Just a month and a bit after its maiden flight, the Candela C-8 electric speedboat is taking off in every way with record breaking sales, a new US test drive centre and an outing as the first electric hydrofoil chase boat in the Sail GP racing tour.
Maiden flight: February 16, 2022: Stockholm
Gliding through the cold waters outside the Swedish tech company’s headquarters at Lidingö, Stockholm, the Candela C-8 prototype P-01 looked like any other (very handsome) boat…until she reached a speed of 16 knots, when she started rising gracefully on her foils – taking off and flying noiselessly above the water at a cruise speed of 20 knots.
This first flight marked a huge moment in three ways. First of all for the talented and dedicated Candela team, secondly for the future of the electric boat industry and thirdly as a marker for the powerboat industry in general.
As Candela Founder and CEO Gustave Hasselskog says, “The C-8 is not only designed to be the best electric boat, it is designed to be a far better experience than conventional powerboats. I hope we can drive the transition to emission-free boating at a very fast pace.”
It was 7 years ago that Hasselskog started out on this mission and began building a team of engineers – now 80 strong – of experts in hydrodynamics, software, advanced computer simulations, mechatronics and electric propulsions systems to make his dreams a reality.
In 2019 they unveiled their first electric hydrofoiling boat, the Candela C-7. It was a head turning demonstration of the company’s amazing combination of an electric motor, ultra light carbon fibre hull and a software/hardware system that analyzes the boat’s flight and adjusts its foiling wings hundreds of times per second.
What the hydrofoiling does is take away the resistance of the hull moving through water. For an electric boat this means higher speeds and longer range from the battery – and the hydrofoiling software means a very smooth and responsive ride and hull.
There was necessarily a large amount of customization required for an entirely new type of boat like the C-7, so they took that learning and applied it to the manufacturing process needed for mass production of a leisure craft: the Candela C-8.
Now the goal was to make a larger boat – which the market is looking for – and be able to offer it at a price in line with similarly sized premium fossil-fuel boats with conventional hulls.
A game-changer was the development of their own electric motor – the Candela C-Pod – designed specifically for the new boat. The engineers put two electric motors in a torpedo-shaped pod under the water, operating with contra-rotating propellers to bore through the water with low turbulence and further increase overall efficiency.
Over the course of 16 months the Candela team tested and refined every aspect of the C-8 hull, hydrofoils and electronics. All in all, there have been more than 10,000 hours of simulations, design iterations, and sea trials of the Candela systems.
The result is a truly revolutionary vessel that flies above the water, using its computer-controlled hydrofoils to reduce energy consumption by 80% compared to traditional powerboats, reduce wave slamming by 90% compared to conventional hulls and cruise for more than two and a half hours at 20 knots.
“The C-8 not only has a longer range than other electric boats, it also offers a better ride experience than any boat out there” says Candela Communications Manager Mikael Mahlberg. “In a 3 or 4 foot chop, you’re able to drive at 30 knots without feeling the waves. It’s like a magic carpet ride.”
60 orders for the Candela C-8 after only five weeks!
During the time between the announcement of the Candela C-8 and it maiden flight in February there was a lot of buzz and enthusiasm building up with the boat buying public. It seems their excitement was justified.
After only five weeks, Candela racked up more than 60 orders for the C-8 and has now signed over 100.
For some context, the C-7 was a sales success in its own right and last year led premium electric boat sales in Europe, with 30 units delivered since 2019. Those are premium electric boats. The sales of the Candela C-8 are up there with all boats.
Mahlbeg says the company’s data shows “the C-8 is the second or third fastest-selling powerboat in the 28-foot category in Scandinavia. Not just electric boats, but any type of power source. By year’s end, we expect to have a real impact on combustion engine boat sales in this size category.”
With all of its technology, wings, carbon fibre hull, C-Pod motor and lithium ion battery pack, the Candela C-8 starts at €290,000 / 318,000 USD and achieves the company’s goal of being priced in line with premium fossil-fuel boats.
There are lots of reasons boat purchasers would want to opt for the Candela. Fuel, for one. The battery pack on an electric boat means that the owner is in effect purchasing the vast majority of fuel upfront instead of at a marina on a continuing basis. While it is true that fossil fuel prices are particularly volatile right now because of the Ukraine situation, no one is expecting the price of gasoline/petrol to go down in the next few years.
Then there is the efficiency – immediate and long term – of the C-Pod motor. An electric motor has less than 1/10 the moving parts of an ICE unit to begin with, and the direct-drive design of the Candela eliminates gearing and further reduces that number. There is very little regular maintenance, and the company estimates 3,000 hours between overhauls – more than a human lifetime. Try that with a gas burner.
The new Candela C-8 owners are undoubtedly taking environmental benefits into consideration, but also their own driving and relaxing pleasure: no fumes, no engine noises to scream over, and the big bonus of the smooth, flying sensation of that hydrofoiling ‘magic carpet’.
The Candela C-8 is also fully integrated, meaning that the driver isn’t distracted by the usual panel of myriad buttons and knobs in conventional boats. All of the boat’s features, from foil retraction to route planning, are managed by a single intuitive touch screen. There is also a Candela app to manage and monitor charging, route planning and heating.
April 1 – Take a test drive in first US centre
Until now, the main focus for Candela has been the European market, with test drive centres in Stockholm, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Italy. On April 1 the company’s first US test drive centre will open – Candela San Francisco at 1709 Brideway, Suite 105B, Sausalito, CA 94965.
Tanguy de Lamotte, CEO of Candela US is excited about the reception for the boat stateside. “Once people try a Candela, they find it very hard to go back to conventional boating.” he says. “This is a vastly better boat than today’s conventional powerboats, hands down – combustion engine or electric. No slamming, no noise, no fumes and very little maintenance. It basically takes away all the bad things with powerboats.”
Working with the F50s of the France SailGP Team
As a lead up to the opening of the Sausalito office, Candela became the first electric hydrofoil chase boat in the SailGP racing circuit, with a C-7 debuting at the Mubadala United States Sail Grand Prix held in San Francisco March 26-27.
The SailGP is the F-1 of high speed sailing races, with 50-foot foiling catamarans flying over the water at speeds up to 60 mph. Candela was the chase boat for the French Team. “The SailGP athletes are the best sailors on the planet, so being able to fly alongside Team France in this epic location is an honor” said Lamotte.
“We are delighted about this collaboration with Candela. It’s the best way to give our guests, VIPs and media an experience that is the closest to what our sailors live on board an F50: sailing at 30 knots on a boat that flies on the water,” said Bruno Dubois, Team Manager of France SailGP Team.
Candela can also contribute to France’s standing in the circuit’s Impact League, which tracks and rewards the positive actions teams take to reduce their overall carbon footprint and accelerate inclusivity in sailing.
The first Candela C-8s for customers will be flying over the water this summer. You can find out more about ordering and available options on the Candela website.