Solar yacht pioneer Silent Yachts is expanding its fleet to five models and also expanding its Advisory Board with the addition of Michael Jost, the man who headed Volkswagen’s electrification push.
Back in 2009, when Tesla was celebrating the sale of 150 electric vehicles, Silent Yachts founders Michael & Heike Köhler were launching the SOLARWAVE 46, the first ocean-going yacht which used solar energy exclusively – not just for actual propulsion but also for all household appliances on board.
Silent Yachts shipyards in Austria, Italy, Thailand
While the volume of Silent-Yachts sales is not at today’s Tesla levels, they do have new shipyards in Italy and Thailand (in addition to the original Austrian yard) to meet the demand of the 20 boats they have on order for 2021. Another sign of their growth is the addition of the Silent 62 Tri-Deck to the existing lineup of the Silent 55, Silent 60, Silent 80 and Silent 80 triple decker.
The new model (billed as ‘the compact superyacht‘) is based on their best-seller – the Silent 60 – and adds two feet in length and the third full deck in place of the flybridge of the 60. The new deck more than doubles the available space – 50 m² (540 sq.ft) compared to 21 m² (225 sq.ft) – with the solar panel area unchanged, just shifted from one deck roof to the other. The system provides 17kWp (kiloWatts peak).
There are three layout options available:
- Open Sky Lounge has the top deck fully open and equipped with a bar, galley, 12 guest dining table, lounge area with several sofas, and a fly helm.
- Closed Sky Lounge splits the deck with a bar, galley and dining table in the enclosed area in the fore (with 360° view) and an open 32 m² terrace and lounge area in the aft.
- Closed Owner’s Suite has the same 32 m² lounge in the aft with a generous 18 m² (200 sq.ft) owner’s suite up front that also provides that unobstructed 360° panoramic view.
New advisory board member Michael Jost
Like all pioneers, one of the strengths of Silent Yachts is its ability to keep innovating, as it has with the Silent Resorts concept integrating the solar power of the yachts with pre-engineered land infrastructures. Then in February they announced a collaboration with Volkswagen to use the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform that is the foundation of the automaker’s EV strategy for 2030 and beyond.
The man who led the development of the program at Volkswagen Group, Michael Jost, recently resigned his position as Chief Strategic Officer. He will be joining the advisory board of Silent-Yachts and will also be part of a joint venture to strengthen the boat builder’s presence and brand in the Adriatic.
Mr. Jost knows e-mobility like few others. After graduating with a Dip.Ing / Master of Science degree, he went to BMW for a 9 year career as a Research and Development Engineer and another 9 years as Managing Director of several BMW Dealers. He then founded a successful automotive management consultancy, joined VW’s Skoda subsidiary in the Czech Republic in 2010 and then Volkswagen Group head office in 2015.
As Chief Strategy Officer reporting to CEO Dr. Herbert Diess, Mr. Jost was responsible for leading VW’s ‘transformation towards a sustainable and digital future’.
Smart cars to smart boats
Why the move from automobiles to boats? On his Jost Group website, Mr. Jost says that after 10 years of working to shape the future of VW the Corona pandemic brought him home, and he found out he enjoyed it. “After SmartCars, there are now SmartBoats. Having had a weekend marriage and family since 1996 these new boats are a nautical passion that I will dedicate myself to together with the family.”
The Smart Boats section of his site outlines different elements of the future of sailing, starting with BEVS (Battery Electric Vessels) and including a sensor kit and data analysis software to enable autonomous sailing and docking. It also paints a picture of establishing ‘a new E-ra of Yachting‘ with a ‘Silent Route’ along the Croatian coast that links 5 marinas and 3 to 8 Silent Resorts nestled in appropriate bays.
With Jost’s experience and success envisioning the future of electric mobility on land, we will undoubtedly hear more about his views and technologies to mold new ways of navigating and travelling on water. A quote from Einstein on his website gives a hint: “I am more interested in the future than in the past because I intend to live in it.”