolution, but all that is about to change. “We started a bit late with sailing,” Ballin admits, “but in the next five to eight years it will be addressed big time.”


Fully integrated electric drive system will power the new 111ft Spirit Yachts flagship

What does that really mean? Well, in the first instance, it means system integration. If that doesn’t sound revolutionary, then imagine a set-up on board where solar panels, hydrogenerators, batteries, generators and motors all worked seamlessly together to keep the yacht supplied with ample power around the clock. “That’s what people are willing to pay for: plenty of energy with heating or air-con through the night,” says Ballin.

The future of hybrid sailing

In the near future, Torqeedo is planning a new range-extending DC generator specifically for hybrid sailing boats. Its existing unit is built by WhisperPower and provides 25kW, which is too much power for boats using the pod drive system.

The genset will be designed to operate at optimum revolutions, while clever DC to DC conversion decouples the battery voltage from the charging voltage, for much greater efficiency.

With boats, just as with cars, the breakthrough that will make all the difference is around battery capacity. Until range under electric power can match that of diesel, there will be many sceptics. And that isn’t likely to happen for a decade or more, according to Ballin.

“Theoretically, they’ve tested batteries in labs that are ten times more efficient than lithium,” he explains. “And if that comes through, then gasoline is done. But we are trying to combine long-term vision with short-term mindset.”

In the meantime, the prevalent technology is based on lithium-manganese-cobalt, and a process of steady development is making this 5-8% better each year. For example, BMW has just announced its next generation i3 battery, used by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue system, will be able to hold 40kWh of power – an increase of 33% for the same size, weight and nearly the same cost.


Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 FP Pod Drive is suitable for small yachts up to 4 tonnes – a folding prop can also be fitted

The other area of development is around the propeller. Most cruising systems use a folding or feathering prop designed for diesel engines. But Torqeedo’s own research shows that the consistently high torque of an electric motor is best utilised by props with variable pitch.

And yet it is Oceanvolt that has addressed this issue specifically for electric motors with its Servo Prop system, which it claims to be 30% more efficient ahead, 100% better astern and 300% more efficient in regeneration mode.

Oceanvolt says that this prop can pump around 500W into the batteries at just 5 knots – the average pace of a 30ft monohull. At 6 knots that rises to around 800W, and at a very manageable 7 knots for a larger ocean cruiser you get 1.2kW.

“A new technology can rarely compete in price with an established one in its initial growth phase,” says Mustelin. “However, we have passed this and today electric systems are offered at a quite competitive price. When you add to that the fact the electric system is almost service free, the total cost of ownership is turning in favour of electric.”

So, you may not hear them approach, but expect to see more and more electric-powered boats on the water as the revolution continues.

A question of torque

A key part of the viability of electric propulsion rests on the notion that a smaller motor can achieve the same work as a bigger diesel. There are two elements to this. First, a diesel engine is not an efficient converter of chemical energy into thrust, creating a lot of heat and noise in the process. Second, the torque characteristics of electric are much better than diesel.

Mustelin says that Oceanvolt’s 10kW motor “easily outperforms” a 30hp diesel. “Typically, maximum boat speed will be somewhat lower (0.5kt-1.0kt) than with a comparable diesel engine, but at the same time the boat will maintain the speed better in heavy seas and headwind due to higher torque. Manoeuvrability is much better in confined marina spaces.”

That’s because combustion engines only reach peak power (and maximum torque) over a small range of speeds. Torque is a measure of turning power – at the propeller in the case of a boat.

A diesel engine develops optimum torque between 1,800-2,000rpm, while electric motors deliver it from 0 to around 2,000rpm. This allows electric motors to use higher efficiency propellers that are slimmer and more steeply pitched.


Engine-driven: The ‘alternator on steroids’

It has taken years of development and over $10m of funding, but renowned boat systems expert Nigel Calder has helped design an alternator so powerful that it eliminates the need for a generator on board.

Mounted on the engine, on the second alternator position, the Integrel can produce five to ten times more power. Sitting behind the system is at least 10kWh of lead acid batteries (lithium is also an option), and Victron chargers and inverters.

“If you crank the engine it’ll charge the batteries; if you’re running with the engine in neutral, it’ll know it’s in standalone generator mode and switch to that algorithm,” explains Calder. “It will likely be cheaper than a generator installation, and eliminates the issue of the through-hulls, the cooling circuits, the long running hours, the maintenance.”

The system allows you to run all sorts of creature comforts on board that would normally require a generator: from hot water on-demand to coffee makers and freezers. “We honestly believe that this system is going to supplant generators on almost all boats that currently have, or would like to have, a generator,” adds Calder.

With the engine in gear and at low revs, tests show how the Integrel can produce some 2kW of power without increasing fuel consumption or reducing speed – simply utilising the engine’s wasted capacity. This means it will work with the yacht’s existing engine – no need to overspec – and it has already been successfully installed on a new Southerly 480, a Malo 46 and a similar-sized Hallberg-Rassy.


Case study: Dufour 382 Alcyone

Built by Dufour in 2016, Alcyone was immediately retrofitted professionally with Oceanvolt’s SD15 saildrive motor, supplied by a 14kWh lithium battery bank. Owners Michael Melling and Diana Kolpak also specced an 8kWh DC generator for range extension. The fit out cost €30,600 for the motor and battery system, plus an additional €13,744 for the generator, and installation costs were around €8,000.

They charter the boat out near Vancouver, for exploring Desolation Sound and the surrounding area where silent, clean propulsion is a selling point. “Nothing spoils the joy of sailing – or a secluded anchorage – more than the noise and smell of diesel engines,” they explained. “Installing an Oceanvolt system in our new boat has freed us from that. It’s the way of the future.”

Charter manager Merion Martin said the conversion has also been popular with charter customers, adding: “The main advantage of the system is that it consistently uses around 40% less fuel than a standard diesel engine over the course of a week’s charter. But understanding the power management system takes a bit of getting used to, and the many components involved in the system can make troubleshooting a challenge.”

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Over 100 years after the first (successful) diesel-electric yacht, Southern Wind explain how hybrid marine power is taking a big step forward in a size range that allows better use of industrial developments in other sectors.

What will the next superyacht launched by Southern Wind Shipyard have in common with more than 400 New York City buses? Absolutely nothing, until you look in the engine room where you’ll find the same diesel-electric power and propulsion technology from BAE Systems. The  SW96#04 , due for delivery next summer, is Southern Wind’s first yacht with a hybrid drive, a major milestone for the shipyard. And their next diesel-electric project is already taking shape: the brand new  SW108 Hybrid  which has already been sold for delivery winter 2023. If the current level of interest from clients is sustained, Southern Wind expects to be building up to – two hybrid-powered yachts per year going forward.

It might seem strange to source a hybrid drive from the public transport industry rather than using a system designed from the outset specifically for marine use, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Most if not all of the commercial marine diesel-electric hybrid systems currently on the market are far too big for a 29-metre (96ft) sailing yacht and the leisure marine systems are much too small. The suppliers at both ends of the spectrum don’t see enough demand to upscale or downsize their existing products, so there’s a gap in the middle of the market from around 200 to 400kW (roughly 300 to 500hp). Or rather, there was a gap which BAE Systems has now filled, in partnership with Southern Wind.

There’s also the key issue of reliability. Diesel-electric marine propulsion has been around for more than a century, going all the way back to Jack Delmar-Morgan’s motor yacht Mansura in 1912, but none of the current marine-specific hybrid drives are anywhere near the maturity of BAE Systems’ technology, which has been deployed in more than 14,000 vehicles worldwide over the last 25 years. It’s proven beyond doubt to be extremely reliable with complete dual redundancy built in, and it’s backed up by a global support network of skilled technicians who already have years of repair, maintenance and troubleshooting experience.

BAE Systems’ hybrid expertise goes far beyond buses – it’s also the leading supplier in many aerospace and commercial applications, including ferries and offshore fishing vessels. It’s a smart move for Southern Wind to tap into this huge infrastructure and economy of scale.

The first SW108, currently under construction, is also going to be fitted with a HybridGen drive

What are the benefits of hybrid propulsion? Apart from the fuel economy gain of a system that always runs at peak efficiency – conservatively estimated between five and 30 per cent for a Southern Wind hybrid – and the resulting reduction in carbon footprint, there are four major advantages for a sailing boat and especially for a long-range ocean cruiser that needs to operate in complete autonomy for weeks or months at a time.

First, there’s the ability to regenerate power via the propeller and keep the yacht’s batteries charged for the whole duration of an ocean passage under sail, running the sailing systems and some hotel systems without using any fuel. ‘When you’re crossing the Pacific for example it means that you can arrive with full tanks in a remote area like the Marquesas or Tuamotus and start exploring the small archipelagos immediately, without first having to go and refuel,’ Micheli says.

Second, the hybrid system’s huge battery capacity enables a yacht to operate for periods of time in silent mode with zero emissions, under power and at anchor. There’s no need to run generators overnight in an anchorage, which improves the quality of life for people on other yachts nearby as well as for the owner and guests on board. Silent running also means zero pollution, less disturbance to wildlife and a better experience for guests in wilderness areas and conservation zones.

Third, a hybrid system powered by two relatively small generators instead of one big engine allows a large yacht to circumvent the stringent IMO Tier 3 regulations for all new marine diesel engines with a power output greater than 130kW (174hp). Exclusion zones for noncompliant vessels already exist in the US and are due to be enforced in the North Sea, with other areas expected to follow. The nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction requirements of Tier 3 are a challenge for yacht builders, Micheli says, because the solutions that have been developed for commercial shipping such as selective catalytic reduction (SCR) are impractical for a sailing yacht with a 300-450hp auxiliary engine.

The fourth big benefit of hybrid drives is their longevity. In a conventional installation, a yacht’s gensets are typically replaced (or completely rebuilt) after 20,000 hours and the engine after about 25,000 hours. By contrast, as Southern Wind’s technical manager Yann Dabbadie explains, the BAE Systems HybridGen drive is rated for 52,000 hours of running.

The HybridGen setup offers complete dual redundancy while keeping all of the high-voltage elements of the system safely confined.

Crews and owners aren’t very comfortable with the technology, Micheli says, because they don’t fully understand it Hybrid drives do require high-voltage power that is potentially lethal but in the Southern Wind/BAE HybridGen setup it’s safely confined to sealed units within the engine room. It doesn’t run all around the boat. ‘The architecture of the system is optimised for safety as well as weight, performance and reliability,’ Dabbadie says. ‘There are no loose terminals and all junction boxes are protected. Even if you accidentally opened a junction box, there is no way you can hurt yourself as the system will cut the high voltage automatically. The system is built to class requirements, it’s installed on ships already and we’re working closely with RINA.’

Another reason for the slow uptake of hybrid drives, especially for racing yachts and high-performance cruisers, is that they usually weigh more and take up more space than a conventional engine – but this one doesn’t. ‘It’s about a ton lighter than any of the other hybrid systems on the market,’ Dabbadie says. ‘The total weight depends on the battery capacity that the owner chooses to have but if you compare like for like it’s not much heavier than a normal diesel installation.’ It also occupies the same amount of space, and fits neatly into the existing engine rooms of most yachts that Southern Wind has built, so it’s a viable retrofit option for many owners.

Yacht owners and crews are also quite often sceptical about the availability of technical support and troubleshooting services when they’re anchored off a remote island or sailing in mid-ocean, thousands of miles from land. Once again Southern Wind has a solution, drawn this time from the offshore power industry. Crews receive training from BAE Systems as part of the yacht’s sea trials and a headset with a camera and virtual reality visor could possibly be supplied for remote assistance. A low-bandwidth satcom link is all that’s needed to provide expert guidance and to troubleshoot any problems remotely. For servicing or maintenance work in far-flung parts of the world, a local technician can be sent from the nearest service centre.

All of this, however, is just one part of a wider drive towards more sustainable yachting at Southern Wind. The efficiency gains of a new, remarkably efficient air conditioning system are expected to be even more significant for a yacht in typical charter usage than the benefits delivered by the HybridGen propulsion system. And that’s just the start of a new direction for this innovative shipyard.

  • Hybrid marine power
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Johana Nomm

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Greenline Yachts offers the only complete fleet with conventional, hybrid or electric drive in the world

Currently, we still offer diesel engines but we strive to use the most efficient ones that the market has to offer. Our aim is to provide the most responsible diesel boating solution available. 

HDrive Technology

We are pioneers of hybrid propulsion in boats and have been using this technology since 2008. Years of experience in hybrid drivetrains has allowed us to perfect the system not only for the purposes of propulsion but also for maximum efficiency and comfort while living on board.

EDrive Technology

We believe that electric propulsion is the future of responsible boating. This is why every model in the Greenline range is available with a fully electric drive system, which provides silent, emission free propulsion and integrated energy management to run the boat’s domestic supply. 

Let us know your speed and range requirements and will send a customised proposal.

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  • Systems & Propulsion

Electric and Hybrid Propulsion for Sailboats

Practical sailor looks at the players in the developing field of electric auxiliary engines.

diesel electric yachts

How soon will electric auxiliary propulsion be available to everyman? That depends on whom you ask. Opinions differ widely not just on what type of drive system might surge to the forefront, but even on whether the concept itself is viable. While a handful of companies forge ahead, notably Glacier Bay and Electric Marine Propulsion on this side of the Atlantic, some expected participants are waiting on the sidelines.

The Hybrid Lagoon 420

Photos courtesy of Manufacturers

One of the big issues that divides promoters and detractors alike is whether the appropriate way to go in a sailboat is with a pure diesel-electric drive train, with a hybrid electric drive with a diesel generator as back-up, or as a pure electric drive with regeneration capability. We’ll take a look at these and other options later in this article. For now, the short answer is that no single approach suits every sailor all the time.

Simply put, in the diesel-electric system, the electric motor runs only when the diesel-driven generator is running. Such arrangements have long been employed in railway locomotives, submarines, and commercial vessels of many types. In the hybrid system, a large bank of batteries provides the energy for the electric motor and the diesel generator recharges the batteries. On the face of it, the hybrid system offers a certain degree of redundancy in that, assuming the batteries are kept well charged, the boat has a measure of emergency power should the generator fail at an inopportune moment. The hybrid also is capable of recharging its batteries when sailing: Driven by the turning propeller, the motor becomes a generator.

Each of these approaches has its strengths and weaknesses, and while we’ll leave it to their developers to work out the technical issues, we would like to urge anyone contemplating installing an electric drive, or purchasing a boat that has one, to first look very closely at how they expect to use the boat. There’s more entrained in the choice than in picking a flavor at Baskin-Robbins. More on this later.

Among the electric drives currently available in one form or another, or as components, the big variable is operating voltage. Motors are available that run on 24, 36, 48, 72, and 144 volts, and, in the case of Glacier Bay’s diesel-electric system with Ossa Powerlite technology, 240-volt DC. Each supplier will discourse at length on the merits of their voltage choice, but an inconvenient fact haunts the entire field: High-voltage DC is deadly, potentially more so in some circumstances than AC.

While neither form of high-voltage is “safe,” we have a lot more experience with AC aboard recreational vessels than with high-voltage DC. An extensive body of knowledge exists on which to base AC installations so as to make them safe as well as reliable. High-voltage DC is used in a variety of marine and non-marine commercial applications, but these installations are well protected from access by untrained operators.

What voltage constitutes high voltage? That, again, depends on whom you talk to. The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), which sets voluntary standards for the marine industry, defines it as 50 volts and above. Prompted by rapid adoption of high-voltage services in small commercial craft and bigger yachts, though not specifically in propulsion systems, the ABYC is in the process of drawing up guidelines for voltages higher than the 48 volts covered by existing standards.

An absence of standards might not deter individuals from installing an electric drive, but it might impede widespread adoption of the technology. If a surveyor can’t state in an insurance survey that a boat is built according to ABYC standards, that could affect its insurability.

Jim Nolan, who manages the underwriting department for BoatUS, said the company has no clear cut guidance regarding insuring boats with electric propulsion. Each boat is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. A new boat with a factory-installed system would be a good deal easier to underwrite than a one-off or do-it-yourself project, especially in the absence of a standard practice. Lagoon Catamarans’ 72-volt-DC hybrid system, for instance, has qualified for the European standard (CE) certification on the strength of following industrial standards that apply to such applications as fork-lift trucks. Anyone contemplating an electric drive would be well advised to discuss it ahead of time with an insurer and even get a surveyor involved from the outset.

Because of the safety issues surrounding the voltages involved in electric propulsion, Fischer Panda has decided to limit its DC product line to boats weighing 10 tons or less. A company representative we spoke to said that while Fischer Panda currently sells DC generators up to 48 volts in the USA for marine use, it “won’t touch” high-voltage DC because it’s lethal.

A proposed collaboration with Catalina Yachts to fit a diesel-electric system in a Catalina-Morgan 440 never came to fruition due to budget constraints, according to Fischer Panda. But in Europe, Fischer Panda teamed up with Whisperprop to equip a Bavaria 49. (Beyond the fact that one of its boats was used, Bavaria Yachts was not involved in the project.) According to Fischer Panda, after evaluating the Bavaria project, the company decided that the diesel-electric AC system is a niche product that wouldn’t interest their prime market: original equipment builders.

“Although the AC system has some advantages in the improved response of the electric motors … and the quietness of the system, the desired fuel efficiency and weight savings were not evident,” Fischer Panda reported.

Fischer Panda considers the DC system to be more suitable for its North American customers. Although it’s limited in output due to its limited battery voltage of 48 volts, it is still able to power multihulls up to 10 tons.

Currently, much of the movement toward electric drives is taking place in the catamaran world. This makes sense when you consider that a single diesel generator can, in theory, provide all the boat’s electrical needs and also take the place of two diesel-propulsion engines. Taking the lead in the field, Lagoon Catamarans introduced in 2006 the Lagoon 420. Originally offered only as a hybrid, it now is also available in two diesel versions. Corsair Marine is building the Corsair 50 catamaran around the Glacier Bay diesel-electric drive, but the boat’s launch date—formerly set for this summer—has been postponed.

Dick Vermeulen, president of Maine Cat, tried the Glacier Bay system in a prototype power cat, but it failed to meet performance expectations, so production models will have conventional diesels. A number of other cat builders have announced hybrid or diesel-electric projects, but feedback on how they perform is scan’t.

So much for the mainstream—but backwater sailors will go their own way, as they always have. As more vendors and components enter the market, the options for do-it-yourselfers or custom-boat customers become broader and more attractive. However, before going ahead with an installation, make sure it’s appropriate to how you plan to use your boat, and even then be prepared to adapt the way you sail to take best advantage of the system’s characteristics. Here’s a rundown of the various types.

Electric Drive Only

Duffy Electric Boats has for years been building electric launches and lake boats that have the simple capability of puttering around in sheltered waters for a period of time determined by battery capacity and speed maintained. A battery charger powered by shore power charges the batteries overnight. Transferring that approach to a sailboat up to about 25 feet used for daysailing and kept near an electrical outlet shouldn’t be too difficult. It won’t offer the assurance of diesel when trying to get home against current or wind, but a proven 36- or 48-volt system will keep you out of uncharted standards territory.

For a bigger boat, more power, a greater range, or a combination of these requirements, it will be necessary to install a large battery bank and almost certainly will entail going to a higher voltage to keep the amps and the cabling needed to carry them manageable. The boat’s range under power will be limited by the weight of batteries, and while lighter lithium-based technology is on the horizon, for now the standard is lead/acid. The fast charging, but expensive pure lead thin plate (PLTP) Odyssey batteries have attracted particular interest among propulsion enthusiasts.

Electric Drive with Regeneration

Debut of the Electric Leopard

The next level up in complexity is a “reversible” system. When the boat is sailing, the propeller turns the motor, which then becomes a generator. The electricity it makes is used to recharge the batteries. The capability to regenerate extends the boat’s potential range, but the drag on the propeller slows the boat measurably. One hour of regen will not restore the power consumed by one hour of motoring, but if sailing time sufficiently exceeds motoring time, this arrangement offers considerable range.

A regenerating system does have the potential to overcharge the batteries once they become fully charged and the boat continues to sail fast. The solution is, ironically, to give the motor some “throttle,” which reduces the drag on the propeller and consequently the power output. This phenomenon gives rise to a new technique, that of “electro-sailing” in which sails and an electric motor complement each other. At present, the “throttle” must be adjusted by hand, but developers are working on automatic controls. Field trials of existing regen motors such as the Solomon systems suggest that a small regen motor’s ability to match the output of a much higher-rated diesel have been overstated.

Hybrid Electric Drive

A hybrid system adds to the mix an onboard generator, which is used primarily to maintain charge in the batteries, both those for the propulsion motor and for the house services. This arrangement extends the boat’s capability to lie for long periods at anchor, independent of shore power for electricity and without the need to go sailing for the sole purpose of charging the batteries. A hybrid can motor constantly, as long as there is fuel, but it cannot sustain full speed for long periods. This is because the generator is usually rated at a far lower horsepower than that required to drive the boat at full speed.

Diesel-Electric Drive

In a pure diesel-electric, the electric propulsion motor runs only when the generator is running. Storage batteries are not needed for propulsion purposes, and the generator is the source for all onboard electrical power needs. The rationale behind diesel electric lies in the relationship between a diesel engine’s rate of fuel consumption and the load it’s working under. It burns fuel more efficiently when heavily loaded than when lightly loaded. When the diesel engine is disconnected from the propeller, it can be controlled so that it is working in the upper range of its efficiency regardless of how fast the propeller is turning. Nigel Calder’s series of articles in Professional Boatbuilder magazine ( beginning with the June/July issue delves deeply into the efficiency discussion surrounding these engines. Systems on large vessels are built around multiple generators that switch on or off according to the power demands of the moment. Translating those efficiencies into a smaller boat scenario has proven to be challenging.

Hype vs. Experience

Maine Cat’s Vermeulen, on the company’s website, describes the sea trials he performed in the Maine Cat 45, a power catamaran. He began with a Glacier Bay diesel-electric system with two 25-kW generators, each weighing about 550 pounds.

“With both generators putting out their full power of 25 kW each … our top speed was a disappointing 8.4 knots, and the assumption that electric horsepower was somehow more powerful than conventionally produced horsepower was in serious doubt.”

He replaced the propellers with a pair with less pitch, which allowed the electric motors to reach their full rating of 1,100 rpm, but that only increased the speed to 9.1 knots.

“These are about the same speeds and fuel burns we get on our Maine Cat 41 sailing cat … powered by twin 29-horsepower 3YM30 Yanmar diesels with saildrives and two-bladed, folding propellers.” At the time he installed them, the 25-kW generators were the highest power available from Glacier Bay.

Lagoon’s Nick Harvey

Vermeulen replaced the diesel-electric system with twin 160-horsepower Volvo diesels. At 9.1 knots, they together burned 2.2 gallons per hour, considerably less than the 3 gallons per hour that the Glacier Bay system burned at the same speed. With the twin Volvos maxed out at 3,900 rpm, the boat made 24.5 knots.

Also among the unconvinced is Chris White, well-known designer of ocean-going catamarans. “To date, I’ve not seen any system that makes sense for a cruising boat,” he says, but he might change his mind, “if someone can show me by building one that delivers an advantage in performance, weight, or cost.”

White sees the current bubble of interest in diesel-electric drives as a fad. In the end, he says, you’re getting the horsepower the diesel creates at the crankshaft, which is basically the same whether it’s delivered to the prop via a conventional reduction gearbox or via a generator and an electric motor. Besides, he says, diesel engines and diesel fuel are understood and available anywhere in the world you might take a sailboat. Complex, electronically controlled electric motors are not.

White’s reservations notwithstanding, it’s in the world of catamarans that we’re seeing most of the applications. At first sight, it does seem logical that replacing three diesel engines—two propulsion and one generator—on a fully equipped cruising cat would result in fuel savings. Still, if the generator is big enough to drive the boat at cruising speed (which in a cat is expected to be in the vicinity of 10 knots) and run the air conditioning at the same time, it will be overkill for the times it’s only needed to operate the boat’s services. For this reason, commercial and military diesel-electric systems employ multiple generators that can be switched on and off according to the power demand of the moment.

Corsair Marine hopes that by installing a diesel-electric system in its 50-foot catamaran, it will be able to descend the weight spiral. Where a conventional installation would involve two 75-horsepower saildrives plus a 6-kW genset, it’s fitting a pair of 28-horsepower electric motors, one 25-kW generator, and a 40-amp, 230-volt battery bank. It expects to save about 700 pounds in equipment weight, some of it through the use of high-voltage, low-current systems, which will in turn reduce the rig requirement, thus the structural weight, and so on toward an estimated overall weight savings in the thousands of pounds.

Corsair’s David Renouf estimates that the boat will cruise at 8 knots and be capable of short bursts at 10. He admits that, until the first boat is launched, his information is “based on extrapolation, not proven numbers.” He says that some clients will add a second 25-kW genset to assure longer periods at 10 knots. Currently, the project is running behind schedule, with a launch scheduled before the end of the year.

Cost and Other Benefits

At the present time, there appears to be no reason to install any proprietary electric drive of any description in the expectation of bettering the economics of a standard diesel drive. The motors and their electronic controllers are sophisticated and expensive. A battery bank sufficient to provide a useful motoring range is a big investment in weight, space, and money. When you add a generator and its peripherals, the cost and weight take another upward leap.

Only the simplest system will begin to pay itself off in terms of fuel not burnt, and then only if the boat sees a great deal of use. A diesel-electric system designed to closely dovetail with the way you use the boat may prove to be more efficient over time than a conventional diesel installation, but until enough systems have been installed and used and data from that use compiled and compared, we can’t know that.

So why even consider going electric? Cleanliness and silence of operation are two qualities that make electric propulsion an attractive proposition for a sailboat, but in order to enjoy them, we have to accept the limitations they impose.

A hybrid or a diesel-electric system enables us to have a single fossil-fuel power source for both propulsion and onboard appliances, but whatever fuel we might save as a consequence of motoring more efficiently for a couple of hours will be inconsequential if we run the generator all night to power the air conditioning.


As we go to press, pickings are slim for sailors looking for an electric solution to the diesel problem. Suppliers of components are few, prices are high, and the feedback on long-term reliability is nonexistent. On top of all this is the elephant in the room: the unexplored safety ramifications that accompany high-voltage DC.

However, none of this should deter the dedicated tinkerer who has funds to match his curiosity and who can live within the parameters imposed by electric propulsion.

Practical Sailor encourages our readers to explore the technology, because ultimately, it is the experimenters who bring us the equipment we eventually come to take for granted.

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I have gotten excited about repowering my Freedom 30 with an electric motor. A fellow Freedom 30 owner completed his refit about 8 months ago and is very happy with the result, although he wishes he had gone with larger Lipo batteries. He chose a motor from which sells a 10KW package (quietTorque 10) including motor, performance display, throttle and shaft coupler for $6K. Batteries and charger are extra. The motor does does feature a regen capability. Figure a $10K investment. Big bucks for sure but equivalent to a yard installed diesel repower. I would do the install myself.

I am not a cruiser but have done some lengthy passages from San Francisco to Hawaii. Ideal conditions for regen. I expec between regen and a hundred watts of solar, I could have kept the bank topped up the whole way down despite AP loads, etc. The way back? Not so much. Realistically you would need a small generator and a good stock of gas if you wanted to do much motoring, Having said that, one of the boats that sailed down there with me came home with an outboard as his aux power. I think he had ten gallons of gas.

But I am not planning ocean passages in future, I will be sailing the SF Bay and coastal cruising. When I think about eliminating the engine noise, engine maintenance, fuel tank and tank maintenance, diesel hoses, diesel smell, diesel soot, diesel leaks, r=two boxes of hoses and spares. oil changes, coolant changes, transport and disposal of all the waste to the local recycling facility, lugging fuel jugs down to the boat, storing fuel, filling fuel, buying fuel, worrying about spilling fuel. I mean it just goes on and on.

Frankly, I can’t wait. In terms of range, well, I plan to get a hefty battery bank but I also intend to become a better sailor. I’ll slow down and do more sailing. Gee wiz, what a concept. I’ll be more mindful of time and tide, I’ll take advantage of favorable currents and I’ll be ready to anchor and chill when they are not favorable.

Meanwhile, Elon and his competitors are improving battery technology rapidly. Couple of years from now maybe I double range. But, by then, I won’t be worrying about it because I will be a real sailor.

I look forward to reading an update on the state of electric sailboat propulsion 13 years later…

Most of the time we leave the dock, motor for under half a nautical mile to get out of tiny Wilmette harbor and get the sails up, turn off our much abused Yanmar 3GMF, sail around, turn on the engine, lower the sails, and travel another half a nautical mile back to the dock. Almost all at a very low RPM. But, on occasion we motor or motor sail long distances for hours on end, so a battery only system would not work. But how nice it would be if we had electric propulsion for getting in and out of the harbor.

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Dasher Electric

The future is here. Since 1928, Hinckley has been leading the way in the design of beautiful, highly innovative, and timeless yachts. In 2017, Dasher Concept launched as the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht.

The Dasher story started in 2016 in the wake of a Hinckley-sponsored technology summit to discuss the future of yachting. This gathering of futurists included entrepreneurial leaders, accomplished engineers, and known innovators from all over the world. The final decision to develop a concept boat with Zero-Emmissions, bleeding-edge construction techniques, 3D printing, and an unparalleled operator interface paved the way for advancements across the entire Hinckley product line. Today, All Hinckleys benefit from simplified digital interfaces, infused carbon epoxy construction among other advancements inspired by the Dasher Concept.

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The shape of the future.

Designed from the ground up for fully electric propulsion, Dasher achieves a new standard of excellence with modern styling paired with super lightweight construction. From her carbon-epoxy composite hull, to her hand-painted, lightweight Artisanal Teak, every ounce of weight has been shaved and every curve sculpted.

The sound of silence.

Arriving not with a roar, but with our silent Whisper Drive propulsion system powered by dual BMW i3 lithium ion batteries, the shape of the future is also the sound of silence. The result is a serenity not easily found. Time to reconnect with friends and family, sharing a conversation and enjoying quiet, quality time together. With zero emissions and zero time lost traveling to the pump and back, it’s not what we’ve added to Dasher but what we’ve removed that you’ll love most.

Simple, Innovative, Sophisticated design.

Dasher is the lightest Hinckley Yacht ever created. With a carbon-epoxy composite hull and carbon stringers, Dasher is light and sleek, bringing together performance and propulsion like never before.

BMW i3 Waterproof Lithium Ion Batteries

BMW i3 lithium ion batteries have been designed with a prismatic cell design for efficient cooling and temperature distribution with compact size and superior shock resistance.

Twin 80hp Electric Motors

The shape of the future is also the sound of silence. Quiet propulsion and zero emissions make Dasher the best way to spend time on the water with family and friends. This is the heart of the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht.

Dual 50 Amp Dock Charging

Say goodbye to the tank — and all that comes with it. Dasher accepts dual 50amp charging cables so you can charge twice as fast as the most popular plug-in electric cars. Dasher gains a full charge in under 4 hours with dual 50 amp charging.

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* All performance data, including speeds, fuel consumption and range, is estimated and not guaranteed. Actual performance may vary. Boat performance may be impacted by many factors including, but not limited to, loaded displacement, boat configuration and options, trim, sea conditions, climate, hull bottom, surface condition and mechanical systems condition

Images and media on this page may represent optional equipment or previous specifications. Specifications and equipment are subject to change.

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E-motion is the only supplier of standardized hybrid propulsion systems that fit into the existing engine room of all serial production yachts from 40-250 feet..

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Our hybrid yacht propulsion system is maintenance free. Only the dedicated water cooling pumps require service  

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Reduce environmental exhaust and water pollution  

Drastically reduce your vessels yearly CO2 emissions  

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The e-Motion Parallel Hybrid - Full-Electric Navigation, Winner NMMA Award 2022

The e-Motion Parallel Hybrid - Full-Electric Navigation, Winner NMMA Award 2022

Gale Force Twins used the demo and found out how to troll in Zero-Electric- at the push of a button.

Gale Force Twins used the demo and found out how to troll in Zero-Electric- at the push of a button.

Parallel vs. Serial Hybrid for Yachts - What's the Difference?

Parallel vs. Serial Hybrid for Yachts - What's the Difference?

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The world is going electric.

Interested in the electrification of your yacht download our brochure and get in touch today , “while there have been serial and parallel hybrid systems in boats for years, i have not seen any manufacturer implement a large system with such graceful integration and ease of use for the end-user.”, gary reich - judge of miami 2022 nmma awards.


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Explore the Newest Hybrid Yachts on the Market

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Welcome to an entirely bespoke yacht sales and charter experience, where you are looked after by the most knowledgeable and experienced brokers in the world. We believe in making the process of buying, selling, building, or chartering a yacht completely seamless and easy for our clients. This is yachting with a difference.

Cruising while conserving our oceans

As the largest ecosystem on Earth and the planet’s life support system, the ocean is vital to our survival. Vast, beautiful, and mostly unexplored, the superyacht industry is built upon the splendors of ocean living. With the threat of climate change looming ever closer, the industry is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of protecting these waters. Ocean conservation is becoming a central part of cruising, and what better way to do that than by using a hybrid system on your superyacht?

The advantages and benefits of using an e-Motion hybrid system are ample. Not only does using a hybrid system drastically reduce your vessels annual CO2 emissions, but it also improves the quality of life on board.

By switching between electric batteries and diesel generators, the yacht’s energy distribution can be fully optimized, reducing fuel consumption. For example, fuel consumption is reduced up to 30 percent when in Economy Navigation Mode. At the same time, e-Motion hybrid systems also reduce the environmental exhaust and water pollution emitted by motor yachts. Cleaner and safer waters will help ensure the survival of the oceans while making cruising more enjoyable. Motor yachts become as silent as sailboats while cruising in diesel-electric and zero-emission mode, making it possible to depart to your destination silently without waking any guests.

By switching it to zero-emissions mode, one can swim in the waters behind any motor yacht without fear of noxious fumes and noises from the generators while enjoying the peaceful sounds of the ocean. Once moored, it is also possible to switch off generators and run on battery power in a noise-free environment. Fast battery charging means that each battery reaches a 90% charge in only 35 minutes or less, making them ideal for using when moored. So why not help conserve our oceans while cruising by switching over to a hybrid system?

The eco-friendly superyachts are quite rare on that market. If you are not looking to compromise building a new yacht while incorporating hybrid systems, solar panels and waste management solutions will be the best fit for you.

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There are various options on the brokerage market of production yachts featuring solar panels up to 115′. With brands such as Arcadia, Silent, & Serenity pushing the boundaries in environmentally friendly yachts.

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Diesel Electric Propulsion: Is This A Safer, More Efficient Solution For Your Vessel?

  • June 18, 2017
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Although the idea of powering your vessel with the indirect, two-step diesel electric energy transfer system may appear to be unnecessarily complex, its many advantages can make it a compellingly attractive alternative to a conventional direct mechanical prop-shaft drive. When under way all of the electrical power required by the vessel can be supplied from the diesel electric propulsion system, eliminating the need to run a genset.

A diesel electric power system can drive multiple propellers from a single engine or use multiple engines to power one or more propeller. In a twin-engine/twin-prop system, one engine can power both props when operating within the speed limits imposed in many areas. Electrical power from the vessel’s genset can be used to propel the boat, providing a built-in backup-especially valuable for vessels with single-engine installations.

Conversely, the propulsion system can serve as a backup for the gensets. The use of electric propulsion in certain vessel types is well-known. In marine applications, nearly all the energy is produced by diesel engines. Using an electric propulsion system, where the energy transmission is electrical and the propulsion and thruster are variable speed electrically driven, fuel consumption can be reduced significantly for many vessel types with environmental benefits.

Diesel Electric Systems have been in use to propel vessels for more than 100 years. Branobel launched the first diesel-electric ship in 1903, and since that day, diesel electric propulsion systems have evolved and today they can be found in all boat sizes and applications. But how do you know when to utilize diesel electric technology for your vessel? The investment in Diesel Electric vessels have doubled in the past 4 years, while the construction of purely mechanically propelled vessels have slowed down. But what are the reasons for this growth? Some of the benefits of the Diesel Electric systems are:

Effective design: The ability to locate your generators in any part of the vessel independent of where the power will be used;

Smaller Engine Rooms: Possibility to replace a big slow speed engine with multiple smaller generators;

Reduced Noise and Vibration: No need for long drivelines;

Flexibility: Capability to share the power of one unit with multiple devices (main propeller, bow thrusters, hotel load, pumps, etc);

Redundancy: Generators can be reassigned to cover any machine downtime;

Efficiency: Depending on the application the system can provide better fuel efficiency (mainly if there are requirements for long periods of low speed/load)

Fuel consumption savings calculation: The optimum operation point of a diesel engine will typically be around a load of 85 percent of the Max continuous rating (MCR). Moreover, the efficiency level drops quickly as the load becomes lower than 50 percent of MCR. With the help of the electric system, the mechanical propulsion prime mover is replaced by diesel-electric prime movers that will automatically start and stop as load demand varies. In comparison to a conventional vessel with mechanical propulsion, this enhances the efficiency of the energy usage and reduces the fuel consumption by keeping the average loading of each running diesel engine close to its optimum load point.

However, in some vessel applications, the load variations can be large and rapid. It is impossible to make the generators switch on and off every five seconds as would be the case with DP vessels. By using super-capacitors to supply the load variations, and hence let the diesel engines provide the average load, the peak power of the power plant will be reduced, allowing the average loading of the engines to increase to a more optimal point with lower specific fuel oil consumption. The savings in fuel consumption will depend on many parameters such as actual variations in the load, the average load and the number of prime movers.

In many installations the cost of a single-engine twin-prop diesel electric power system will be no more than a conventional twin-engine direct-mechanical drive installation. Properly integrated into the design of the vessel, the diesel electric drive’s many attributes will likely make it the preferred propulsion system for vessel owners and operators now and in the future.

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Electric boats: A-Z of the 37 best all-electric models

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Electric boats are here and they are quietly turning heads all over the world, we pick out 37 of the most exciting all-electric projects being built right now...

Electric boats are here to stay. What started as a trickle of electric craft over the past few years has turned into a torrent with everyone from Riva to Axopar jumping on the bandwagon.

Hybrid diesel electric boats are by no means a new concept in the marine world, but the latest generation of electric boats, not to mention electric outboard motors , is proving that this technology is no longer something to look forward to in the future, electric boats are a viable option right now.

Here at, we’ve been following the electric boats revolution with intent for over a decade and now there are enough models on the market to make this style of boat a true competitor to conventional diesel and petrol-powered boats.

With a network of fast electric boat chargers already in place along the French Riviera, and plans for many more in marinas all over Europe and the UK, it looks like the electric revolution is now fully under way.

Read on for our round-up of the best electric boats currently in build…

35 of the best electric boats in build right now


Near silent cruising at 5-7 knots is the electric Alfastreet’s forte

Alfastreet 28 Cabin

These Slovenian-built boats are now a common sight on the Thames where their elegant lines, large sociable cockpits and clever lifting hard tops make them ideally suited to lazy days afloat.

Although most of them are available with powerful petrol outboard or sterndrive engines for fast coastal passages, Alfastreet also offers factory-fit electric boat versions of all its models for inland use.

Designed for slow speed displacement cruising , these are built for slipping along silently at 5-6 knots with zero emissions rather than rushing about at speed.

The top-of-the-range Alfastreet 28 Cabin, for example, is powered by twin 10kW motors for a top speed of around 7.5 knots and an estimated cruising range of 50nm at 5 knots from its twin 25kWh batteries.

Alfastreet 28 Cabin specifications

LOA: 28ft 3in (8.61m) Motor: 2 x 10kW Battery: 2 x 25kWh Top speed: 7.5 knots Range: 50nm Price: Approx £150,000 (inc. VAT)

Article continues below…

Electric boats: When will the boating world be ready to ditch the diesel?

Volvo penta d4 hybrid first look: is this the future of boat propulsion.

Ski boats are all about instant-on torque to punch you out of the hole and leap on the plane. New California start-up Arc Boat Company is ensuring its upcoming Arc One ski boat will do just that, courtesy of its honking 350kW electric motor.

In case you’re wondering, that’s the equivalent of 475hp. Or around twice the juice on tap in the highest-capacity Tesla Model S. It also means a top speed of 40mph, and enough amps to keep you skiing or wake-boarding for up to five hours.

The aluminium-hulled 24-footer, with seats for 10, is the first offering from Los Angeles-based Arc, which is being headed-up by Tesla’s former head of manufacturing. He’s expecting the first electric boats to be delivered, with custom trailer included, this summer.

ARC One specifications

LOA: 24ft (7.3m) Motor: 350kW Battery: 200 kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 160nm at 35 knots Starting price: $300,000 / £226,000


The Boesch 750 offers all the style, heritage and performance you could wish for, and an electric motor

Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe

This exclusive Swiss yard has been in business since 1910 building elegant retro sportsboats for lake and sea use.

Unlike Riva , it still builds exclusively in wood using a lightweight mahogany laminate construction that it claims is as strong and easy to maintain as a modern GRP hull.

All its craft use a traditional mid-mounted engine with a straight shaft propeller and rudder steering for maximum reliability and a flat trim angle, making them well suited for use as ski boats.

The current range comprises six models from 20ft to 32ft, however only the models up to 25ft are available as electric boats.

The top-of-the-range electric model, the Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe, has twin 50kW Piktronik motors giving a top speed of 21 knots and a range of 14nm.

Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe specification

LOA: 24ft 7in (7.5m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 2 x 35.6kWh Top speed: 21 knots Range: 14nm @ 20 knots Price: €336,000 (ex. VAT)


The Candela C-8 recently set a world record for electric boat endurance by covering 420nm in 24hrs

Candela C-8

With a claimed range of 50nm at 22 knots, overnight accommodation for two and a more robust deep vee foiling hull , this new Candela C-8 could be the electric boats game-changer we were waiting for.

Whereas the Candela C-7 looked oddly dated for such a high-tech boat, the C-8 has a purity of line to it that is fresh, modern and distinctive. With its vertical bow, slender beam and subtly contoured topsides free of scoops, slats or unnecessary styling lines, it has a pared back simplicity to it that oozes confidence.

It doesn’t need to shout for attention because every pair of eyes will be glued to it the minute it rises onto its foils and flies silently past the assembled onlookers, leaving nothing but a lingering aura of astonishment hanging in the air.

New for 2023, the C-8 will now be available with an uprated 69kWh Polestar 2 Standard battery pack, which considerably improves the range (as the Candela C-8’s recent world record attempt proved), and with the option of a center console deck layout.

Candela C-8 specifications

LOA: 27ft 11in (8.50m) Motor: 45-55kW Candela C-Pod Battery: 44-69kWh Top speed: 24 knots Range: 51nm Price: €290,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full test drive review of the Candela C-8

Electric motors powered by batteries, solar panels and ICE generators allow it to cruise night and day

Cosmopolitan 66

Newcomer Cosmopolitan Yachts is hoping to shake up the market for large electric boats with a striking new 66ft (20.1m) solar-powered catamaran called the Cosmopolitan 66.

An all-aluminium  multihull  design, the Cosmpolitan 66 features a vast amount of interior space thanks to a maximum beam of 35ft (10.67m).

The outside deck spaces are just as generous, with entertainment terraces fore and aft as well as wide side decks and a huge, almost square  flybridge .

Cosmopolitan 66 specifications

LOA: 66ft (20.1m) Motor: 2x 180kW Battery: 450kWh Top speed: 20 knots Range: TBC Price: TBC

Read more about the Cosmopolitan 66


Two-tiered windows provide big views and generous light down below

The new Vripack-designed Delphia 10 is a very versatile yacht. You can spec it with either a diesel engine of up to 110hp or an electric shaft drive from 40 to 80hp.

You can also tailor the layout to your needs with one of three standard arrangements. The Delphia 10 Sedan is a traditional pilothouse model with  walkaround  side decks and a large cockpit settee.

The Lounge model (pictured) uses a fully open design, with plenty of seating and a forward cockpit, securely contained within elevated side decks. And the Lounge Top model uses a large flat hardtop that makes a great platform for boat solar panels .

Delphia 10 specifications

LOA: 32ft 1in (9.78m) Beam: 11ft 5in (3.49m) Engines: Single inboard electric 40-80hp / up to 110hp diesel Top speed: 44 knots Price: £229,950 (inc. VAT)

Watch our full yacht tour of the Delphia 10


Duffy Sun Cruiser 22

You can’t talk about electric boats and not talk about Duffy. Since 1970, more than 14,000 of these surrey-topped, genteel bay and lake cruisers have been sold. In Duffy’s home port of Newport Beach, California, there’s an estimated 3,500 of them running around. It’s simply the world’s best-selling electric boat.

Beautifully-built, with cushy seats for 12, a built-in fridge, and a multitude of cupholders, the top-selling Duffy 22 makes the perfect cocktail-hour cruiser.

Don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry. Top speed is a heady 5.5 knots courtesy of a 48-volt electric motor amped by a bank of 16 six-volt batteries.

One especially cool feature is Duffy’s patented Power Rudder set-up. This integrates the electric motor with the rudder and the four-bladed prop, allowing the whole assembly to rotate almost 90 degrees for easier docking.

Duffy Sun Cruiser 22 specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 1 x 50kW Battery: 16 x 6-volt Top speed: 5.5 knots Range: 40nm at 5.5 knots Starting price: $61,500 / £47,000

Four Winns H2e

Another member of the Beneteau Group vying to build the best electric boats, Four Winns will launch a 22ft model called the H2e in late 2022, which it claims is the first all-electric series production bowrider in the world.

Powered by a 180hp electric outboard motor from Vision Marine that promises a 35-knot top speed, the Four Winns H2e will get its American debut at the 2023 Miami Boat Show before going into full production in the summer.

Twin 700v batteries will be fitted, but there’s no word yet on the price or cruising range, but given Four Winns’ pedigree, you can expect the former to be very competitive indeed.

Four Winns H2e specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 180hp Vision Marine electric outboard Battery: 2x 700v Top speed: 35 knots Range: TBC Starting price: TBC


Frauscher 740 Mirage

The tag line for this Austrian yard is ‘Engineers of Emotion since 1927’, and given the effect its boats tend to have on casual observers, let alone the person sitting behind the helm, we’re inclined to agree.

Simply put, it builds some of the best looking boats on the market, combining rakish proportions with cutting-edge style and exquisite detailing.

Although it builds petrol-powered boats up to 39ft offering searing performance, it also offers most of its smaller craft with the option of silent, emissions-free electric power.

The Frauscher 740 Mirage is a perfect example of this, offering two different electric Torqeedo motors of either 60kW or 110kW. The more powerful of these delivers a top speed of 26 knots and a range of 17-60nm depending on how fast you go.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Frauscher have also teamed up with Porsche for an all-electric version of their 8.5m Fantom model, which is due to launch in 2024 as part of a limit edition 25-boat series.

Frauscher 740 Mirage specification

LOA: 24ft 6in (7.47m) Motor: 1 x 60-110kW Battery: 40-80kWh Top speed: 26 knots Range: 17-60nm @ 26-5 knots Starting price: €216,616 (ex. VAT)

Greenline 40

Slovenian-based Greenline Yachts can lay claim to kickstarting the current trend for electric boats. Way back in 2008 it launched the first affordable diesel electric hybrid boat, a formula it has been refining and improving ever since.

Greenline now offers an extensive range of cruisers from 33ft to 68ft, all of which are available with all-electric as well as hybrid or conventional diesel power.

The mid-range Greenline 40 is a fine example; the all-electric version is powered by twin 50kW motors giving it a top speed of 11 knots and a range of up to 30nm at 7 knots with a small 4kW range extender increasing that to 75nm at 5 knots.

However, if you need more flexibility the Hybrid model is fitted with twin 220hp Volvo D3 diesel engines boosting the speed to 22 knots but still allowing electric-only cruising at 5 knots for up to 20nm.

Greenline 40 specification

LOA: 39ft 4in (11.99m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 2 x 40kWh Top speed: 11 knots Range: 30nm @ 7 knots Price: €445,000 (ex. VAT)

Hermes Speedster E

Inspired by the curvy lines of Porsche’s classic 1950s 356 Speedster, this achingly-gorgeous Hermes Speedster from UK-based Seven Seas Yachts, has been spinning heads since 2017.

The rakish, Greek-built 22-footer typically comes with a 115hp Rotax Biggles-style motor doing the powering. But more recently it’s been offered with an eco-friendly, 100kW electric motor juiced by a 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Flat out it’ll do just over 30 knots. But throttle back to a more leisurely five knots and it’ll glide in stealthy silence for up to nine hours on a charge. Perfect for a trip up the Thames.

And for lovers of retro, it boasts a curvy chrome-framed windscreen, chrome-ringed gauges in a hand-stitched leather dash, bucket front seats in glove-soft marine leather, and chrome air intakes on the rear deck. A nautical piece of art? You bet.

Hermes Speedster E specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 100kW Battery: 1 x 35kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50nm at 5 knots Price: $269,000 / £203,000

Hinckley Dasher

Mention the name Hinckley and you immediately conjure-up an image of gorgeous teak-and-stainless, water-jet-thrusted Picnic Boats. But the legendary New England builder has been looking to the future and investing big in electric power.

Its first offering is the sleek 28-foot, all-electric Dasher that comes complete with a BMW-developed lithium-ion battery pack and twin 80hp Torqeedo Deep Blue motors. The high-tech combo can punch the Dasher to a top speed of 23.5 knots. Ease back to seven knots and it’ll run for over five hours on a charge.

Available as an open-deck, fishing-focused runabout, or classic-style windshielded day boat, the Dasher is a hand-built Hinckley bow to stern.

That said, while the boat still looks like it oozes with mirror-varnished teak and stainless fittings, the teak is actually hand-painted composite, the stainless is 3D-printed titanium. That flag-blue hull? Made of carbon-epoxy composites with carbon stringers.

Hinckley Dasher specifications

LOA: 28ft 6in (6.7m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 40kWh Top speed: 23.5 knots Range: 40 miles at 20 knots Starting price: $545,000 / £412,000


The electric Iguana is capable of three knots on the land and 30 knots at sea

Iguana Foiler

Iguana Yachts has launched the world’s first battery-powered amphibious boat, called the Iguana Foiler. As if that weren’t enough, it also features folding foils and retractable caterpillar tracks.

The all-new 33ft Iguana Foiler is powered by a specially adapted version of Evoy’s new prototype 300hp electric outboard motor fed by a 120kWh lithium-ion battery bank.

To reduce drag and increase range, it rides on a pair of curved surface-piercing foils that fold down from each side and a third T-shaped foil at the rear fitted to a specially extended lower leg of the outboard.

Iguana Foiler specifications

Length: 32.8′ / 10m Beam (min): 10′ / 3.1m Engine: Single 300hp EVOY electric outboard Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50 miles Capacity: 8 people Price: TBC

Read more about the Iguana Foiler


The compact Magonis E-550 is a refreshinghly affordable electric option

Magonis Wave e-550

Spanish newcomer Magonis may not be the prettiest electric boat on the market but it is certainly one of the most affordable, with prices starting from as little €33,485 inc VAT.

Admittedly that only buys you the least powerful displacement-only 4kW version but even the most powerful 30kW model starts at a relatively modest €68,960 and boasts a top speed of 22 knots.

The key to its performance is a lightweight resin-infused hull that weighs just 335kg, which is powered by off-the-shelf electric outboards from Torqeedo and Mag Power.

Despite its diminutive proportions the squared-off bow means it is Category C rated for up to six people. Battery sizes vary from 10kWh to 23kWh according to engine power, giving a range of up to 60nm at 5 knots.

Magonis Wave e-550 specifications

LOA: 18ft 0in (5.50m) Motor: 1 x 4 – 30kW Battery: 1 x 10 – 23kWh Top speed: 22 knots Range: 30nm @ 3 knots Starting price: €33,485


Mantaray M24

What makes this 24ft Mannerfelt-designed runabout particularly interesting is its simplicity. Unlike its main foiling rival, the Candela C-7, the Mantaray M24 requires no complicated electronics to ‘fly’.

Instead it uses the builder’s patented mechanical hydrofoil system, which it has trademarked as Dynamic Wing Technology or DWT.

The technology is said to be the result of ten years’ development work and uses a retractable T-foil in the bow and H-foil amidships that self-stabilise mechanically.

Mantaray M24 specifications

LOA: 24ft 0in (5.50m) Motor: 48kW Battery: 26kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 60nm Starting price: TBC

Read more about the Mantaray M24


The Marian M800 doesn’t make any compromises on style or speed

Marian M800 Spyder

This Austrian yard only manufactures all-electric boats so they can be designed from the ground up to suit the packaging requirements of the battery and motor rather than having to accommodate big petrol or diesel engines too.

The result is a supremely elegant range of retro-inspired sportsboats from 19ft to 26ft, as well as a more prosaic lake cruiser. The latest M800 Spider, launched at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival , is its prettiest boat yet, rivalling the Riva Iseo for sheer style.

With each boat being built to order, you can specify anything from a 10kW electric motor and affordable 200Ah AGM batteries for lake use up to a 150kW motor and 125kWh lithium ion batteries for a top speed 34 knots (waterskiing is also possible) and a range of 30nm at 16 knots.

Marian M800 Spyder specifications

LOA: 25ft 9in (7.90m) Motor: 1 x 10-150kW Battery: 10-125kWh Top speed: 34 knots Range: 30nm @16 knots Starting price: €238,560

Styling is a bold mix of retro design cues and futuristic detailing

Mayla FortyFour

German start-up Mayla Yachts is close to launching the first of its outrageous all-electric performance boats, called the Mayla FortyFour. Based on a Petestep deep-vee hull platform, this ultralight carbon fibre electric boat promises top speeds of over 70 knots.

Twin 800kW dual-core electric motors deliver up to 2,150hp of power to tunnel-mounted surface drives and thanks to the 4,800Nm of torque on tap, the second you apply the throttles, acceleration should be fearsome.

Power comes from either an all-electric 500kWh lithium-ion battery or a smaller 400kWh battery backed up by a 400hp (300kW) diesel generator and fuel tank. This hybrid boat version should give a maximum range of 270nm at 30 knots.

Mayla FortyFour specifications

LOA: 44ft (13.4 m) Beam: 10ft (3.0 m) Displacement: 6,200kgs Water capacity: 200L Power: Twin 400-800kW Battery: 400-500 kWh Li-ion Top speed: 70 knots Cruising range: 70nm (electric) / 270nm (hybrid) Price: TBC

Read more about the Mayla FortyFour

Anyone who has watched America’s Cup boats in action will know foiling does wonders for performance, which is the thinking at Silicon Valley-based and Sergey Brin-backed Navier, which is currently developing one very cool, and very clever, hydro-foiling electric dayboat, the Navier N30.

With its retractable foils and twin 90kW electric motors connected to a 80kWh battery bank, the carbon-hulled Navier can soar four feet above the waves at over 30 knots. Throttle back to 20 and the projected range is over 75 nautical miles, which Navier claims makes this the rangiest 30ft electric boat in the world.

You cake your pick from a Cabin version or open Hardtop, both of which come with a nifty self-docking feature (demonstrated in the video above). Navier says that the 2023 production run has sold out and it is already taking deposits on 2024 boats.

Navier N30 specifications

LOA: 30ft (9.1m) Beam: 8ft 6in (2.6m) Motor: 2 x 90kW Battery: 80kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 75 miles at 20 knots Starting price: From $300,000 / £226,000


Nero 777 Evolution

Designed in Italy and built in Germany, the new Nero 777 looks like a very appealing combination of style and engineering know-how. Due to launch in 2024, it will come with a choice of five Evoy propulsion systems ranging from 60kW all the way up to 300kW.

The latter will offer an impressive top speed in excess of 50 knots, making this one of the fastest electric boats in development. And with a Petestep hull, it should offer a very comfortable ride even at such rapid speeds. Bring the speed back to a leisurely 5 knots and the claimed range shoots up to an impressive 108nm.

Design-wise, the Neto 777 Evolution taps into the current trend for fold-down balconies, which can create a water-level beach club effect – no mean feat on such a compact boat.

Nero 777 Evolution specifications

LOA: 25ft 6in (7.77m) Beam: 8ft 8in (2.63m) Motor: 60-300kW Battery: 40-126kWh Top speed: 50 knots Range: 108nm at 5 knots Starting price: From €287,500


Nimbus 305 Coupe E-Power

Legendary Swedish yard Nimbus is renowned for its thoughtfully designed and sturdily built boats and the 305 Coupe is no exception.

Although originally designed for conventional combustion engines, it has been successfully adapted for electric use with the aid of a Torqeedo Deep Blue electric motor and a pair of 12.8kWh lithium ion batteries.

The recommended cruising speed is a modest 5.7 knots giving a range of 22nm at this speed but this can be almost doubled with the aid of a second optional battery.

Nimbus 305 Coupe E-Power specifications

LOA: 33ft 3in (10.07m) Motor: 1 x 25kW Battery: 1x 40kWh Top speed: 6.5 knots Range: 22nm @ 5.7 knots Starting price: €265,000 (ex. VAT)


One of the most striking elements of the Optima E10 is its hull shape. This stabilised monohull design features a slender central hull flanked by even thinner external ones, creating tunnels underneath.

This design enhances efficiency by reducing drag, allowing the boat to achieve fast displacement speeds of approximately 14 to 15 knots. The external riggers also contribute to the boat’s stability, ensuring a comfortable and smooth ride.

Measuring 10m in length (around 33 ft), the Optima E10 is powered solely by electricity. It does not feature a hybrid drive or combustion engine, thus maximising its efficiency. The boat is equipped with two 63kWh Kriesel batteries and a 40kW electric motor from Rad propulsion, equivalent to approximately 54hp.

Optima E10 specifications

LOA: 36ft 1in / 11m Motor: 40kW Rad Propulsion Batteries: 120kWh Kriesel Top speed: 15 knots Range: 200 nautical miles @ 6 knots Starting price: £400,000

Watch our yacht tour of the Optima E10


Pixii’s aluminium hull and powerful battery should deliver impressive range and performance

Pixii SP800

Although this budding British brand has yet to launch one of its pretty new Pixii SP800 electric sportsboats, the first one is already in build on the Isle of Wight.

Featuring a light but strong aluminium hull with either one or two electric motors linked to a jet drive and what is said to be a class-leading 150kWh battery pack, it has all the ingredients of a formidable contender.

We’ll have to wait to see if it lives up to its maker’s claims of a 40-knot top speed, but if it does, it would make it one of the fastest electric production boats on the market.

It even has the option of a remote anchoring system that lets you jump off onto a beach then drive it out into deeper water before dropping the hook!

Pixii SP800 specifications

LOA: 24ft 6in (7.5m) Motor: 2 x 25kW Battery: 1x 150kWh Top speed: 40 knots Range: 100nm @ 14 knots Starting price: £114,000 (inc. VAT)

Persico Zagato 100.2

Performance boat specialist Persico is set to launch its first all-electric superboat this year, called the Persico Zagato 100.2. Designed in collaboration with iconic automotive design house Zagato, the 26ft stunner is built around a revolutionary new steerable electric waterjet pod from Italian start-up Sealence.

The 100.2 part of the name celebrates Zagato’s second century in business, the new electric boat features a reverse bow, wraparound windshield, aft sunpad, rear bench-sofa and two front pilot seats, plus cuddy space beneath the foredeck.

However, it’s the ultra-efficient electric drivetrain that is likely to cause the biggest stir. The single 205kW  Sealence DeepSpeed  420 steerable azipod is said to give the new boat a top speed of 43 knots and a cruising speed of around 24 knots, at which the range should be almost 50nm.

Persico Zagato 100.2 specifications

LOA: 25ft 11in (7.9m) Motor: 205 kW electric integrated jet pod Battery: 2x 83kWh Top speed: 43.5 knots Range: 47nm @ 24 knots Starting price: TBC

Read more about the Persico Zagato 100.2


Q-Yachts Q30

This Finnish yard was established in 2016 with the idea of developing an elegant electric boat that gave the same swift, silent cruising experience as a high-end sailing boat but without having to worry about sails and crew.

The result is the Q30, a stylish open day boat with striking minimalist looks and a super efficient hull shape that allows it to slip through the water at speeds up to 14 knots, making almost no noise or wake.

It’s powered by a pair of 10kW Torqeedo motors and a relatively meagre 30kWh battery but such is its efficiency that it will cruise for 10 hours at 6 knots or 5 hours at 9 knots.

Q-Yachts Q30 specifications

LOA: 30ft 6in (9.3m) Beam: 7ft 3in (2.2m) Motor: 2 x 10kW Torqeedo Battery: 30-40kWh Top speed: 14 knots Range: 60nm @ 6 knots, 21nm @ 14 knots Starting price: €183,000 (ex. VAT)


Distinctive rebated topsides are a growing trend in small sportsboat design

Rand Source 22

Rand Boats claims its new Rand Source 22 is one of the most affordable electric sportsboats on the market, as well as one of the fastest.

Two electric boat options enable it to cover both these extremes in addition to a range of inboard and outboard petrol and diesel engines of up to 250hp.

When propelled by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue 50 outboard, it will carry a price tag of less than €100,000 but when fitted with Rand’s much more powerful 170kW electric inboard it will be capable of short-burst speeds of up to 50 knots and sustained cruising at 28 knots.

Rand Source 22 specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 170kW Battery: TBC Range: TBC Top speed: 50 knots Starting price: €63,900

Read more about the Rand Source 22


Ripple Boats 10m Day Cruiser

Hailing from Norway and launched at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival, Ripple Boats is a new brand founded by Frydenbø Marine and Pascal Technologies.

They have raised over €4million of funding for their start-up venture and their debut model will be a 10m day cruiser developed by Thorup Design.

Key features from the initial renderings include an extendable hard-top bimini with inset glazing, plus the now ubiquitous folding balconies.

Should this debut model prove successful, Ripple Boats have plans to build a wide range of electric boats from 6-11m.

Ripple Boats 10m Day Cruiser specifications

LOA: 32ft 10in (10m) Beam: 10ft 6in (3.2m) Motor: 2 x 93kW Battery: 190 kWh Range: 45nm Cruising speed: 25 knots Starting price: TBC

Only Riva could produce an electric boat that looks as pretty as this

Riva El-Iseo

As its name suggests the El-Iseo is an all-electric version of Riva’s entry-level sportsboat, the gloriously retro 27 Iseo.

The heart of the El-Iseo is a 250kW Parker GVM310 electric motor that spins a Mercury Bravo Three XR sterndrive leg. The prototype is capable of 40 knots, much the same as it delivers with its usual 300hp petrol or diesel engine options.

However, those who have driven the electric version say it’s the acceleration that really stands out. The quoted range figures are one hour at 25 knots or 10 hours at five knots, meaning a range of 25nm at planing speeds or 50nm in displacement mode.

Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi says that they will not start selling the El-Iseo or commit to a price until they have thoroughly tested the prototype and are certain it will deliver the performance, safety and reliability expected of a Riva.

The production model will be packaged with the latest electronics including a smart management system that reduces speed when the battery runs low and collision-avoidance software. “If it is going to be a Riva, it has to be perfect,” said Galassi.

Riva El-Iseo specifications

LOA:   27ft (8.2m) Motor: 250kW Battery: 150kWh Top speed: 40 knots Range: 50nm Starting price: TBC


RS Pulse 63

RS Sailing is the first British yard to offer a production ready electric planing RIB in the form of the RS Pulse 63 . With a super efficient hull design by Jo Richards, the man behind the hugely successful RS range of sailing dinghies, and styling by superyacht studio Design Unlimited, it looks like a really enticing package.

Power comes from a brand new 40kW RAD propulsion system, that claims to be safer and more efficient than an exposed propeller, linked to a bespoke 46kW Hyperdrive battery pack.

This delivers a top speed of 23 knots and a range of 25-100nm miles depending on speed but can be further increased with the aid of an optional extra 23kWh battery pack.

RS Pulse 63 specifications

LOA: 20ft 8in (6.30m) Motor: 1 x 40kW Battery: 46kW Top speed: 23 knots Range: 25-100nm @ 20-5 knots Starting price: £82,800 (inc. VAT)

Watch our sea trial video of the RS Pulse 63

SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E

As the name suggests, this German yard is renowned for its ultra light, high performance carbon fibre craft and it’s these same properties that make the SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E such a compelling electric craft.

This slender, low draught speed machine weighs less than two tonnes all up, including a powerful 360kW Kreisel electric motor and 120kWh battery. Hardly surprising then that it also holds the record for the world’s fastest production electric boat (under 9m) after scorching to a top speed of 50 knots on an Austrian lake in 2018.

Use the power more sparingly and the yard claims a range of 25nm at 22 knots, while a built in 22kW charger delivers a full recharge in just six hours.

SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E specifications

LOA: 29ft (8.85m) Motor: 1 x 360kW Battery: 120kWh Top speed: 52 knots Range: 25nm @ 22 knots Starting price: €396,460 (ex. VAT)


Silent 28 Speed

Silent Yachts ’ electric-powered Silent 28 Speed grabbed headlines at the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival thanks to a claimed top speed of more than 60 knots and an impressive range of 70nm at 30 knots. The secret to its performance is a foil-assisted hull with unique surface-piercing propellers.

Pushed along by twin 100kW eD-QDrive electric motors hooked up to a 100kWh lithium-ion battery bank topped up by built-in solar panels, it demonstrates that serious performance is no longer the preserve of petrol powered boats. No price has been announced.

Silent 28 Speed specifications

LOA: 28ft (8.6m) Motor: 2 x 100kW Battery: 100kW Top speed: >60 knots Range: 70nm Starting price: TBC

diesel electric yachts


A marriage of gloriously retro styling and cutting-edge foiling technology, this electric foiler was commissioned as a chase-boat toy by the same European owner that took delivery in early 2020 of Spirit Yachts ’ largest and most technologically advanced project to date, the 111ft super-sloop Geist .

She was drawn by Spirit Yachts’ CEO and chief designer Sean McMillan, who admits to taking his principal inspiration from a slightly smaller twice Gold Cup winning hydroplane of mid-1920s America called Baby Bootlegger , which sported a similar near-plumb bow, long varnished foredeck and a two-seat cockpit.

The vessel encompasses a modified electric motor, developed for motorsport, and three integrated foils. The claimed top speed is 30 knots, but the usual fast cruise speed will be in the low 20s, at which the quoted range is 100nm.

This was put to the test on July 17, with the SpiritBARTech35EF setting a new electric boat record for fastest circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight, covering 51m in 1hr 56mins at an average speed just shy of 23 knots.

Spirit 35 Foiler specifications

LOA: 35ft (10.6m) Motor: TBC Battery: TBC Top speed: 28 knots Range: 100nm at 20 knots Price: Available on application

Read more about the SpiritBARTech35EF


Super Air Nautique GS22E

Based on the petrol-powered GS22 wake surf boat, the Super Air Nautique GS22E is packed with the best features available. These include a hydraulic folding wake tower, custom finishes, a configurable cockpit, and a customizable running surface that can change the characteristics from ski boat to wake surf or wakeboard use via a simple touchscreen at the helm. The boat can even be optioned with an electric stern thruster to make docking a doddle.

As well as being virtually silent underway, this electric boat version can offer up to three hours’ use on a single charge. The huge flat torque curve of the electric power plant perfectly suits tow sports use and onboard telemetry constantly monitors and reports the engine’s performance.

The significant $140,000 premium over the petrol powered version means this model will not be for everyone, however the emissions-free GS22E is the first of its kind and potentially the wake surf boat of the future.

Super Air Nautique GS22E specifications

LOA: 22ft / 6.7m Motor: 1 x 220kW Battery: 124kWh Top speed: 37.5 knots Range: 2-3hrs usage Starting price: $312,952


Vita isn’t just a boat-building company, it also hopes to sell off-the-shelf electric drivetrains to other yards. Given the impressive performance and range of its own flagship LION model, this could prove a very smart move.

This elegant 10.5m day boat packs roughly the same amount of battery power as four Tesla 3 models and, thanks to a pair of 150kW electric motors linked to a single Mercury Bravo sterndrive, it goes like one too.

In fact Vita has to limit the amount of torque the motors put out to stop it shredding the gears. Despite this it maxes out at around 35 knots and can cruise for 90 minutes at 22 knots or almost 10 hours at 6-7 knots.

Vita LION specifications

LOA: 32ft 9in (10.5m) Motor: 2 x 150kW Battery: 235kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 33-70nm @ 22-7 knots Starting price: £750,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full sea trial review of the Vita LION


Voltari 260

Typically, the brand new Voltari 260 electric boat is all about going fast. With its high-torque 740hp electric motor juiced by a 142kWh bank of lithium-ion Evereadys, it can slice and dice the waves at an impressive 52 knots.

But when there’s a world record to be broken, it’s worth a compromise or two. So, to claim the gong for covering the longest overseas distance in an electric “vehicle” on a single charge, the Voltari streaked along at a heady… 4.3 knots.

That meant covering the 91-miles between Key Largo, Florida, across the often-boisterous Gulf Stream, to Bimini in the Bahamas in what must have seemed an endless 20 hours. But it got the job done, and on a single charge.

Voltari 260 specifications

LOA: 28ft 11in (8.6m) Motor: 551kW Batteries: 142kWh Top speed: 52 knots Range: 91 miles @ 4 knots Starting price: $450,000

Read more about the Voltari 260


The big claim for the new X Shore 1 is that it’s the first all-electric 30-knot sportsboat to be priced at under €100,000 ex taxes, making it the cheapest electric planing runabout in Europe.

With an LOA of 21ft 4in (6.5m), it is around 5ft shorter than the original X-Shore Eelex 8000 and €150,000 cheaper. It is powered by a 125kW electric motor with a single 63kWh Kreisel battery (the Eelex has a 225kW motor and two 63kWh batteries) but thanks to the 1’s smaller, lighter hull it boasts the same top speed of 30 knots and a similar range of 20nm at 20 knots or 50nm at 6 knots (the Eelex can do 100nm at low speed).

The X-Shore 1 is available either as an open boat with a half height windscreen or a semi-enclosed Top version with the aid of an extended windscreen, a small hard top and canopies protecting the helm. Unlike the walkaround Eelex, it also has an enclosed foredeck with a cuddy underneath for overnighting.

X Shore has also started branching out into the realm of commercial boats. Based on the Eelex 8000 platform, the first X Shore Pro is being used for school transportation in the Swedish archipelago.

X-Shore 1 specifications

LOA: 21ft 4in (6.5m) Motor: 125kW Battery: 63kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50nm @ 6 knots Starting price: <€100,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full video tour of the X-Shore 1


ZIN’s waif-like sportsboat has a claimed range of 100nm at 13 knots

Seattle-based start-up Zin Electric Boats claims an astonishing range of up to 100nm for its pretty little Z2R sportsboats. Its secret is a super-lightweight all-carbon fibre hull that allows it to plane efficiently at just 13 knots.

As with many of these boats it is powered by Torqeedo’s 55kW electric motor linked to the same company’s 45kWh battery adapted from the BMW i3 electric car.

The first prototype reached a faintly terrifying 48 knots flat out but the production version is being limited to 30 knots to extend the range. Acceleration should still be lightning quick though thanks to the motor’s impressive torque.

Zin Z2R specifications

LOA: 20ft 0in (6.1m) Motor: 55kW Torqeedo Battery: 40kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range : 100nm @13 knots Price: $250,000 (ex. VAT)


Zodiac 450 e-jet

French RIB specialist Zodiac is developing an entire range of small, affordable electric RIBs in conjunction with Torqeedo, but in the meantime it has already started building a state-of-the-art electric jet-RIB, predominantly for use as a superyacht tender.

Powered by a 50kW Torqeedo Deep Blue motor with a 40kWh battery from the BMW i3 car driving a low drag water jet, it can reach a max speed of 30 knots.

It also boasts a useful 90 minutes of cruising time at 24 knots, equating to a range of 36nm. High quality Neoprene tubes, retractable seating and hand-sewn quilted seats help justify its price and intended target market.

The new 3.1m and 3.4m eOpen range won’t be quite as quick but will have a range of around 10nm at 12 knots, and with prices from €25,200, they’re more affordable.

Zodiac 450 e-jet specifications

LOA: 14ft 9in (4.5m) Motor: 50kW Torqeedo Battery 40kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 36nm @ 24 knots Price: €140,800 (ex. VAT)

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diesel electric yachts

VESSEL REVIEW | Sinichka – Electric commuter boats designed for Russia’s Moskva River

diesel electric yachts

A series of three new electric monohull commuter ferries have already begun operational sailings on the Moskva River in the Russian capital Moscow.

Built by Russian shipyard Emperium, sister vessels Sinichka , Filka , and Presnya – all named after rivers in Moscow – are being operated by the Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development (Moscow Deptrans). They are the first units of a planned fleet of 20 vessels that will serve the capital city and other nearby communities. The new ferry system will be the water transport system to be operated on the Moskva River in 16 years.

Each vessel has a welded aluminium hull, an LOA of 21 metres, a beam of 6.2 metres, a draught of only 1.4 metres, a displacement of 40 tonnes, and capacity for 80 passengers plus two crewmembers. Seating is available for 42 passengers on each ferry, and the main cabins are also fitted with USB charging ports, wifi connectivity, tables, toilets, and space for bicycles and scooters. The cabin layout can be rearranged to allow the operator to adjust the distances between the seats and to install armrests of varying widths.

diesel electric yachts

An open upper deck is also accessible to passengers and is the only area on each ferry where smoking is allowed.

The ferries are all of modular construction with each ferry’s wheelhouse, main cabin, and other structural elements being built as complete, separate components. This enables the ferries to be easily dismantled for transport to anywhere in Russia by rail and then quickly re-assembled within seven days.

The ferries are also ice-capable. Recently completed operational trials on the Moskva showed that the vessels can also easily navigate under mild winter conditions with broken surface ice, though year-round operations are planned for the entire fleet.

The ferries are each fitted with 500kWh lithium iron phosphate battery packs that supply power to two 134kW motors. This configuration can deliver a maximum speed of 11.8 knots, a cruising speed of just under 10 knots, and a range of 150 kilometres.

Emperium said the transfer of rotation of electric motors to the propeller is carried out by direct drive. As a propulsion installation, a pulling rotary propeller-steering column with double screws is used. The installation of double pulling screws, with similar power, allows an operator to increase the efficiency of the propulsion system to deliver a slightly higher speed or to reduce energy consumption. This arrangement also provides the ferries with enhanced manoeuvrability necessary for navigating in close quarters.

The batteries themselves have projected service lives of 10 to 12 years and are fitted with safety features such as built-in fire extinguishers and gas vents. Quick-disconnect features allow the batteries to be easily removed for replacement or maintenance.

Some of our readers have expressed disquiet at our publication of reviews and articles describing new vessels from Russia. We at Baird Maritime can understand and sympathise with those views. However, despite the behaviour of the country’s leaders, we believe that the maritime world needs to learn of the latest developments in vessel design and construction there.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Related Posts

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Béria L. Rodríguez

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Tags: Emperium Filka Moscow Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development Moskva River Presnya Russia Sinichka WBW newbuild

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Check out Moscow’s NEW electric river trams (PHOTOS)

diesel electric yachts

Water transportation has become another sector for the eco-friendly improvements the Moscow government is implementing. And it means business. On July 15, 2021, on the dock of Moscow’s ‘Zaryadye’ park, mayor Sergey Sobyanin was shown the first model of the upcoming river cruise boat.

diesel electric yachts

The model of the electrical boat with panoramic windows measures 22 meters in length. The river tram - as Muscovites call them - has a passenger capacity of 42, including two disabled seats. The trams will also get cutting edge info panels, USB docking stations, Wi-Fi, spaces for scooters and bicycles, as well as chairs and desks for working on the go. The boats will be available all year round, according to ‘Mosgortrans’, the regional transport agency. 

diesel electric yachts

Passengers will be able to pay with their ‘Troika’ public transport card, credit cards or bank cards. 

The main clientele targeted are people living in Moscow’s river districts - the upcoming trams will shorten their travel time in comparison to buses and other transportation by five times, Mosgortrans stated. 

diesel electric yachts

As the river trams are being rolled out, Moscow docks will also see mini-stations, some of which will also be outfitted with charging docks for speed-charging the boats.  

diesel electric yachts

Moscow is set to announce the start of the tender for construction and supply in September 2021. The first trams are scheduled to launch in June 2022 on two routes - from Kievskaya Station, through Moscow City, into Fili; and from ZIL to Pechatniki. 

diesel electric yachts

“Two full-scale routes will be created in 2022-2023, serviced by 20 river trams and a number of river stations. We’ll continue to develop them further if they prove to be popular with the citizens,” the Moscow mayor said .

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Moscow's 1,000th Electric Bus Hits The Streets

No more new diesels and 600 more bevs coming in 2022, towards a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2030..

Moscow's 1,000th Electric Bus

We recently just saw the 900th electric bus in Moscow , but as it turns out, the Russian capital has just reached the milestone of 1,000 units!

Mosgortrans , the company that runs the bus and tram network in Moscow, announced that vehicle number 1,000, with green elements, has hit the streets.

"the design of the 1000th electric bus is special, in eco-style: the electric bus cabin is decorated with posters with the facts about electric buses and their impact on the eco-system."

It has taken about three years since the first battery-electric vehicles was introduced there in 2018 and now, they are entering the fourth winter "without interruptions."

Over that period, battery-electric buses transported over 150 million people, covered more than 60 million km (37 million miles) on 66 bus routes, and reduced the amount of emissions by 600 thousand tons, according to the company. There are currently more than 168 charging "structures" in the city (overhead fast charging points, as we understand).

Moscow's 1,000th Electric Bus

Moscow is no longer buying regular diesel buses and plans to buy an additional 600 battery-electric ones in 2022 for a total of 1,600.

The target for the end of 2023 is more than 2,200 electric buses, which means an additional purchase of over 600 units. At this point, nearly 40% of the bus fleet should be electric. The fast chafast-chargingructure will expand to a total of up to 500 individual stalls.

By 2030, all buses will be battery-electric, or at least zero-emission , because there is also a project to develop a hydrogen bus model by Kamaz and RUSNANO.

According to the press statement by Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport, the electric buses are convenient and reliable - ready for service in a wide range of temperatures from -40°C to +40°C.

"Russian electric buses are very convenient and reliable. Each electric bus carries about 85 people. This transport is also convenient for passengers with disabilities: electric buses are provided with a low-floor, ramps, and accumulation areas.  Besides, electric buses are equipped with gadget chargers on the handrails, climate control systems and media screens. Moreover, they perfectly deal with temperature extremes. For the fourth consecutive winter season, the innovative transport has been operating without any interruptions. The temperature range of its work is from -40 to +40 degrees Celsius. Batteries are equipped with a temperature control system to prevent vehicles from overheating in summer and freezing in winter."

As far as we know, Moscow buses are powered by lithium titanate batteries (LTO), which provide relatively short range (the energy density is significantly below LFP), but can be fast-charged very quickly at the ends of the route and are ready for very low temperatures, as well as offer long longevity.

A few videos about electric buses in Moscow:

byd delivered 150 more electric buses chile

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