Volvo Penta unveils all-electric saildrive at Cannes

Visitors to the Cannes Yachting Festival this week will see the much anticipated unveiling of the new Volvo Penta electric saildrive the motor company has been developing since May with prestige catamaran builder Fountaine Pajot.

This is a major advancement in electric boating and a big step for Volvo Penta, which announced earlier this year that they would be offering their first electric and hybrid solutions in 2019.

an electric saildrive showing the electric boat motor connected to the propeller mechanism The motor – or rather twin 15kW motors – have been fitted to one of Fountaine Pajot’s Lucia 40 model sailing catamarans, but it is more than just a ‘fitting’. The companies worked very closely together using a ‘full systems’ approach and regularly used Fountaine-Pajot’s large customer usage database, with a wealth of information on real life drive cycles for a wide range of users and uses.

When the collaboration was announced, Johan Inden, President of Region Europe at Volvo Penta said “Fountaine-Pajot’s wealth of knowledge, closeness to its customers and data regarding how boat owners use their vessels is proving invaluable in helping to deliver a real-world proof-of-concept, and in delivering an electric solution that gives significant benefits to customers.”

Li-ion batteries allow zero emission for up to 4 hours

The motors are powered by lithium-ion battery packs and, like all electric engines, offer more power and torque at low speeds compared to a similar diesel engine. Depending on speed and sea conditions, sailors can expect a run time/range of up to four hours/20 nautical miles. The batteries can also (silently) power the onboard amenities like air conditioning.

Aside from their motors, Volvo Penta is well known for the systems that optimize navigation and performance, and their highly regarded Electronic Vessel Control 2 (EVC2) system has been adapted for the saildrive.

More information in this video

While the Lucia and its new electric saildrives have obviously undergone a lot of sea testing, one of the reasons for unveiling the system now, at Cannes, is to get early feedback from both customers and the industry.

Björn Ingemanson, President of Volvo Penta, said “We are demonstrating the system on the water in a bid to encourage feedback from users and boat builders alike. As a company Volvo Penta likes to gather market feedback at early stages of a new technology’s development in order to challenge our assumptions and refine product characteristics.”

“Cruising with no noise is an incredible experience, and it’s impressive to see the power that this motor can release at slow speeds” added Romain Motteau, Deputy CEO, Fountaine Pajot Group.”We expect our customers to be excited about what they see in Cannes and the potential it will one day bring to their sailing experience.”

And now we can add one of the world’s leading suppliers of fossil fuel motors and engines to our Plugboats Directory of electric boats and motors!

Full specs for the electric saildrive

Here are the full specs for the electric saildrive as fitted on the Lucia 40.

  • Quiet mooring up to 12 hours from battery power (e.g. no genset running to power air conditioning).
  • Responsive low-speed maneuvering with high torque/thrust.
  • Electric propulsion 2×15 kW:
  • Electric range approx. 27 NM@5 knots and 17 NM@6 knots.
  • Top speed 8 knots, max 1 hour.
  • 2x 5 kW chargers.
  • Genset 2×7.2 kW.
  • Batteries 2x20kWh, Charging time 3h.
  • Defined drive cycle scenarios (E.g. 24/7 Charter, ½ Week charter, Weekend, etc.).
  • Volvo Penta’s latest Electronic Vessel Control System, EVC 2, combined with a unique interface for electric propulsion in the Glass Cockpit System.

2 thoughts on “Volvo Penta unveils all-electric saildrive at Cannes

  • September 12, 2019 at 4:07 am

    dans la bonne direction

  • April 22, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    What about regenerative charging when the boat I see under sail power , to increase the range of the electric motor?


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