Hodgdon Yachts to build all electric Vita LION

The oldest shipyard in America will be working with the newest technologies in boating as it partners to build the all electric Vita LION at its Maine facilities.

“Our vision was to create a boat with no compromise in terms of user experience, performance and functionality while also ensuring the least impact possible on the marine environment in which it operates.” says Rory Trahair, CEO of Vita Yachts.

electric Vita LION speeding along Mediterranean coastlineThe LION, Vita’s flagship boat, delivers in spades with a sleek 10.5 metre (34′ 5″) design by Milan studio BorromeodeSilva, a top speed of over 35 knots (65 km/h) and cruising speed of 24 knots (44km/h). It is powered by the company’s V4 propulsion system which incorporates Vita’s proprietary throttle and touchscreen technology. Charging time at a high speed DC station is one hour. 

Hodgdon was founded over two centuries ago, in 1816, when Caleb Hodgdon and his brother Tyler added boatbuilding to Caleb’s sawmill and gristmill businesses with the construction of a 42-foot ‘pinky’ fishing schooner. Still family owned, it has been an innovator in building materials and design from its inception and is a leader in advanced composite construction while maintaining exceptional skills for world class traditional and modern interiors.

A sister company, Hodgdon Tenders, last year announced a line of Venice-inspired electric tenders by Michael Peters Yacht Design which are powered by Vita drive trains.

“Our move into electric yachts and tenders further demonstrates our commitment to increasing demands from the market for zero emissions boating,” says Audrey Hodgdon, Director of Sales & Marketing.

Electric Vita LION accommodates 8

The LION can accommodate up to eight guests in a large cockpit which can also be configured for dining. The sunpad and bathing area provides ample room for relaxation, together with a shower and ladder for swimming. Forward, the enclosed cabin includes a day berth, day head and sink as well as storage, with an integrated Fusion sound system throughout the boat.

The Vita Yachts lineup also includes the 7 metre (23′) SEAL, which will be joined later this year by the CUB, an all-electric jetski currently in prototype stage.,

Electric Vita LION seen from overhead

Vita first made a splash (pun intended) at the Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge in 2018, when they entered their inaugural design, the Vita IX, and won the offshore racing category, setting a speed record along the way.

In creating the IX, the Vita team also developed the electric powertrain, and to give you an idea of their advances since then in that regard, the 2018 Monaco speed record was 48.515 km/h (26.2kts) –  which happens to be the cruising speed of the new LION.

DC recharge in less than an hour

From its beginning, Vita has seen itself as an all around marine technology company working to lead the way in electric propulsion and it now has two separate but complementary divisions. The Vita Yachts Division designs and produces high performance electric vessels, while the Vita Power Division develops all-electric powertrains for the recreational and commercial marine sector.

Vita Power is headed by CEO Clive Johnson, a marine tech entrepreneur who has extensive experience in every aspect of boat technology and was part of the company that designed and manufactured the world’s first solar powered instruments for dinghies and yachts.

electric Vita LION cockpit showing computer screen interfaceThat kind of experience is essential in electric propulsion because the key is understanding not just the raw power, but how the entire system interacts, from motor to drive train to battery and battery management to user experience – including charging.

Vita offers single and twin configurations – V1, V2 and V4 – that deliver peak power of 180hp (130kW) , 295hp (215kW) and 590hp (435kW) respectively. They integrate the company’s proprietary control software and all systems are compatible with high speed DC charging, supercharging from 10%-90% in under an hour.

An electric marriage for the future

The Vita Yachts website is headlined with the words Inspired by Tradition – Powered by Electricity while the credo on the Hodgdon site is Ultimate Style and Timeless Quality. The building of the all electric Vita Lion by Hodgdon in its historic boatyard is the perfect marriage for electric boats.

As Vita CEO Trahair says ““This collaboration with Hodgdon combines our technical innovation and their centuries of craftsmanship at the highest levels to produce the most advanced electric powerboat built to date.”

The LION will be available for sea trials in the South of France this summer.

Exciting things are happening every day in electric boats and boating.
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