Future installations of the electric boat chargers introduced last summer in the Vita superPower network will feature a striking new design and be made of low carbon Hydro CIRCAL recycled aluminum.
Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this article the superPower system has been rebranded Aqua superPower and the operation is connected to, but managed separately from, Vita Yachts.
At the launch of the superPower network at the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM) last summer, Vita Chairman and Founder, Stewart Wilkinson said “The marine industry is responsible for vast amounts of pollution. Boats use eight times the power of a car, so you have eight times the pollution. I mean, that’s a big thing to try and change and if I can change it one boat at a time, I’d be super happy.”
To demonstrate the point, Vita also makes electric boats and is dedicated to making boating cleaner in every way, seeing an integrated e-boat and charger network as a way to speed up the adoption of marine e-mobility.
The company was founded in 2017 and gathered attention at the 2018 Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge when it showcased its VITA X, a gorgeous all electric 425 kW • 580HP runabout inspired by classic boatbuilding.
It was the the first recipient of the Gold standard Clearwater environmental rating for boats and superyachts from the Blue Marine Foundation and a Vita IX raised €1.2M in an auction benefitting the Global Ocean initiatives of the Fondation Prince Albert II of Monaco (FPA2), which is also the organizer of the Monaco races.
Electric boat chargers and superPower network
The original installation of electric boat chargers at the YCM was the beginning of the Vita superPower network and also included units in St. Tropez and Cannes. Each unit delivers 150kW, reducing charging times for compatible boats from approximately 6 hours to 1 hour.
The network was planned to expand in 2020 to 8 more superchargers along the Cote d’Azur, but the impact of COVID-19 presented numerous complications and challenges. Mr Wilkinson sees the pandemic as an opportunity to move more quickly toward better marine environments, as outlined in the video below, and superchargers made with the low carbon aluminum are part of that vision.
Other electric boat companies are also seeing opportunity, not so much in the pandemic, but in combining electric boats with charger networks. In the USA, Watershed Innovation recently installed a charging station in Lake Tahoe, California in support of its all electric wakeboarding / towboat, the Super Air Nautique GS22E
Low carbon aluminum fits zero emission mobility
Hydro is one of the world leaders in low carbon aluminum and is no stranger to the marine industry. They supply thousands of tonnes each year to cruise ships, ferries, yachts and other vessel types.
“Hydro CIRCAL is a perfect fit to the high standards Vita is setting” says Luca Bertola, Hydro’s Managing Director Extruded Solution Italy. CIRCAL is made with a minimum of 75% recycled post-consumer scrap and while making new aluminum is an energy intensive process, using recycled aluminium requires less heat, therefore less energy and carbon.
In addition to the Vita superchargers, Hydro technology is used for the VR4 from Vaan Yachts, a sailing yacht with auxiliary electric propulsion by Torqeedo and OceanVolt and a hull made of recycled aluminum from old window panes, traffic signs and car number plates.
The Vita electric boat chargers were designed by Italian studio BorromeodeSilva, who also designed the original chargers and the Vita boats. Hydro will deliver the complete structure, including all the machining, accessories (gaskets, hinges, locking system) and the surface finishing, in addition to technical and design support.
Sr. Bertola of Hydro continues “We are proud to work with forward-leaning companies like Vita who are moving the market forward in the right direction using new design principles and high demands for the origin and environmental footprint of materials selected.”
Vita CEO Rory Trahair adds “We have a responsibility to ensure that the environmental impact of all our products is minimal. By using Hydro CIRCAL for the construction of the unit, the carbon footprint of superPower is significantly reduced.”