Back in 2008 an upstart company called Tesla was just introducing an electric car it called The Roadster.
Electric cars were a novelty at the time, and electric powered boats even more so. But out on the water that year, a maritime speed record of 76.8 MPH (122 kmh) was being set. And it wasn’t until last week, a full decade later, that the record was broken when Jaguar took some of the learning from their Formula E car racing experiences and teamed up with boat manufacturer Vector to create a boat that hit 88.6 MPH (142 kmh) over a 1 mile stretch on the tranquil waters of England’s Coniston Water lake.
Vector has been involved in powerboat racing since 2012, and is the most watched powerboat racing team in the world, with 600K social media followers.
Jaguar, of course, is Jaguar, and only got back into auto racing in 2016 when it became the first premium manufacturer to join the Formula E series. Its Panasonic Jaguar team with drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans sits in 5th place coming in to the last race of the season in New York on July 14 and 15.
The Jaguar V20E boat that set the record was piloted by Jaguar/Vector co-founder Peter Dredge and everyone is pretty tight lipped about the specifics of the motor, battery and controller, which was developed in concert with Williams Advanced Engineering. Check out the video below for as many details as can be gleaned.
In a press release last October the team made it clear that they would be pushing the boundaries of marine speed records, so we probably have not seen the last of this.
As for electric boats in general, there has not been a lot of companies jumping into the water, but the German company Torqueedo has a range of e-motors and announced they have teamed up with BMW on an entry in sailing’s Vendée Globe solo, around-the-world race in 2020. The SeaBubble battery powered hydroplane (photo above) was launched on the Seine river in Paris in early June.
Jaguar’s all electric I-Pace car made its own debut at the Berlin Formula E race this year and the company has announced that it will be getting out of fossil fuel burning cars by 2020.