Over the past few years we have seen more and more exciting electric tenders hit the market and are confident this much needed trend will continue.
Each year we see more electric tenders hit the market which is very encouraging for the industry. To be fair, I believe most of this innovation is coming from our Scandinavian brothers and sisters with northern Europe also putting in a good show. We believe that some lakes and inland waterways in these regions actually ban gasoline or diesel engines on boats, so this seems to be a main driving force. However, I would think that these regions are also up on the use of most types of electric vehicles.
That being said, there are British and western European designers coming forward and offering electric packages on some of their traditional platforms.
What the world wants now is a solid state lithium product. But that is about 4-5 years away. In the interim, the scientists at MIT are working on ways to come up with a different answer. Until then, in the consumer watercraft world, lithium batteries as we know them will continue to propel us. The good news is that the battery capacity to deliver the travel range boaters want, increases every year. And as result, the price per kilowatt is also decreasing.
Whilst talking to some prominent designers and electric tender manufacturers, we hear that the next big thing is super-charging up to 150 kW, similar to speeds available for advanced cars today. This will allow boats to charge in something like 30 minutes.
Today, most boats have onboard chargers that convert the AC- power from a regular 3-phase outlet to DC-power for the battery. Super-charging, or DC-DC charging, can remove the bottleneck of the onboard charger and charge the boat at a speed that is five times faster, if not more. We know that Vita Yachts in cooperation with Hydro CIRCLE have installed power units in some dock areas around the Cote d’Azur, in a way taking the lead from the Tesla charging stations you see, but this technology needs to be more visible in the marinas around the globe.
Another comment that we are hearing is that while the electric tender industry has already made fantastic progress when it comes to speed and range, technology is evolving so quickly at the moment, that we predict the coming generation of electric tenders will not only be customisable, but also a lot faster and able to travel even greater distances.
But let’s face it, the average tender needs to ferry guests for about 10 minutes from the mothership to the quay side, deliver them in a dry and comfortable state and then toddle back to base camp. Then when the radio comes to life, scoop the guests up and deliver them back safely for another night cap in the mothership. Keep the RIB for the fun water sports, or if you are that good maybe look at the new electric Super Air Nautique GS22E. Instant torque delivered straight to the prop and about 2-3 hours of fun.
So, the answers are there but will our owners buy in to this new and much needed revolution? How many owners drive an electric road car I wonder? Have faith though, there is serious enthusiasm and some brilliant minds at work to make this happen.