When sailing enthusiast Kai Krause set out to build his dream powerboat, he had no idea an ultralight electric boat – the EB EINS from KAEBON – would be the result.
Krause, founder of a pension and insurance firm by day, wanted to build a powerboat that echoed and reimagined the classic design lines of the ‘Gentleman Racer’ autos of the 1920s. ‘They had a big motor up front, and then the driver’s cockpit” he said. “The motor for my boat, though, would be at the stern and so the room in front of the pilot area could be used for storage or for guests.”
1920’s motor car to 2020’s electric boat
He knew from being in regattas and sailing races that he wanted his boat to be made of carbon fibre because of its combination of strength and light weight. With that as the starting point he began calling naval architects, boatyards, distributors and dealers. One of those on his list was Thorsten Irgang of German electric boat dealer PureVolt Yachts.
“He called and said he was going to do a carbon boat” Irgang recalls.”Oh, that’s sounds good, I said, are you a boat builder?” Krause explained that he wasn’t, but as he described his vision Irgang became intrigued.
“I liked the whole idea of the gentleman racer and how to interpret it for a boat in modern times, that still keeps that history, that emotion.” Irgang set him straight, though, when Krause mentioned he was thinking the boat could be for either ICE or electric motors.
“I told him If you are going to do electric, you should really do only electric, do not even think about electric and/or gasoline. I explained that the entire design needs to be purpose built for electric to get the kind of boat he wanted.”
As they hung up, Irgang told Krause to give him a call any time for electric boat advice. He didn’t hear anything until six months later. They had another pleasant conversation, but another year and a half passed before the call came that the decision was to go for an all-electric, only-electric ‘gentleman racer’.
EB EINS topside created by car designers
Krause had been busy during that time. For one, he had decided that making powerboating more sustainable would only be possible with an extremely stable, ultra-lightweight construction. He told friends at a dinner “No one else has done it, so I will.”
He had also been in contact with Hans Genthe, a sailing racer and naval designer in Dubai who developed the bottom, ‘working part’ of the hull.
To get the look and feel he wanted for the top, he decided to step outside the naval world and go to an auto designer, approaching MuniqDesign, who have worked with Rolls-Royce, Aston-Martin and BMW.
During their first meeting, as Krause outlined what we was imagining, he saw Creative Director Max Troicher doodling away on a pad in front of him. Krause asked him if maybe he was bored? ‘Not at all’ Max said, ‘just starting this first sketch’. When Krause took a look he knew instantly the team could deliver exactly what he had originally envisioned.
From there things began to move quickly, with more sketches, then computer generated CAD plans, then the first molds that married the auto designer’s topside with the naval designer’s hull.
For this, Krause turned to Nova Composite, also of Dubai, who were the ideal people to execute the ultralight aspect of the EB EINS. Composites (materials like glass fibre, carbon fibre and aramid fibre) have been used in boatbuilding for decades, but Nova has also been making a name for using them in architecture and building construction.
That gave them critical experience in executing designs with the kinds of flowing curves and shapes that both the top and bottom of the EINS require. Nova also has an exciting product that sandwiches foam between two skins of pre-impregnated carbon fibre – taking the lightweight/strength ratio to the next level.
A few revisions and sea trials later and Krause and Irgang were ready to take the EB EINS to Boot Düsseldorf. Their booth was in Hall 11, along with electric boats from Candela, X Shore, Vita, Magonis, RS Electric and more.
The EINS has a striking silhouette, and photos don’t do full justice to the shine of the high gloss finish, but what I found really interesting was that it had a surprisingly small motor for a planing boat: it is available with a Torqeedo Cruise 6 (6 kW / ≈9.9HP) or Cruise 12 (12 kW / ≈25HP).
This is where the ultralight aspect and hull design come in. To call the EB EINS a planing boat isn’t entirely accurate, but neither is it a displacement hull. With its ultralight weight, there is almost no water displacement to speak of. There is a V bow, but it becomes slightly bulbous as it transforms to the planing section towards the stern.
Ultralight electric boat less than half the weight
The entire hull weighs only 89 kg /196 lb, remarkable for a boat that is 5.25 m / 17.2 ft long with a width of 1.7 m / 5.6 ft. That is less than half the weight of a similar length dinghy, jonboat or aluminum ‘tinboat’.
This makes for incredible buoyancy, and the end result is that the EB EINS is almost half-planing when just sitting in the water. It glides along at low speeds and it doesn’t take a whole lot of power to get it ‘on plane’. Then, the slightly bulbous aspect of the hull provides stability during turns, even at full speed – about 30km/h (≈19mph / 16 kn) with the Cruise 12.
The ultralight discipline is evident in every aspect and detail of the EINS. Conventional metal cleats, for example, are replaced by ultra-light textile loops and there are no built in seats and upholstery, rather custom designed cushions that serve the purpose as needed.
‘Look good in 10 years or more’
While I only sat in the cockpit of the EB EINS in an exhibit hall in Düsseldorf, it was easy to imagine zipping along on a summer day with a couple of friends in the passengers’ area of the elongated bow.
It was also easy to see how successful Krause has been at bringing the feel of an early 20th gentleman racer to an early 21st century electric boat.
As Thorsten says “The gentleman racer idea has been picked up a few times in both cars and boats. But many times it is a retro thing, not really a modern type of construction. This boat brings the newest building techniques and propulsion…and artistic design…and combines them in a way that you say ‘this looks good now and is going to look good in 10 years and more.”
KAEBON EB EINS
|Length LOA||5.25 m / 17.2 ft|
|Beam||1.7 m / 5.6 ft|
|Hull Height||.83 m / 2.7 ft|
|Weight||89 kg / 196 lbs|
|Motors||Torqeedo Cruise 6 or Cruise 12|
|Top Speed||30km/h (≈19mph / 16 kn)|
|Range||45 min @ top speed, 6-10 hrs cruising|