Dusseldorf Boat Show will host the world premiere and unveiling of a new electric boat eLimo from Q-Yachts, a pioneering e-boat manufacturer. (A life-size 1:1 mock-up and virtual tour of the eLimo will be available in Q-Yachts’ Hall 4 Stand D03 during the 9 days of the show.)
The starkly elegant eLimo is a commercial adaptation of the Q30 electric day cruiser conceived of by Q-Yachts founder Janne Kjellman in 2013 with the first production model purchased by and delivered to Finish rapper Jare Tiihonen (‘Cheek’) in 2018.
The original and the eLimo share a hull design created specifically for the propulsion characteristics of electric motors. It provides a smooth, quietly consistent ride rather than a high speed, big-engine-big-noise adventure, and the calmer experience is exactly what the passengers in a water limousine are looking for.
Where the day cruiser has an uncluttered deck area, the eLimo uses this large space to create a windowed luxurious banquette-type seating area where guests can chat and sip an aperitif en route to their destination. A sunroof provides further protection from the wind and any inclement weather that might happen by.
The motto of Q-Yachts is ‘Electric Silence’ and the electric boat eLimo achieves this in two ways: the craft itself creates almost no sound or wake, and the enclosed seating area insulates against noise from other boats (those gas burning ones) in busy harbours or waterways.
Joakim Hildén, Q-Yachts CEO, says “We are now able to give the market what it has dreamed of – emission-free people transport, in crowded cities and lakes with next to complete silence and minimal wake.”
Electric boat eLimo: battery with hydrogen option
To call the Q30 eLimo an ‘electric boat’ really tells only half the story.
While both of its twin 10 kilowatt motors are electric (and can take the boat to speeds of 15 kts /27 kmh if desired), they can be run off battery alone or purchasers can opt to have extra electricity capacity supplied by hydrogen fuel cells.
(For those who may not be familiar with how fuel cells work, the simplified answer is that a battery stores energy and then delivers it as electricity to the motor while a fuel cell combines hydrogen fuel with oxygen to generate electricity.)
The eLimo – and watertaxis in general – are used very differently from recreational boats, and this battery or battery and fuel cell option makes an electric water limousine commercially viable for the broadest range of operators.
Where fast charging is possible, the version with a 30 or 60 kWh battery fits the bill, while the fuel cell with 120 kWh of combined battery and fuel cell capacity is probably preferred where there is the infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling. Travelling at 8 knots and fully loaded with 8 passengers the eLimo can make 3 hours of trips on a 30 kWh battery. With a battery/fuel cell combination adding up to 120 kWh it can carry loads of 8 passengers back and forth for 12 hours.
The history of Q-Yachts electric boats
Janne Kellman’s basic story is similar to a that of lot of other electric boat pioneers. He is both an avid sailor and serial entrepreneur who started out in software and went on to apply his energy and passion to developing quiet, clean, alternatives to the fossil-fuel-burning-smoke-spewing motors spoiling our air and waters.
His first venture into this arena was Oceanvolt, founded 15 years ago and now regarded as makers of one of the world’s best electric drive systems for sailboats. The company won the 2013 Pittman Innovation Award from SAIL magazine for its SD Saildrive as well as the 2017 DAME Award in Machinery and Propulsion for its patented variable pitch Servoprop propeller.
In 2013 Janne started to think in earnest about making a whole boat rather than just the motors, so he talked to some power boat makers about hulls. All they wanted to do, though, was fit his electric motor ideas into their existing boats. So he called on Jarkko Jämsén of Navia Design, a Helsinki-based boat design agency. The idea of Q-Boats was born.
Joakim Hildén told the Good News From Finland website “They started to design a boat from scratch based on the framework provided by the electric propulsion system, rather than the other way around and trying to shoehorn the electric motor into an existing hull”
The idea for Q-Yachts has always been to give the captain and passengers a relaxing, quiet (and clean) ride rather than chasing speed records. “In many cases when we speak of motorboats, we have kind of lost the focus in favour of horsepower and big engines,” Hilden said in a SuperYacht News interview. “If you look back at boats that were built in the early 1900s, they actually look much more like the Q30 than anything else that we see today.”
As we mentioned, the first boat was delivered in 2018 to Finnish rapper Cheek, and there are now happy Q-30 owners and interested buyers in Australia, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and North America, as well as Europe.
With its focus on luxurious clean design and enjoyment of ‘being in the moment’, the Q30 basic hull is a natural foundation for an elegant eLimo. We’re confident you’ll be able to take a ride on a real Q30 eLimo very soon, but in the meantime you can drop by Boot Düsseldorf (Hall 4 Stand D03) to see the life size model and take a virtual 3D cruise along the shorelines of Helsinki.