Cars aren’t the only vehicle getting an electric makeover these days.
The Netherland-based company Soel Yacht revealed an electric yacht that runs on solar power in 2015, and the
The yacht, dubbed the SoelCat 12, has a total lithium battery capacity of 120kWh and can operate six hours at eight knots speed on batteries alone.
The company also refers to the yacht as “autonomous,” however, that doesn’t mean it steers itself. Rather, the boat is autonomous in the sense that it is capable of supplying its own energy (via the solar array) required for the electric propulsion system.
The Soel Yacht 12 has a captain on board just like normal vessels, David Czap, one of the yacht’s designers, told Business Insider.
The vessel is 39 feet long, holds up to 24 passengers, and can reach speeds between six to 15 knots.
The sleek looking solar electric catamaran starts pricing at about $US600,000, but the company isn’t necessarily targeting just wealthy customers who want a private yacht.
Rather, the solar-powered mini-yacht is meant to offer a better way for travellers to get around when they are on vacation.
As climate change concerns grow, more people have embraced ecotourism — environmentally responsible and sustainable travel to natural areas.
And while resorts have adopted all kinds of green initiatives, there hasn’t been as much attention paid to making hotel and tour transport sustainable, Joep Koster, designer and architect at Soel Yachts, said in a press statement.
Koster, a naval architect, and his business partner Czap are no stranger to the electric boat industry.
In fact, Czap cofounded Czeers Solarboats in 2006, which was the company responsible for creating the first solar powered speedboat. He then went on to found another company called Naval DC in 2008, which focuses on developing solar electric propulsion systems. Naval DC and SoelYachts worked together to make the solar powered catamaran.
The company had originally planned to launch the boat in 2016, but was delayed. The company says it is currently building the first SoelCat 12 at a shipyard in Auckland, New Zealand and will ship the unit in July to a resort in French Polynesia. Beginning in September, the resort will begin using the vessel to transport guests, the company said.