Energica Developing Electric Jet Engines For Megayachts

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An Italian company called Sealence has designed a new jet propulsion drive system called DeepSpeed that is fully electric, efficient enough for long-range sea voyages, and — crucially — big enough to be able to power some of the largest classes of megayachts in the world. Of course, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and to heal Sealence get that evidence, the company has enlisted the superbike engineers at Energica to help develop DeepSpeed.

If you’re not familiar with Energica, you should be. In addition to winning numerous awards, Energica is also the exclusive single supplier for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, a sort-of feeder series into MotoGP and home of some seriously fast, triple-digit HP rides (and riders!).

For its part, Energica seems genuinely motivated to apply its EV powertrain know-how to the DeepSpeed’s development. “We are very proud of this new all-Italian collaboration that will bring us to the marine market,” offers Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company S.p.A. “[Italy] is fast becoming the epicenter of extraordinary electric innovation. Sealence although a young company has been able to establish itself in a very short time. The synergy of skills between our companies is only the first step towards new eco-sustainable industrial scenarios.”

Sealence electric yacht
Image courtesy of Sealence

The powertrain layout seen in the concept art shown by Sealence (above) will seem familiar to those with a general knowledge of electric cars. The batteries are mounted low, with a controller somewhere up front, and cables feeding electrons to a pair of electric motors. Most people in the industry believe that Energica would be working to develop Sealence’s batteries. Ride Apart’s Justin Hughes writes that, “Energica’s current batteries can hold up to 21.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which propel their bikes up to 249 miles in low-speed, stop-and-go city riding. That’s farther than many traditional motorcycles have between fill-ups.” And while that makes sense, it may not be the case.

Consider that it’s those “jet” engines under the yacht are that are the big news, and remember that Energica likes big news. I’d expect to see Energica do its best to get all over those, and maybe see one make its way into some kind of Energica-built personal watercraft/jet ski sort of deal.

If that did indeed happen, you could expect a future Energica DeepSpeed ski to be very, very quick. Look at how the DeepSpeed compares, efficiency-wise, to more conventional propeller and ICE jet systems in this (admittedly Sealence-provided) graph, below.

Graph courtesy of Sealence

I mean, those lines mean something, right? They’re not just arbitrarily drawn marketing hokum — surely!

All of which is to say that while the company is making a lot of claims about the ability of its DeepSpeed engine to offer many of the benefits of a conventional hydrojet system without the need for a static inlet or massive amounts of efficiency-sapping cooling, the company’s own site seems a bit — let’s go with “lacking” — in terms of real world data and technical explanations of the DeepSpeed itself. So, while it doesn’t seem quite as ludicrous and scammy as Elio Motors did, it looked like it might have been the same kind of duck before Energica stepped in.

That’s my take, anyway — what’s yours? Does Energica’s involvement make the company’s dubious graphs seem more plausible to you, or are you already enough of a believer in electric marine solutions that this one just sort of makes obvious sense? Let us know in the comments.

Sources | Images:  Sealence, Energica, via Ride Apart and Jalopnik.

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