The hydrofoil has a specially designed hull to help it rise out of the water.
The innovative new Candela C-8 electric boat has moved a step closer to series production after completing its first flight. And no, that isn’t a typo: welcome to the world of electric flying boats.
The new hydrofoil – basically a boat with a hull that’s designed to lift out of the water as it accelerates, reducing drag and allowing for greater speeds – is due to go on sale later this year, with its creators claiming it will make all other boats “obsolete”. Big claim, that.
The C-8 will be the fourth machine from the Swedish electric boat firm, following the P-12 water taxi, P-30 commuter ferry and C-7 sportsboat – but it’s by far the most ambitious.
The key technology is the hydrofoil hull designed to lift it out of the water at a speed off 16 knots (around 18mph, for any land lubbers). It can then cruise at speeds of up to 30 knots. Candela has now successfully tested that system for the first time with the P-01 prototype, in the waters near its base in Lidingö near Stockholm.
The machine was run at a cruise speed of 20 knots, and was described by company boss Gustav Hasselskog as bring “smooth, and very, very silent”. Hasselskog added that he hoped “we can drive the transition to emission-free boating at a very fast pace.”
Candela says that it is focused on a hydrofoil design because the amount of energy required to drive a conventional boat through the water would drain the largest feasible lithium-ion batteries in around 30 minutes. One the boat is ‘flying’, the C-8 uses 80 per cent less energy than a conventional boat, vastly improving the range.
Powered by a 44kWh battery, Candela claims the C-8 can travel at 20 knots for 50 nautical miles (92km), which it says is more than double conventional electric speedboats.
Candela also claims the stabilised hydrofoils leave no wake, while a digital flight control system helps to keep the boat level even in choppy water, further reducing the energy required.
The machine is powered by Candela’s own C-Pod motor, which produces 50kW. The machine also features fly-by-wire steering and an autopilot system, and will accept over-the-air updates so that more features can be added.
Candela claims that it has received more than 100 orders for the C-8 since it was revealed last year, with the machine priced at around £243,000 (AUD$450,000). First deliveries are due later this year, and the firm is aiming to achieve rapid mass production of around 400 units a year by 2023.