Volkswagen has been working with Silent Yacht since 2019. Their project aims at building an electric yacht, which will use VW’s Modularer Electrobaukasten (MEB) platform. The electric boat will hit the ocean in 2022, according to media reports.
The electric boat, known as Silent Yacht 50, will not be the Australian builder’s first alternative-energy yacht. In 2009, Heike and Michael Kohler, the founders of Silent Yachts, launched their first solar-powered yacht. This yacht uses solar energy to propel the boat and power all equipment on the ship. The boat, Solarwave 46, has been a successful creation, with over 400 employees on board. According to Volkswagen, using the MEB means “maintenance and servicing are reduced compared to a conventional yacht, as the electric drive system is less susceptible to repair than conventional engines.”
The batteries, inverters, and electric motors used in the Silent Yacht 50 will be sourced from Volkswagen. Few changes will be done on the inverter to be programmed to suit a ship’s power needs. Alterations on the software will also go a long way in ensuring interfaces are compatible with the Yacht. Up to six batteries with a total output of 500kiloWatts will be used on this boat.
This project is an indication that even in the ocean, the use of clean energy is possible. VW said this is proof that “driving pleasure, long ranges, quiet cruising, and clean mobility is also possible on the high seas.” The boat will have a back-up diesel generator onboard to counter power shortages in case of emergencies.
The Silent Yacht will be designed by the Spanish automobile designer, Cupra. The company, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is headquartered in Abrera, Spain. The team at Cupra “had to think in completely different terms of dimensions, proportions, and surfaces,” said Volkswagen. The results are promising, with the yacht bringing a sleek model ready to hit the waves as soon as possible. After launching the Silent Yacht 50, the ship-builder will scale up production in the coming years to see an annual target of not less than 50 ships.
Other motor manufacturers embracing the EV boats include BMW and Toyota. Toyota partnered with Yanmar to come up with an electric boat that uses Toyota’s Mirai powertrain. BMW partnered with an electric boat manufacturer, Torqeedo, to launch an electric yacht. The German boat maker used BMW’s i3 and i8 electric car modules to power the new boat. Lamborghini has partnered with an Italian yacht maker to build a luxury yacht priced at $3 million. The yacht, Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63, adds to the company’s high-end automobiles, this time providing a luxurious experience in the ocean.