Is 2023 the year electric hydrofoils find footing in the recreational mainstream?
The boating industry loves to speculate on upcoming trends each year, but it’s all talk until these innovations burst into the public eye and play out in real-time. In 2023, the technology of electric hydrofoil boats may have finally caught up to the appeal. The crafts that look like they belong in a James Bond escape are here, and now have the blend of power and range to compete with gas motors on an elevated scale.
Just a few weeks into the new year, here are a few recent indicators that electric hydrofoils are ready to have a permanent place in the mainstream consciousness.
The leading electric recreational hydrofoil makers battled at the CES tech show for zero-emission supremacy
The Navier 30 electric hydrofoil. Photo credit: Navier
The CES isn’t explicitly a boat show – it is a tech innovation weekend that considers itself “the most influential tech event in the world”. The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) showcases manufacturers, suppliers, and developers at the forefront of their industries, from fitness to robotics to boating.
Candela, Navier, and Brunswick Corporation – three of the most prominent producers of electric hydrofoil technology – showed up to battle it out. Swedish powerhouse Candela revealed a 28-foot electric speedboat that rockets at 20 knots for a range of over two hours. Navier countered by bringing its 30-foot Navier 30 model to display. According to Navier CEO Sampriti Bhattacharyya, the N30 has a 75 nautical mile range, a $375,000 price tag, and they manufactured an initial run of just 15 (all 15 are already sold out). This doesn’t sound like a recipe for casual electric recreational boaters, but Sampriti spoke to the future of electric hydrofoils in the same conversation with the Associated Press:
The big picture is the N30 is really a technology platform, where we are perfecting our hydrofoil control and parts of our autonomy technology. Then you’ll be seeing much more scalable options, even for recreational boaters.
The Brunswick Corporation, which owns more than 60 consumer marine brands, revealed its Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor at the show, which is manufactured by Mercury Marine. Supporting the idea that this is the year of the electric hydrofoil push, Brunswick divulged that the Avator 7.5e is the first motor in a series of electric motorboat models they will debut in 2023. They also displayed the Mercury Avator 20e and Avator 35e outboard motor concepts, which are planned for later in 2023. Besides the outboard motor, Brunswick unveiled an entirely new brand called Veer, which is a line of boats designed to incorporate the power of the Avator series electric outboard motors.
Artemis releases flying electric foil workboat, prepares to debut high-speed ferry
The Artemis Technologies EF-24 passenger ferry. Photo credit: Artemis Technologies
The same week in January that the CES was unveiling new electric hydrofoil technologies, Artemis Technologies put the first ever 100% electric hydrofoil commercial vessel into circulation with the showcase of the EF-12 high-speed workboat.
Artemis Technologies is a leading developer and manufacturer of green maritime technologies. The EF-12 workboat marks a significant leap – or you could say hover – towards the normalization of electric foil systems in commercial shipping. The boat is just over 41 feet (12.5m) with a top speed of 34 knots and it can cruise at 25 knots for 60 nautical miles. The EF-12’s composition is lightweight glass and carbon fiber, and its high-power density electric drivetrain allows it to glide overtop the water without creating any wake. It carries two crew and six passengers and has an impressive charge time of less than one hour.
Like Brunswick and other leading producers of green maritime tech, Artemis appears prepared to initiate a staggered release over the next two years of its groundbreaking electric propulsion models. The EF-12 workboat is now available on its website for order and delivery in 2023, and Artemis revealed in September of 2022 that it will debut the EF-24 passenger ferry in 2024 and carry passengers on a route between Belfast and Bangor.
The EF-24 has a truly futuristic look and is advancing public transport with a vessel that carries 150 passengers while cruising for 115 nautical miles at a lean cruise speed of 25 knots. The ferry even has storage space to carry 18 bicycles.
Candela reveals the C-8 partnership with Polestar and scales up production for 2023
The Candela C-8 Daycruiser model. Photo credit: Candela
Swedish electric boat manufacturer Candela is at the forefront of this electric boat arms race to produce the most efficient hydrofoil with the longest range. They announced in August of 2022 that they were partnering with electric car maker Polestar to manufacture batteries for the C-8 model. In the third week of January 2023, this partnership came to fruition, as Polestar put out a press release saying that starting January 17th, all Candela C-8 models will be equipped with Polestar batteries. The C-8 model battery will be Polestar’s 69 kWh battery pack, the same battery used in Polestar’s Standard Range Single Motor electric cars. Polestar states that:
Candela expects range of up to 57 nautical miles on one charge at a cruising speed of 22 knots, comparing favourably with internal combustion engine powerboats, and with a high-speed range 2-3 times longer than conventional electric speedboats.
This news is the tangible result of Candela’s cash boost from February 2022, when it was reported that Candela had received $27 million from investors to triple its research and development and scale up production. AP News reported that part of what Candela is doing with this money is to evolve a team of 60 employees a little over a year ago into 400 employees by the end of 2023.
All of this kinetic movement to escalate production and the Polestar partnership show that Candela is moving aggressively like the other leading electric hydrofoil creators: they’re ready to storm the market now.
Is the casual recreational boater ready for electric hydrofoil ownership?
The answer here is…well, no.
As much as all this evidence shows that the push for green boating solutions is happening now, even the boater with a healthy reservoir of disposable income is going to look at these price points and say:
“Not just yet.”
The models discussed above are rocking price tags close to $400,000, and most of the top electric hydrofoil boats being produced right now are at a floor of $195,000 to the higher end at $1.5 million.
The main takeaway, however, isn’t that these aren’t affordable for everyone yet. It’s that electric hydrofoils now have the power, range, and charging technology to make an escalated push to turn the market towards green propulsion.
The technology has caught up to the concept and it’s happening in 2023.
Article by Hammer and Nail Marketing
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