By: BoatBlurb Staff
Candela is evolving its position the emerging electric boat market. Candela hydrofoils already represent some of the most efficient electric boats currently available, and its battery technology and range (thanks in part due to said hydrofoil) continue to receive industry attention.
Last week, the Swedish boatbuilder pushed its vision further with the launch of the all-new P-8 Voyager passenger boat, a modern Venetian-style taxi boat that will be attractive to both commercial touring services and recreational boaters alike.
The P-8 Voyager is especially intriguing to businesses already operating fleets of small gas-powered engines, namely a taxi company or tourist group in water-focused cities like Venice, Amsterdam, or even New York. Those looking for a sleek yacht tender to replace a RIB or similar vessel will also find the size and capability of the P-8 attractive. Hydrofoils continue to grow in popularity as battery power technology improves.
One of the P-8's most startling features is the claim is produces just a 5 cm (2 in) high wake. That would make the P-8 nearly unaffecting to the water around it, not to mention its nearly silent operation under battery power. A selling feature to prospective enviro-conscious buyers will be the preservation of waterways, marine wildlife, and shoreline infrastructure since the P-8 will do little, if any, damage.
“From Venice to the Bahamas, it’s absurd to travel in beautiful and fragile ecosystems in speedboats that burn 200 litres of petrol per hour and make huge wakes,” says Erik Eklund, Candela’s chief executive of commercial vessels. “With the Candela P-8 Voyager, we wanted to make a no-compromise electric exploration vessel. You have the performance, can cruise for well over 2 hours, but there’s virtually no negative impact on the environment.”
Performance-wise, the P-8 has room for six passengers and two crew. The company claims its vessels have 2-3x the range of any other electric speedboat currently available -- which likely comes in part thanks to some impressive figures that include a 30 knot top speed (34.5 mph) and a range of 50 nautical miles while at cruising speed.
The C-Foil hydrofoil system on the P-8 Voyager also incorporates engineering facets from the drone, aerospace, and software industries. Much of the P-8's technology is automatic or intuitive, including the built-in flight controller that modifies the foil's angle of attack based on the water resistance it encounters while underway. The controller reacts in realtime at an impressive 100 times per second to compensate for the boat's continuous pitch and roll. The company also claims it can handle serious chop -- being able to foil above waves from 48"- 60" without bottoming out the hull. The foils themselves are also fully retractable when at rest, and Candela offers remote troubleshooting where they can connect wirelessly to the P-8 to monitor or diagnose potential issues.
“You get the seakeeping ability of a 100-foot ship in a 28-footer,” boasts Eklund. “Foiling in bad weather will be the ultimate experience of nature. Taking in the dramatic scenery, breaking waves and all, while safely flying over it in absolute silence. This is a new level of luxury that, I dare say, has never been experienced at sea.”
Candela's compact 'C-Pod' motor system actually includes twin submerged motors that use direct-drive to counter-rotating propellers. The C-Pod itself, however, contains no transmission and therefore produces little noise and requires no maintenance. The motor is efficient for its size, drawing just 25kW when cruising at 20 knots (23 mph). It also requires little maintenance with a 3000 hour service window.
According to Eklund, “For commercial operators to go electric, we knew the service aspect was important. No matter if you run a taxi boat business or if you’re a superyacht captain – our aim is to minimize maintenance and to provide hassle-free ownership.”
The P-8 Voyager is expected to begin production in late 2022.
You can get a quick look at the new P-8 Voyager in the video below: