The newest model from the Finnish electric wooden boatbuilder, the 950e Mid Cabin, is the largest in the company’s line of 4 models, which also include the 550e Hard Top, 650e and 750e Day Cruisers.
Plugboats wrote about the original 550e HT when it was launched in May, and it impressed the public and judges of the 2021 Gustave Trouvé Awards so much it became a Finalist in the Electric Boats Under 8 Metres category.
Electric wooden boatbuilder creating traditional ‘soul’
Elwood boats was founded when CEO Pasi Virnes and Chief Designer Jarmo Häkkinen combined their talents to create boats with the feel and ‘soul’ of traditional wood construction, able to glide through the waters without disturbing the environment or its inhabitants.
Like all of the Elwood boats, the 950e enables this through semi-planing hull design. They point out on the Elwood website that there are both technical and ideological reasons for the decision, the first being their distinct design. The 950e is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish rum runner and the 550e of a ‘fiskari’ clinker fishing boat – both looks best expressed with the wooden construction.
That aesthetic decision helps point to semi-planing as the technological choice also. “Increasing the speed of the boat well above its characteristic hull speed to planing speed greatly increases the need for energy. This would inevitably require higher engine power and thus higher battery capacity to achieve a reasonable range, and all of this adds to the weight.”
Then there are the ideological reasons. “We want boating on an Elwood to be as enjoyable as possible. At planing speed, steering and navigation require significant attention from the pilot, and even if the powertrain is quiet, the sound of water and air rushing by increases the intensity of background noise. For these reasons, the hull shape is optimized for speeds of 7-10 knots, making the journey enjoyable for everyone and all senses.”
Oceanvolt twin saildrives system
To partner with the hull of the 950e, the Elwood team chose two Oceanvolt SD10 (10kW) electric saildrive motors with a 57.6 kWh LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery pack. The system runs at 48 Volts. At a cruising speed of 7 knots the range is 80 NM / 150km / 90mi and if the pilot does need to get to a destination more quickly, top speed is 13 Kts with a range of 35 NM / 65km / 40mi. A portable generator can also be added to increase range.
Both Oceanvolt and Elwood are based in Finland, and the design of the 950e was prompted in part by a request from Valtteri Lindholm, founder of the country’s well-known army surplus store Varusteleka. He was taken by the craftsmanship of the Elwood 550e and wanted an electric wooden boat that could accommodate two sleeping cabins, a mid cabin and comfortable open deck.
While many people are attracted by the look and feel of a wooden boat, there are also many who shy away because they are afraid of cumbersome maintenance. That idea of a wooden boat needing days of patching, sanding and varnishing every spring does not apply for the Elwood boat.
“All wooden parts of the frame are impregnated and surface treated (epoxied) to be completely water and steam tight” Say Virnes. “In this way, there is no living and opening of the seams in the parts of the body due to the variation of humidity. The surface layer on all parts is a high-quality UV-protected varnish or paint that requires no other regular maintenance than keeping it clean and intact, just like fibreglass boats.”
When it comes to the construction details, the load-bearing structure, decorative parts and visible surfaces for the Elwood are what Virnes calls nature’s composites: mahogany and birch/pine plywood. They are renewable, easy to work with, have excellent strength, and while wood is often thought of as heavier than composites, the 9.5m/31 ft Elwood 950e weighs in at 1,600 kilograms / 3,500 lbs.
For the boater who wants to have all the benefits of electric propulsion combined with the look, feel and soul of a classic wooden boat, the Elwood 950e MC is a compelling combination of old time craftsmanship and modern technology.
|Hull Length||9.5 m / 31 ft|
|Beam||2.3 m / 7.5 ft|
|Draft||0.7 m / 27 inches|
|Weight||1600 kg / 3500 lbs|
|Max. Displacement||2170 kg / 4785 lbs|
|Facilities:||Bow cabin w/ 2 double beds, middle cabin, open space, rear cabin w/twin beds.|
|Propulsion||2 X 10kW Oceanvolt Saildrives|
|Top Speed||13 knots / 24 kmh / 15 mph|
|Range||@ 7 knots: 80 NM / 150 km / 90 mi approximately 11 hours|
|Starting Price||199,000 € (incl. VAT 24%)|