Plugboats WAVES (Watts, Amps, Volts, Electrons) is an occasional collection of electric boat news and electric boating items that we have written about before and are updating, or items we are going to write about but are waiting for more information / developments – or items that are just tidbits you might find interesting.
So without further ado, here is WAVES #15, with electric boat and boating news about:
- X Shore’s new Chief Executive Officer
- Torqeedo joins autonomous inland waterways project
- Vision Marine Technologies partners in new Florida boat rental operation
- Arc Boats opens a new 150,000 sq ft (14k sq m) factory in Los Angeles
- Yamaha introducing hydrogen combustion outboard
- Sunreef Yachts presents at Dubai COP 28 conference
X Shore appoints new Chief Executive Officer
René Hansen is the new Chief Executive Officer of Sweden’ X Shore electric boats, taking over from Jenny Keisu, who is now another kind of CEO, the company’s Chief Evangelist Officer, focusing on partnerships and public affairs.
Hansen served as an executive vice president at Nordic renewables company Stora Enso, spent eight years at multinational mineral fertilizer company Yara International, and was vice president of the recycling company TOMRA. He plans to leverage his operational and strategic experience in those roles and industries.
“I am honoured to step into the role of CEO at X Shore, a trailblazing company at the forefront of innovation crafting 100% electric boats for a sustainable future,” Hansen said in a statement. “X Shore’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, design and product excellence resonates deeply with my values.”
Jon Roskill, chair of the board at X Shore, added, “We are delighted to welcome René Hansen as our CEO. His extensive business background, combined with a strong product focus, aligns seamlessly with our vision for X Shore. We believe his leadership will propel us to new heights in technology, design, and sustainability.”
Torqeedo joins ‘Smart & Green Ship’ autonomous project
Torqeedo will be providing the drive system for the ‘Smart & Green Ship’, a joint research project of the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and the Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems e. V. (DST).
The project aims to significantly advance fully autonomous navigation in inland waterways by researching various combinations of automation and emission-free drive systems. Fully automated river shipping paves the way for a more environmentally friendly future for inland vessels.
The maritime test platform will be built by the Feller Yachting shipyard and equipped with four Deep Blue Battery 80s and twin Deep Blue 50i engines from Torqeedo. It is scheduled to be handed over to the project partners in September 2024, followed by a one-year test phase in the Dortmund-Ems Canal.
Many experts believe that autonomous vessels will be the first vehicles on the planet to achieve Level-5, or full autonomy, as autonomous vessels face different challenges from self-driving cars. Boats and ships on inland waterways tend to travel at relatively slow speeds, and there is less vehicular and human traffic to contend with. In addition, many inland vessels travel a fairly fixed route, which can make navigation easier than on land.
Vision Marine Technologies bringing higher power electric rental boats to Florida
The electric boats in most boat rental operations are still mainly lower powered displacement boats designed for leisurely cruises with food and drinks along the way. They can also be legally rented and easily driven by people with little or no boating experience.
Now Vision Marine Technologies is partnering with Blue Water Boat Rental in Riviera Beach, Florida to offer Wired pontoons and other boats equipped with the company’s E-Motion 180E Powertrain with 180 hp (≈135 kW).
The new operation is strategically positioned near bustling Peanut Island – which draws over 9 million visitors a year. The goal is a mutually beneficial relationship where Blue Water customers get to try electric propulsion and Vision gets real life public feedback as it works to develop a fleet of 25 diverse boats that will include centre consoles, bowriders, and pontoons, all enhanced with the E-Motion technology.
Mark Pollio, CEO of Blue Water Boat Rentals, said “It would be an understatement to say we are excited about our partnership with Vision Marine. How cool is it that people will be able to put this exciting technology through its paces before buying their own electric outboard or boat? I know that this partnership is going to be a win-win-win situation for Blue Water, Vision Marine, and our mutual customers.”
4. ARC Factory
Plugboats first wrote about Arc Boats back in October of 2021 when the company was making news because of one of the founder’s previous work at Space X.
Andreesen Horowitz of Google investing fame was one of their first backers and they have had multiple funding rounds with contributions from other Silicon Valley biggies and celebrities like Sean ‘Diddy’ Combes, Kevin Durant and Will Smith.
With their latest round – $70M in October – they announced that they were building a 150,000 square foot (14k sq m) production facility just outside of Los Angeles in Torrance, California. That facility is now open and in the company’s blog co-founder Mitch Lee (not of Space X), says the company has grown “from 3 employees to more than 80… and we’re expecting to double that number by this time next year!”
The blog goes on to say “Our new cutting-edge headquarters will help us scale production and meet the needs of growing demand across boating enthusiasts, new and old — beginning with our first mass-market boat hitting the waves early next year.”
Yamaha introducing hydrogen combustion outboard
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., one of the top five outboard manufacturers in the world (Allied Market research says they hold almost 40% of the global market) has announced that it will be exhibiting a prototype-powered outboard motor at the Miami International Boat Show in February.
This is not an electric outboard that uses hydrogen fuel cells. This is a hydrogen combustion engine. In the most simple explanation of how it works, hydrogen burns in chambers, much like a fossil fuel combustion motor, but the emission is water, not carbon dioxide and other noxious chemicals and hydrocarbons.
In 2022 the company worked with Toyota to develop a hydrogen engine for the Lexus RC F sport coupe. In that case, they started with an existing combustion motor and made modifications to the injectors, cylinder heads, and intake manifold.
Yamaha does manufacture an electric motor, the Harmo, but says in its press release “In order to achieve carbon neutrality with marine products, the Company is promoting a multi-directional development approach, looking to other new energy sources and technologies in addition to its electrification efforts.”
“Yamaha Motor has set a companywide environmental goal to achieve carbon neutrality in Scope 3 emissions (emissions produced from the Company’s value chain, e.g., use of sold products) by 2050. To create a more sustainable world, the Company will continue promoting the research and development of technologies that contribute to sustainability.”
Sunreef Yachts hosts seminar/info session ay COP 28 Dubai
A report from Kevin Desmond, authour of ‘Electric Boats and Ships, A History’:
“Sunreef Yachts of Gdansk, Poland showed a courageous initiative in launching a seminar at COP28 in Dubai which they called “Responsible Yachting. Today and tomorrow.” This included a conversation about electric, hybrid and hydrogen propulsion, battery technology, plant-based composites, bottom paints, modern photovoltaics, sustainable interior finishing, water management, energy management, air conditioning.
The focus was also be on the evolution of technology and future trends. Artur Poloczanski, the PR director of Sunreef commented. “We have to realize at first the rather ungreen image of superyachts, admitting that the 300 biggest boats in the world cause as much emissions as 10 million people and have a bad reputation in general in the area of all things sustainable. It’s fair to say, though, that the yachting environment is very diverse. We are here to discuss the alternatives.”
COP delegates were invited to board a Sunreef 80 Eco and experience renewable energy boating without fossil fuels. Today, over 140 Sunreef Yachts – both sailing and power – are cruising worldwide, one of them owned by tennis star Rafael Nadal. Also present at Dubai was Gustav Hasselkog of Candela, currently ramping up mass production of its electric 30-passenger ferry, the P-12 for over 180 interested operators.
Despite OPEC attempting to prevent the phase-out of fossil fuels – encouraged by International Boat Shows such as Venice and Monaco, by marine journals, by the METS and by the Gussie Awards – the growing number of photovoltaic hydrogen and battery electric boatbuilders and engine builders around the world will continue to play their part.