I took a ride in an all-electric speedboat that uses physics to glide over water for a smooth, quiet experience


It’s happening with cars, it’s happening with bikes and now boats could be next.

A Swedish startup named Candela is building all-electric speedboats that use the power of physics to their advantage.

Recently I rode up to San Francisco to take a ride in one.

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The boat is 26 feet long and looks like a typical motorboat, but is fully electric. The boat has a steering wheel, a large touchscreen, and special software that controls just about every aspect of the experience.

I say experience because riding in one of these boats is unlike anything you have ever done. At high speed, the boat glides over the water.

The boat is equipped with hydrofoils, which are basically wings that extend under the boat and help push it up and out of the water. Think of a boat on skis. This reduces the friction of the hull against the water and makes the whole system more energy efficient, which is essential for an electric boat.

The Candela C-7 I rode can hold 6 people and travel up to 30 knots maximum with a range of around 50 nautical miles. However, the optimum cruising speed is 22 knots, which is perfectly fast.

The C-7 goes out in open water the traditional way, with an electric motor that pushes you. Then, once you’re ready to go, you use the controls to “take off”. Basically, the boat goes fast, the hydrofoils extend, and the entire hull of the craft lifts out of the water so it kind of floats above the surface.

It’s a super quiet ride and since the system is constantly making adjustments, it’s super smooth. In fact, seasickness could be a thing of the past aboard these boats.

The secret is in the software – Candela has designed software that does all the hydrofoil calculations – at 100 times per second.

“All the flight controls are automated…so it’s done by the computer…all you have to do is steer the boat and watch where you’re going,” explains Tanguy de Lamotte, CEO of Candela US.

In motion, there is almost no wake behind the boat. When it is time to return to shore, the boat performs a ‘landing’, where the hull falls back into the water.

It’s great fun and even though we’ve been on the boat for a few hours we still have about 80% charge to go.

Candela says they’ve sold about 30 of the C-7 models, which they describe as mostly a prototype. A C-8 model will be delivered to buyers in the coming months.

Given that the boats can cost north of $300,000, they’re certainly not ready for the mass market just yet.

But, Candela says they are applying their technology to ferry boats that could be used to ferry people across water in an environmentally friendly way.

“I think it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time and how many boats will go electric,” concluded de Lamotte.

The entire electric outboard glides over the water for a smooth, quiet ride!


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