With its distinctive lines and details, this ultra quiet electric wooden boat from Finnish builder Elwood with propulsion by Oceanvolt is designed to bring its owners closer to nature and provide years of service and delight.
Entrepreneur Pasi Virnes, the CEO and Design Director of Elwood, has a background in mechanical engineering and started work in earnest on the Elwood about a year ago, with a vision of a boat with the feel and ‘soul’ of traditional wood construction, able to glide through the waters without disturbing the environment or its inhabitants.
To help bring the dream to life, he worked with boat designer Jarmo Häkkinen, who has been crafting exquisite wooden rowing boats since 2007 and exploring the possibilities of plank, clinker and marine plywood construction. The facilities and expertise of Ville Herukka and Timo Koistinen of the Villen Vene boat builders in Kuopio, Finland, were enlisted to help with the execution of the first model – the Elwood 550e HT.
Tradition with a modern feel
The load-bearing structure for the Elwood is birch plywood which Virnes calls “nature’s composite.” There are lots of reason for choosing it, he says. ” It is renewable, easy to work with and has excellent strength, better than many realize.” The decorative parts and visible surfaces of the electric wooden boat are crafted from solid mahogany and mahogany ply.
The result is impressive – a hardtop boat reminiscent of a traditional Finnish clinker fishing boat – a fiskari – but updated and tailored for recreational use and electric propulsion. She is 5.5 metres long (18′) with a beam of 1.5m (5′) and .6m draft (23″). While wood is often thought of as a heavier material than composites, the Elwood 550 weighs in at only 450kg (1210 lbs) empty. It can carry 4 passengers.
On the propulsion side, the 550e is equipped with an Oceanvolt AX 8 kiloWatt motor and 11.4 kWh battery pack. All of that means a silent ride that can last for as long as 8 hours with a 30Nm range (55km) at a speed of 5 knots. That is the kind of journey the Elwood is made for – relaxing with time to appreciate the peace and scenery – but she can also reach a speed of 10 knots when required. It takes about 4 hours to charge @ 230V / 16A. Additional batteries can be added to increase range.
Larger “day cruiser” models are also available – the 650 (6.5m / 21′) and 750 (7.5m / 24′), which has a 13kW Oceanvolt and can carry up to 10 passengers. Because all of the boats are handmade, each can have customized seating configurations, cabin and interior details.
Electric wooden boats – a natural fit
As Elwood says on its website, “Less energy, more nature and just the right pace‘ and that seems as a good a way as any of summing up electric wooden boats – a relationship that combines the best technology of the new with the best traditions of the past.
Some other examples worth checking out are:
Budsin Electric Boats, where founder and owner Tom Hesselink transferred the expertise he gathered working as an apprentice on wooden Great Lakes sailing ships to building classic electric cruising boats
Cantiere (Shipyard) Ernesto Riva, which has been designing and handcrafting some of the world’s most beautiful boats since 1771 and refit a wooden water limousine – the Vaporina Elettra – with an electric motor for the Sereno Hotel on Lake Como
and the Plugboats article on electrified canal boats of Amsterdam looks at some classic saloon boats, many of which were used to carry executives to and from their office a century ago and are now available to rent for canal tours or events.
We’ll leave the last words for another quote from the Elwood site:
“Electric power eliminates the distractions of gasoline motor boating and the wooden frame invites nostalgic travel. We invite you to enjoy a new kind of boating, which teases all the senses down to the soul.“
Elwood 550e HT: Elwood Boats
|5.5 m / 40 ft
|1.5 m / XX ft
|.6 m / lbs
|450 kg / lbs
|Oceanvolt AX8 kW
|Li-ion 11.5 kWh
|5 knots 40 NM (74 km) 8 h
7 knots 25 NM (46 km) 3,5 h
10 knots 13 NM (24 km) 1 h 20 min