In a partnership bringing together two of Sweden’s e-mobility pioneers, the hydrofoiling Candela e-boats will now incorporate batteries and charging systems supplied by electric car maker Polestar. The deal is intended to help Candela scale up production swiftly, and hasten the move to mass-market electric boat adoption.
As EVs gain wider acceptance in land transport, there is a fundamental shift in the way a drive train is put together. Previously, the fuel for a car or boat was always something that needed to come from a third party. Now the energy source is an integral and inseparable part of the entire motor system, and the synergies between EV and e-boat manufacturers are stronger than ever.
“Drive the transition to cleaner oceans and lakes”
The Polestar corporate mission statement reads “We aim to improve the society we live in by accelerating the change to sustainable mobility.” while Candela’s purpose is to “Speed up the transition to fossil fuel-free lakes and oceans.” Seems like a good fit 🙂
CEO Thomas Ingenlath says “Partnering with Candela is an important part of helping fulfill our mission, driving the transition to cleaner oceans and lakes, and electrifying waterborne transport.”
For Candela the deal allows them to quickly and economically scale up production by tapping into Polestar’s state-of-the art battery technology. It also gets the advantage of the engineering synergies and significant economies of scale Polestar itself enjoys through its relationship with founders Volvo Cars and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Gustav Hasselskog, CEO and Founder of Candela, says “Thanks to the partnership with Polestar, we’re able to bring the automotive industry’s scale of production and world class engineering to the marine sector.”
Battery packs for range of Candela e-boats
The announcement of the partnership includes a look at the type of battery pack that will power the Candela e-boats. It follows the EV company’s concept of holistic design that considers how the battery’s weight, dimensions and rigidity effects overall performance and handling. This will bode well for Candela’s expanding range of hydrofoiling vessels.
Hasselskog founded Candela in 2014 and its first production model, the Candela C-7 was launched in 2019. The limited production run of 32 units ended in 2021 with the introduction of the bigger Candela C-8. It has space for eight passengers, a range of 50 nautical miles at 22 knots and a top speed of 30 knots. With more than 150 units sold to date, the C-8 is currently the best-selling electric premium boat.
Beyond recreational e-boats, the company also sees a big future in electrifying commercial passenger vessels. This year they are launching the Candela P-8 Voyager taxi boat and the P-12 electric ferry, which was introduced at the Venice Boat Show in June.
The thing that all of these boats share is the company’s hydrofoiling technology, which lifts the boat out of the water at speed, eliminating almost all friction between boat and water, thereby using up to 80% less energy than conventional boats of the same size.
Thousands of electric boats per year
Candela is confident that their combination of lower energy requirements and new partnership with Polestar will put them in good shape for bringing e-boats to a mass market.
“To make electric boats mainstream, we need to build thousands of boats every year.” says Hasselskog. “And while electrification of cars has come a long way in the last few years, the marine sector has fallen behind.”
Indeed, Candela is not the only electric boat company that is forming strategic alliances and other arrangements with car companies. Electric boat motor manufacturer Torqeedo has been using BMWi3 batteries since 2017 and in 2020 solar electric catamaran builder Silent-Yachts announced a collaboration with VW Group. In the US, General Motors has taken a 25 percent ownership stake in Pure Watercraft, the Seattle-based manufacturer of battery-electric outboard boat motors and systems.
One of the reasons may be that ‘marine batteries’ for many years were used to supply the electricity for all the accessories of a boat, not the propulsion. There is still a huge market for those batteries, and developing the technology to supply the electricity to move a boat through the water is an expensive proposition. Candela estimates that a 7.5 m (24 ft) non-foiling gas/petrol boat consumes about 15 x more fuel than a family car.
For the early days of electric marine propulsion, many boat manufacturers have relied on smaller, boutique vendors or even assembled the battery packs themselves (a battery pack for a boat is made up of hundreds of individual cells wired together to increase voltage and amperage. You can find out more in the Plugboats Guide to Electric Boat Batteries.)
As the market and demand grows, though, it makes a lot of sense to partner with a company like Polestar that is already making big batteries for EVs. Especially when the goal is to build thousands of e-boats – as it is for Candela.
Speed up mainstream adoption of electric boats
“As the number of electric vehicles increases worldwide, a steady battery supply will become increasingly important to hold a competitive edge and allow us to compete with combustion engine boats.” says Hasselskog.
This battery supply agreement is just the beginning of a broader intended partnership between Polestar and Candela, with both companies committed to exploring further opportunities for future collaboration.
“Candela’s e-boats are amazing proof of the great aesthetics and experiences modern, sustainable technology can create. I am fascinated by way they glide elegantly and efficient through – and over the water.” said Polestar CEO Ingenlath
To which the Candela founder added “Marrying our efficient hydrofoil technology to high-capacity batteries from Polestar means we can speed up the mass market adoption of electric boats together.”