A motorboat that flies over the water glides away at a speed of 22 knots in silence, without producing a wake or a wave motion (the most annoying effect when crossing a motorboat at sea) or emissions with an unpleasant smell of fuel burned. The Candela C 7 carbon motorboat, 100% electric, produced by the Swedish company Abc Boats, took numerous guests of the last edition of the Cernobbio Forum to take a short trip on the waters of Lake Como. The boat that flies had its debut at the Venice boat show last year; this year it presents itself with its new strategic partner with whom it intends to support the development of nautical electric mobility in the country: it is the new e-mobility company EnelXWay, which just recently has installed a charging station right on the pier of docking at Villa d’Este.
A wing system lifts the hull forward and aft
The targets set by the European Commission for the energy transition also affect the nautical sector, which is preparing for major changes. The boat developed by Abc Boats represents a revolution because it has managed to overcome the limits of electric propulsion boats, that is the difficulty of traveling at high speeds and having an autonomy equal to combustion boats. Technological innovation has played a decisive role, allowing the development of “foils”, ie wings attached to the hull, which allow the total lifting of the hull both forward and aft, halving the friction compared to a traditional boat and reducing energy consumption by 75 percent.
For 50 miles, a refill costs 20 euros against 130 euros for fuel
The aspect that will end up most intriguing future users, both individual users and municipal administrations, are the savings related to the use of electric boats: Candela C 7 has a range of 50 nautical miles and a 40 kilowatt hour battery with a cost of recharging at EnelXWay infrastructures of 20 euros; an internal combustion engine can cover the same journey with 70 liters of fuel which is equivalent to an expense of 130 euros. So the savings are 110 euros. Of course there remains the barrier to entry of the price of the boat, which today is around 250-290 thousand euros.
The experimentation to reduce the wave motion in Venice
Abc Boats is experimenting with the introduction of these boats along the canals of Venice, especially to replace motorized taxi boats with electric powered boats. The lack of emissions, the silence, the fuel savings but above all the lack of a wake and a wave are the factors that make this alternative very interesting. In particular, reducing the phenomenon of wave motion represents a deeply felt need, because most of the buildings in the city have suffered damage and erosion due to water hitting the surfaces and facades. The partnership with EnelXWay has been extended to other national realities. The company of the Enel group, for example, has installed two charging infrastructures in the port of Portofino in addition to those on Lake Como, in Cernobbio. Enel X Way in collaboration with the municipality of Portofino has launched a recharging project for electric pleasure boats at the tourist port. The initiative provides for the temporary installation (until the end of November) of an infrastructure for charging electric boats that land at the port.
EU targets: 1% of electric boats in French ports, fuels banned in the fjords from 2026
As mentioned, the targets for decarbonisation are also foreseen in the nautical sector. In Europe, France has banned boats with internal combustion engines on lakes and rivers. In French ports with more than 100 berths from 1 January 2022 it is mandatory to allocate 1% to electric boats. In Norway, navigation within the fjords from 2026 will only be allowed to boats with electric motors. In Italy, however, there is currently no legislation. In this context, collaboration between shipowners, component manufacturers and suppliers of energy storage systems is increasing. Due to this scenario, most ship operators are retrofitting their ships with hybrid propulsion and electric propulsion systems. The demand for fully electric and hybrid ships is high in the regions of North America and Europe, in particular, the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Australia and New Zealand.
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