Once you leave your zero-carbon footprint home for a clean holiday using your long-range electric vehicle (EV), what’s better than arriving at your destination and finding yourself ready to continue your zero-emission journey on an electric boat? The idea of lounging and cruising quietly on lakes and seas on an electric pontoon is pretty tempting, and will soon be possible via the solar-powered Soel Yacht SoelCat 12.
The Solar-Powered Soel Yacht
The solar-powered Soel Yacht SoelCat 12 was designed by architect Joep Koster and business partner Czap, himself no stranger to the electric boat industry. Czap also cofounded Czeers Solar boats in 2006 and successively created the first solar-powered speedboat when he founded Naval DC in 2008, where he focused on developing solar electric propulsion systems. Naval DC and SoelYachts teamed up to make the solar-powered catamaran, dubbed the SoelCat 12.
The company says it is currently building the first solar-powered Soel Yacht SoelCat at a shipyard in Auckland, New Zealand. It says it will ship the unit in July to a resort in the French Polynesia. To which we say: we can go, we will go, and we have a European passport. Let us know when, how, and what seats you reserved for us.
In many ways, electric sea vessels powered by solar energy are the ideal electric transportation choice for faraway travel and exotic destinations. Since the Soel Yacht SoelCat 12 is seaworthy, this means it can take on almost any lakes you throw at it.
Although the company claims the yacht to be “autonomous,” this is really meant in the sense of energy independent (using a solar panel array for its electric propulsion system). Although it is “autonomous,” it does require a captain, as any normal vessels would.
The Solar-Powered Soel SoelCat 12 Yacht, Technically Speaking
With its two 60 kWh lithium-ion batteries, the total battery capacity is 120 kWh. That means the SoelCat 12 can operate for 6 hours at 8 knots, with a maximum speed of 14 knots. However, direct sun prolongs the duration to 7.5 hours. A “break-even speed” of 6 knots stretches the capacity to 24 hours, including at night (when there is no energy harvest from the solar array, of course).
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Vehicle to Home (V2H) tech are intelligently built-in feature, which turn your water vessel into a mobile power station able to power homes up to 15kVA. After cruising all day long on a sunny lake or sea, the SoelCat 12 can deliver power for up to 5 households in the evening, even in the most remote of places. And yes, you connect to and manage your solar energy SoelCat 12 through your smart device (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) on the craft’s guest Wi-Fi. As if!
If you think that islands like Fiji are the largest energy consumers per person — with 58% of sea transportation compared to cars, buses, and airplanes — sustainable alternatives for water travel are crucial to reduce enormous impacts on the local environment and planet.
As to how much for the solar-powered SoelCat 12 Yacht? The answer is about what you would expect from a first solar yacht from a startup: $600,000.
SoelCat 12 Yacht Tackles Sustainable Sea Transportation
Sustainable sea transportation is big business, and with partner Naval DC, Soel Yachts designed a solar electric naval drive propulsion into the SoelCat 12 which can handle saltwater and lakes. The company is launching the 16-person solar electric catamaran SoelCat 12 Yacht this week in Auckland, Australia. It will be later billed as a water taxi and as a watercraft for dive operations and reef excursions.
If you live in or will be near Auckland, Australia, how about trying for a free test drives/ride? You can register with Soel Yachts for test drives in Auckland on Sunday, June 25th. The SoelCat 12 will be open for the public, where you will be able to come on board and inspect the solar electric SoelCat 12. A cruise will be held from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. You can also contact the company directly: Soel Yachts B.V., Nieuwelaan 62, 2611RT Delft, NL.