Swedish electric boat manufacturer Candela has just announced the successful completion of test flights for the Candela P-12. The flying electric ferry is now headed towards mass production ahead of its upcoming commercial rollout.
Candela’s electric hydrofoil pleasure craft are already well-known, often seen flying over the surface of the water on European waterways and even in many places in the US. The Candela C-8 electric speedboat, the company’s most advanced model to date, has set world records for endurance thanks to its incredibly efficient design.
By using computer-controlled hydrofoils to propel its boats out of the water, Candela can reduce the energy used by more than 80%. This means the boats can go the same distance with only 1/5 the battery, or 5 times the distance with the same battery, compared to many larger and more powerful electric boats.
Another advantage of hydrofoil operation is that it does not leave any danger behind the boat. In areas such as Venice where boats are required to travel slowly so as not to damage canal banks and buildings, Candela’s boats are allowed to travel at higher speeds.
The new Candela P-12 uses the same hydrofoil technology as the company’s other boats, but is supersized to fit up to 30 passengers. This makes the P-12 ideal for commercial use in yacht operations, as well as solving the main problem that has hindered the proliferation of commercial electric boats: short range.
The P-12 has a range of up to 100 km (62 mi or 54 nautical miles) from its 252 kWh battery. This is more than enough range to meet most coastal transportation needs. But more importantly for commercial ferries, it can also recharge quickly with DC fast charging, as we have seen employed by Candela’s other vessels on their record-setting endurance runs.
Candela’s boats also only require a typical automotive-style DC charging station, like you would find in a car parking lot. This means they can use existing dock infrastructure and low-cost chargers, unlike most commercial electric ferries, which require astronomically priced megawatt-level chargers. With more affordable chargers and the ability to use existing dock infrastructure, it becomes easier for operators to switch to electric ferries with minimal infrastructure investment.
The P-12 is so efficient that it can have a turnaround time of less than two minutes per ferry stop, even using existing dock infrastructure with its own extendable boarding ramp. This quick turnaround time is due to the thrust vectoring of Candela’s pair of C-POD motors, developed in-house to deliver a combined maximum power of 340 kW (456 hp). Thrust-vectoring provides agile maneuvering, even moving sideways when necessary.
According to Candela, “The P-12 is engineered to offer the same or lower initial investment costs for operators while increasing profits compared to conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) ships.”
The Candela P-12 is now entering mass production, after which it will sell for €1.7 million. According to the company, this is in line with the current cost of combustion engine-powered ferries today and is significantly lower than competing electric ferries. Additionally, lower operating expenses mean the ship is expected to cut operators’ costs per passenger kilometer by approximately 50%, in the same way that hybrid and electric buses have significantly helped transport companies reduce operating costs. .
As Eric Eklund, Candela’s director of commercial vessels, explains, “With the P-12, we are not only offering a faster, more comfortable electric alternative to fossil fuel-powered vessels. We enable operators to switch to cost-effective and profitable sustainable vessels, which is an important step towards cleaner oceans and lakes.
You can see the P-12 in action in the video below.
The new aircraft will be available in three variants: P-12 Shuttle, P-12 Business and P-12 Voyager.
The shuttle configuration can seat 30 passengers and sets a new standard for sustainable mobility with the lowest operating costs in the industry. It also has space for bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs to encourage integration of bicycles with public transportation.
The Business Edition of the P-12 features a premium interior with seating for 12 to 20 passengers as well as additional space for their luggage, and the highly adaptable Voyager Edition offers customers flexibility in interior design to suit both private leisure and commercial needs. Caters to both customers.
Various interior options available on different models
This is some James Bond material if I’ve ever seen it. Seems like it should have been in the previous movie. I know it’s meant to get us average Joes around in an affordable way, but that commercial version must be someone’s waterborne lair.
On a serious note, though, I’m liking the proliferation of hydrofoil electric boats. It is very logical to reduce your energy requirements by more than 80% just by taking the boat out of the water. I mean, I say “simplistically”, but certainly the magic that makes it work is anything but simple. Hats off to the folks at Candela who have made it so easy. As some of my readers may remember, I have tested some Candela hydrofoil electric boats in Sweden, and I can confirm that they are indeed bizarrely easy to drive. The test video is below for proof.
Taking this electrically powered hydrofoil watercraft technology to commercial operators is the obvious next step and I’m glad to see it finally happening.
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