Other than ‘looks like a lot of fun’, we ‘re not sure exactly how to describe it…but ‘electric hydrofoiling catamaran sea bike’ seems as good a name as any for the Neocean L’Overboat, which has been awarded Solar Impulse Foundation certification and just took home the Grand Prize in the Inn’Ovations 20201 competition for businesses in the Occitanie region of France.
The Overboat first came to the attention of Plugboats in November of 2019 and shortly thereafter it won the 2019 jury favourite award – Coupe de Couer du Jury – from the Association Française Pour le Bateau Electrique (Electric Boat Association of France)
The creator of L’Overboat, oceanographer Vincent Dufour, said at the time that he had included prominent industrial partners in the watercraft’s development team so that the transition to production mode could be as quick and efficient as possible. Overall development was made possible in large part due to the support of the University of Montpellier and many of its laboratories.
The arrival of COVID made the route to production more difficult, but the team persevered and had not one but two models ready for sale by mid-September of 2020: the Overboat Foiler, which has been the focus of the awards for innovation and technology, and a ‘non-flying’ version without the retractable hydrofoils.
They are both 3.1 metres long (10ft) and 1.35m wide (4′ 5″) outer pontoon edge to edge and weigh only 100kg. For the flying version in particular weight is obviously a crucial factor and one of the key members of M. Dufour’s design and consulting team has been the SCC Shipyard, experienced in both general composites and foiling wings.
As you can see from the video, the overall design of the Overboat – done in consultation with Yacht Design Collective and JB Epron – is not only ingenious, but practical. To get going, the pilot slides the batteries into a compartment in the cockpit, the hydrofoil wings are manually set into the water and everything is ready to go. The foils can be retracted for navigating shallow water.
In terms of technical specifications, the batteries are 48V with 70Ah capacity (3.36 kWh) and the motor is a 4.5kW model which means that in most jurisdictions no boating license is required. Top speed is 15 knots (27km/h / 17 mph) and the ‘electric hydrofoiling catamaran sea bike’ lifts out of the water at 7.5 knots. You can cruise along for 2 hours at a pretty zippy 11 knots (20km/h / 12mph).
Certified as a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution
The Efficient Solution program was initiated by Bertrand Piccard, co-pilot of the Solar Impulse solar plane which flew around the world in 2017, to evaluate products that purport to be environmentally beneficial and provide the public with an assurance of their claims.
The evaluation for certification is rigorous, based on a verified methodology and against several criteria performed by panels of external independent experts collaborating with renowned institutions. It is quite an honour to be approved.
The certification for the Overboat notes that it feature:
- Low energy consumption compared to speed
- 90% of CO2 emissions compared to the mainstream alternative
- 20% of energy used compared to the mainstream alternative
- 50% in resources used compared to the mainstream alternative
- Better human health due to lower gaz emission
Electric marine propulsion is well represented in the portfolio of Solar Impulse Solutions (the goal is to have 1,000 certified products). Other e-boat products are:
SeaZen boat club in France
City Boats Lisbon
Grove Boats of Switzerland and the
Navalt company of India for its Aditya solar ferry – which was also one of the winners of the Gustave Trouvé Awards for Electric Boats and Boating
Grand Prix for electric hydrofoiling catamaran
The latest award collected by L’Overboat also comes with a significant cash prize. Montpellier University, the Neocean headquarters and many members of the research and design team are located in the Occitanie region of France. Each year the AD’OCC regional development agency presents its Inn’Ovations awards to exceptional local companies.
Nine juries made up of 100 regional experts select the winners in 7 categories as well as the Grand Prize. This year, the 40th anniversary of the presentation, there were 227 entries and Overboat not only received the prize for “Intelligent & Sustainable mobility” and its award of €5,000, but also the overall Grand Prix, which is accompanied by another €30,000 to speed the company’s elevation to the next stages of success.
Congratulations to Vincent Dufour and the entire Neocean team. Not content to sit on their laurels – they are now working on 2 person versions of both the Classic and Foiler versions of their multi-award winning ‘electric hydrofoiling catamaran sea bike‘ Technology and innovation never looked like so much fun!