The Future of Electric Watercraft Takes Flight with Candela’s Hydrofoiling Ferry
The future of transportation is going electric, and Candela, a Swedish-based company, is leading the charge in electrifying watercraft. Candela has recently unveiled its P-12 hydrofoiling craft, a revolutionary vessel that has the potential to transform passenger ferries into cleaner and quieter modes of transportation. This innovative electric ferry recently took its inaugural “flight” on the waters of Stockholm, marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey towards sustainable marine transportation.
Hydrofoiling Technology: Inspired by Fighter Jets
Candela’s hydrofoiling boats are part of a new wave of watercraft that draw inspiration from high-tech aircraft. Similar to fighter jets, these vessels use an underwater “wing” to generate lift, reducing water resistance and increasing efficiency. The advanced stability control systems, akin to those found in fighter aircraft, automatically adjust the angle of attack on the underwater wing at an astounding rate of 100 times per second. This responsive system ensures a stable and smooth ride, even in the face of turbulence and weight shifts.
The P-12: The Next Generation of Electric Ferries
The P-12 is Candela’s institutional follow-up to its leisure craft, the P-8. Designed to seat up to 30 people, the P-12 aims to replace or complement larger ferries currently powered by diesel engines or generators. These conventional ferries, although reliable and powerful, have a significant environmental impact, consuming large amounts of fuel and polluting the waters they navigate. Smaller ferries and water taxis, which operate on the outskirts of profitability due to high fuel and maintenance costs, are also prime candidates for electrification.
Reducing Carbon Emissions and Environmental Impact
According to an EU study, watercraft like ferries contribute approximately 3-4% of global CO2 emissions. This number is expected to double by the middle of the century if no action is taken. The introduction of electric ferries, such as Candela’s P-12, presents an opportunity to significantly reduce carbon emissions and minimize the impact on waterways and marine life. By bypassing speed restrictions designed to prevent wave damage, these hydrofoiling vessels generate minimal turbulence, allowing for a smoother and eco-friendly sailing experience.
The Advantages of Candela’s P-12
With a top speed of 30 knots and a range of up to 100 km (about 62 miles), the P-12 is well-equipped to serve as an alternative mode of transportation for pedestrian routes. Cities like Stockholm, already committed to supporting clean energy initiatives, are embracing the shift to electric boats. The P-12 offers significant cost savings compared to traditional fuel-powered vessels, with Candela estimating the operational cost to be only 10% of an equivalent fuel-powered vessel. Additionally, the P-12 requires minimal maintenance and can be operated by a single person, further enhancing its economic viability.
A Step Towards a Sustainable Future
Candela’s Erik Eklund emphasizes that the P-12 and similar electric vessels are not merely providing a more comfortable and faster alternative to fossil fuel-powered boats. These innovative watercraft enable operators to transition to sustainable vessels that are not only cost-effective but also profitable. By investing in electric ferries like the P-12, the maritime industry takes a crucial step towards cleaner oceans and lakes.
Collaboration and Competition in the Electric Watercraft Industry
While Candela and Navier, another startup focusing on hydrofoiling electric boats, may be considered competitors, their joint efforts are vital in meeting the growing global demand for electric watercraft. These small startups are working towards a common goal of revolutionizing the maritime industry and promoting sustainable transportation. As the electrification of watercraft gains momentum, even larger ships and smaller boats are being targeted for conversion, ushering in a quieter and cleaner future on the water.