By: Scott Way
The difference between land and see continues to blur as Austrian yacht manufacturer Silent Yachts has partnered with Volkwagen to incorporate their MEB electric drive technology into a superyacht concept.
The yacht itself is designed by Cupra, a high performance car brand borne from Volkswagen's Spanish SEAT automotive group. Cupra fancies itself a multi-platform brand more than strictly automotive based, and as such it seems reasonable they and Silent Yachts have found common ground (or water, as it were). The foray into superyachts isn't a novel concept as other high-end performance automotive brands have dipped their toes into the yachting lifestyle, but in this instance a few visionary features blend atypical automotive stylings with functional marine concepts that show great promise for alternatively-powered vessels of the future.
Silent Yachts, for its part, will develop the solar-powered catamaran around the MEB electric drive unit, which was designed for vehicles including the Volkswagen ID4 SUV, the ID Buzz Microbus, and several other industry EV's (electric vehicles). VW Group made the MEB unit available to third parties in 2019, which resulted in other EV's like the ID Buggy and a Ford EV Concept. The high efficiency MEB unit will now find its way into the superyacht industry.
The platform is intentioned to support dual-motor all-wheel drive in terrestrial vehicles, but in the yacht concept will be allocated towards turning the catamaran's dual propellers. Silent Yachts' photovoltaic solar system will harness and store solar energy in the MEB's integrated battery packs, which will then propel the vessel and power its onboard amenities.
We couldn't get conformation, but it appears like concept boat is based off the Silent 55 design, which is a 23-ton catamaran with a 27'7" beam and an asking price of €1.97 Mio (about $2.65 million US). If that seems steep, a new Vollkwagen ID4 EV will get you cruising for around $40,000 USD.
You can get a look at the capabilities and unique design features of the Silent 55 in the video below: