Home Taxi transport Candela’s electric hydrofoil boats attract $ 24 million investment in cleaner seas...

Candela’s electric hydrofoil boats attract $ 24 million investment in cleaner seas bid – TechCrunch


Candela makes an unusual style of craft called an airboat, which glides over the sea on fins for a smoother, more efficient ride – doubly unusual, in fact, in that it’s electrically powered. The company has raised $ 24 million to accelerate the production of its existing small boats and of a larger commercial one, in search of cleaner and generally more sustainable waters.

The principle on which these boats operate is actually quite simple to understand. As a boat moves through water it tends to propel itself up and forward, and in a traditional watercraft – especially in rough seas – this causes the boat to bounce up and down on water as you go.

Hydrofoil watercraft also lift, but unlike a normal keel boat, the watercraft has a set of sturdy, blade-like fins attached to the powertrain and a horizontal fin below. At cruising speed, the boat lifts up on these fins so that they are the only objects underwater, dramatically reducing drag and choppy water and increasing engine efficiency as a result.

Of course, there are consequences to having your boat standing on its fins like this, not least it seems a bit odd (boaters are very aware of these things). But practically the main problem is probably that the turns tend to… well, tip the boat sideways due to the abnormally high center of gravity. Fortunately, this potentially dangerous trend is being managed preemptively in Candela boats.

“When you turn left in a Candela, she leans to the left and you will be pushed down in your seat, not to the side like in a hovering boat. This coordinated turn is performed by the on-board software, which regulates the foil’s angle of attack 100 times per second. The foil is therefore constantly moving, in real time, to balance the boat, ”explains a representative of the company in response to my question. Although he compared it to a fighter jet, it might be easier to think of an all-wheel-drive system that constantly monitors slip and anticipates such factors during a car’s turns.

Solving this problem makes the hydrofoil a viable alternative to a traditional hull, which in turn solves one of the problems inherent in electric watercraft: poor range. Personal watercraft face incredible resistance from the environment they move in, and at high speeds, even the best batteries will run out much sooner than a tank of gas.

Thoroughly designing the entire boat around the engine and reducing every gram of weight, like Zin Boats does, is one approach to making these batteries last, but if you can increase the efficiency by half with something like hydrofoil, you are going overboard. any other boat in the same class almost without trying.

These boats actually exist, but only a handful of them today. Candela started with the C-7 outboard prototype and made several improvements with the larger C-8, currently in pre-production with the first boat around 80 percent complete and delivery of the first series scheduled for spring. Before you take the money out, let’s be clear here: this machine is aimed squarely at the ultra-rich, with a price tag of € 290,000 before starting to add options like a hard top.

But while the company hopes to sell as many as possible to the crowds in Monaco and Dubai, the greatest opportunity may be in public transport, of all things. Ferries are critical infrastructure for cities around the world, but it’s often old diesel vehicles that pollute the air and water around them. Candela aims to replace them with her 30-passenger P-30.

3D model of Candela's P-30 passenger ship.

Image credits: Candela

The company plans to launch the P-30 in Stockholm in 2023, where it hopes it will run for 40% less, move faster, quieter and wave-free. They even plan to make it stand-alone at some point, although we’ll address that ambition when it’s actually attempted. With an expected range of 60 miles per charge, the P-30 should be able to make multiple trips without stopping and plug into a fast charger at the terminals without much disruption.

Replacing fleets of commercial ferries and water taxis with cleaner alternatives could be a big step in improving local water quality and reducing municipal contributions to pollution. Many coastal and bay towns could use something like this and might be willing to pay a premium to be recouped in the form of lower running costs and general goodwill.

The $ 24 million round was led by EQT Ventures, with participation from TED curator Chris Anderson. The money will be used to expand the R&D team and increase production with automated tools.

“We have shown that our hydrofoil technology is the key to making electric boats commercially viable. We are seeing unlimited demand for the Candela C-8, as well as huge interest in our commercial vessels, ”Candela CEO Gustav Hasselskog said in a press release. “The investment from EQT Ventures will allow us to double our mission to accelerate the transition to fossil fuel-free lakes and oceans. It took us four years to develop the technology and two more years to master it. We are now ready to move quickly. “

These are all still toys for the filthy rich, but at one point so were electric cars. A few more years and electric boats might be just as affordable as traditional boats, not much, but much less than a house. If that ends up helping to keep our waterways, lakes and oceans cleaner, I totally agree.

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