Cheetah Marine launches R630 ‘EV-Ready’ RIB

In an innovative response to the rapidly changing boat market, Cheetah Marine has launched a new RIB with a highly efficient lightweight hull that saves fuel when powered by a combustion motor but has been designed for easy conversion to electric propulsion.

The company’s research and customer conversations have shown that some people, including commercial boat owners, are reluctant to fully commit to electric. The strategy is to make EV-ready boats that can be easily upgraded when owners feel the time is right to make the switch.

Cheetah Marine now part of RS Marine Group

Cheetah Marine was founded in 1991 by Sean Strevens when his (then) radical catamaran design rapidly caught on with fishermen around the Isle of Wight and south coast of England. They now have a full range of commercial and recreational cats and in 2022 joined RS Sailing and RS Electric boats in a new entity: RS Marine Group.

The Cheetah Adventure 720 was the first model to come from the new amalgamation, a 6.9 metre (22.5 foot) leisure boat with a hull that folds out on one side to expand the deck and socializing area. Now, working with RS Electric, they are introducing their first RIB, the Cheetah R630.

The 6.3m (20 ft 6 in) R630 features a cathedral hull that pushes less water and gets on plane at lower speeds than other RIBs of similar size.  That is due in part to its light hull which uses GRP (a type of fibreglass) with additional lightweight technology developed for the RS Electric Pulse 63. All of this means a smaller engine can be used. The R630 can achieve 25 knots with only a 50 hp outboard.

Cheetah Marine R630 on plane in open water

“A smaller engine means lower emissions,” says Jon Partridge, RS Marine Group CEO. “The R630’s been born out of the DNA of Cheetah Marine which is all about efficiency, working platforms, and using those smaller engines to offer fuel economy while also delivering performance.”

That efficient hull is also an advantage when the boat is outfitted for electric propulsion – it means a smaller, lighter battery can be used. The other way in which the Cheetah R630 has been optimized for conversion to all-electric is in the deck and fuel storage areas.

Ability to retro-fit with ease is ‘hard wired into design’

The difficult part of replacing a combustion outboard with an electric one isn’t usually the motor itself – it is the difference in volume and weight of the battery versus the fuel tank. It’s not as easy as just swapping one for another, because the handling of the boat needs to be considered. This is where working with RS Electric from the outset has been a big plus.

“Our long-term strategy is to provide EV-ready craft,” says Partridge. “The marine sector has definitely woken up to the fact that we need to make a decisive change, but we understand that some people are reluctant to fully commit to electric.”

Marine fast charging comes to UK Coast with ‘The Electric Seaway’

“Battery development is now moving at a pace, and charging infrastructure is being embedded across many countries including the UK. It won’t be long until electric becomes the preferred choice for many.”

The proof lies not far from RS Marine headquarters. Plymouth already has high speed marine chargers by Aqua superPower and Aqua is spearheading ‘The Electric Seaway’, a £3.2 million dollar project funded by the UK government that will build out marine charging infrastructure at 10 sites along England’s south coast.

“The ability to retro-fit – with ease – is being hard wired into all designs,” says Partdige. As the market changes and evolves, we’re doing all we can so that companies looking for new RIBs or catamarans can get one now and rest assured the electric conversion will be straightforward.”

Partridge says that Cheetah’s strategy is for all vessels to be EV-ready and that the R630 is only the first in a new range of RIBs they will bring to market in the next few years.

That’s not the only news from RS Marine…RS Electric has teased a next generation Pulse 63 to be unveiled in the next few weeks (see video below).

Cheetah Marine RS Electric Boats RS Marine Group

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