Watch Candela’s fully electric hydrofoil boat in action

Candela Speed Boat has developed an electric pleasure boat with hydrofoils. The hydrofoils lift the boat from the water when sailing, thereby reducing resistance. The weight of the batteries on board is offset by ultra-light hull materials.

The company started developing the boat in 2015. At the end of 2016, a full-scale prototype was launched and, after some fine tuning, the target of more than 50 nautical miles per charge in 20 knots was reached. This is now said to be 50 nautical miles at 22 knots. According to Candela this has never been achieved by an electric pleasure boat before. The boat’s top speed is 30 knots. The first customer deliveries were completed in the spring of 2019.

Hydrofoil benefits

The achieved range is said to be about four times higher than other electric boats currently on the market and is close to or on par with combustion engine boats of the same size. Energy reduction is achieved by the use of:

  • Hydrofoils, which massively reduce the friction against the water compared to a planing boat.
  • An advanced control system that stabilizes the boat.
  • A very light design using carbon composites and design principles from the aviation industry.

The hydrofoils and batteries also ensure there is no slamming in moderate waves, no engine noise, almost no generation of wakes which preserves lakes and coast lines, and limited maintenance costs due to a less complex electric drive train.

According to Candela, hydrofoils combined with an electric motor allows for an 80 per cent reduction in energy consumption at speeds around 20 knots. The fully submerged hydrofoils also provide a smooth cruise without slamming and wake build-up which is beneficial for the local environment.

A retraction mechanism solves the issues met in shallow waters, while trailing and during storage. The front foils are retracted vertically and protected by a step in the hull. The aft foil is retracted through a double rotational movement and protected by the swim platform.

Ultra-light

Ultra-light hull materials are used to offset the battery weight and to further reduce the power needed. A carbon fibre single skin in hull, deck, hydrofoils and interiors reduces the weight of the boat, including 230 kg batteries and all equipment to less than 1350 kg. The hull weight is approximately 180 kg and the deck 60 kg.

Earlier this year, the company said it had sold 16 boats. On 27 August, the company stated on Facebook that it has sold out for 2020 and is working with a waiting list for 2021.

The boat was designed by experts with backgrounds from Eurocopter (structural composite engineering), Saab Gripen (flight control electronics), Artemis and Oracle racing (America’s Cup, hydrodynamics), Scania (transmission & hydraulics) and the Technical University of Denmark (dynamic modelling and software algorithms).

Watch the boat in action in the videos below.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.