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Swedish Electric Boat Maker Aims to Bring Electric Boats to High-Volume Production

27th August 2021
The C8 is absolutely silent, 95% cheaper to drive and sporting the longest electric range of any boat in history says builder Candela
The C8 is absolutely silent, 95% cheaper to drive and sporting the longest electric range of any boat in history says builder Candela. The new model has a top speed of 30 knots and a range of 50 nautical miles.

Candela the Swedish electric boat maker is aiming to bring electric boats to high-volume production but for now the cost of the new electric range remains high with the costs of its new C8 range estimated to be €295,000 for the eight-metre boat.

The C-8 has a top speed of 30 knots and a range of 50 nautical miles. 

Building on its first, successful sports craft, the Candela C-7, the Swedish tech company is now launching its second-generation hydrofoiling leisure boat: the Candela C-8, a larger and more comfortable craft designed to bring electric boats to the wider market.

- With the C-7, we demonstrated that our hydrofoil technology not only allows for long range on electricity, but also provides a better experience than conventional boats. In a hydrofoil boat, you get a smoother, nicer ride. However, the C-7 was more like a hand-built sports car; never intended for volume production, says Gustav Hasselskog, Candela’s founder and CEO.

- With the new C-8, we’re pushing the technology to the next level, and at the same time focusing on making a boat that has all the comfort you would expect, while designing it for efficient mass production.

At 8,5 metres length, the C-8 features all the amenities anticipated in a premium cruiser: A large, comfortable cockpit with seating for eight persons, a big sunbed, a spacious front cabin equipped with beds for two adults and two kids, and a marine toilet.

99% cheaper to own

At 290 000 euros excluding VAT, the C-8’s asking price is on par or lower than many conventional fossil fuel powerboats in the 28-29-foot range.

However, once purchased, the C-8 is virtually free to own and use. Thanks to the company’s efficient hydrofoil system, the cost of driving Candela C-8 is 95% lower than for combustion engine boats.

Equipped with the newly launched Candela C-POD direct-drive pod motor, the C-8 requires neither oil changes nor regular maintenance. The C-Pod is rated for 3 000 hours service-free use, which is the equivalent to 50-100 years of recreational boating – without any maintenance whatsoever.

Candela C-POD direct-drive pod motorThe Candela C-POD direct-drive pod motor

When moored, the C-8’s hydrofoils can be retracted above the waterline, minimizing growth and the need for antifouling.

- It’s basically free boating, and hassle-free boating, for the first time in history, says Gustav Hasselskog.

Longest electric range ever

The C-8 features a new and improved version of Candela’s revolutionary hydrofoiling technology that cuts energy consumption by 80 % compared to conventional boats, thereby allowing long all-electric range at high speeds.

Combined with Candela’s newly developed drive train, the C-POD, the C-8 can cruise for longer distances than any electric powerboat before it: over 50 nautical miles on battery power at a speed of 22 knots. The C-POD makes the C-8 the most efficient powerboat ever. At a speed of 22 knots, it only draws 16 kW/21 hp from the battery. For comparison, a conventional, planing, 28-foot cabin cruiser is typically equipped with a 300-horsepower gasoline outboard motor.

Elevated driving

Candela C-8 is designed to be the first totally silent motorboat. Unlike other motorboats, there’s no transmission noise and no sound from waves hitting the hull. Only the faint whisper of the wind will remind you that you’re cruising at a speed of 30 knots.

The C-8’s Flight controller automatically and instantly adjust the foils to keep the boat level and steady, even in adverse weather conditions. In an industry-first for leisure boats, the C-8 is equipped with true fly-by-wire steering and has Autopilot features for more relaxed driving over long distances. When the driver lets go of the wheel, the boat will automatically steer the set compass course. More features will follow as the C-8, like every Candela, is upgradeable Over-The-Air.

Candela C8 cockpitCandela C8 cockpit

- With all learnings from C-7, a new, even more efficient foil system has been developed for C-8. A planing boat has a lift to drag ratio of 4, a seagull is at 10 and an albatross, with its long sleek wings at 20. C-7 reached 15. With quite some re-thinking, C-8 ended up at 17, making it the most efficient boat ever.

- Maybe even more important, we put a lot of effort into understanding how to translate the feeling of a very tight driving experience into mechanics, electronics and software. To shorten the system’s reaction times we developed our own height sensors. Also, we have taken out the mechanical play of the entire system. In terms of driving experience, it is a world of a difference – the boat reacts to changes in the steering wheel within a split second.

- Take-off is where we use the most energy, so equipping a foiling boat with a really good planing hull actually makes sense. I think we have pushed the hull performance as far as is possible, says Gustav Hasselskog.

The Candela engineering team has also spent considerable effort on optimizing the C-8’s hull. Using advanced CFD, the C-8’s stepped hull is designed to use very little energy from standstill up until 16 knots, which is when the boat becomes foilborne.

Fully integrated experience

The Swedish tech company employs 25+ engineers from various fields, such as mechanical engineering, control systems, machine learning, software, electronic engineering and hydrodynamic design.

All sub-systems and software in C-8 are developed in house, making for a seamless human-machine interaction.

All settings – from turning on the cooler to navigation – are controlled from the 15,4” inch screen running Candela’s proprietary user interface. The Candela app lets the owner control the boat’s various systems from ashore.

"Making an integrated user experience was really important for us. We don’t rely on third party suppliers for software and we make most hardware ourselves. This may be the iPhone moment for boats," says Gustav Hasselskog.

Boosted by large investments from the TED foundation’s Chris Anderson among others, Candela has been able to scale up R&D at an exponential rate over the past two years. The C-8 project was initiated to finally bring electric boats to the masses.

Combining a price that is on par with fossil fuel boats with the benefits of electric hydrofoiling - superior seakeeping, total silence, very low operating costs, zero maintenance and a seamless user experience – Candela is expecting C-8 to be the first electric boat that will outsell fossil fuel competitors by a wide margin.

"We believe we will make several thousand Candela C-8’s over the coming years", says Gustav Hasselskog. Once you have tried it, you realise that this is the way boats must look like in the future.

Candela C-8 production starts this autumn at the company’s Stockholm factory, and the first customers will take delivery during spring 2022.

C-8 Facts

  • Length 8,5 meters
  • Beam 2,5 meters
  • Speed 22-24 knots cruising, 30 knots max
  • Battery 44 kWh lithium ion
  • Range 50+ nautical miles
  • Motor Candela C-POD, 55 kW
  • Max take-off load 815 kg
  • Draft 0,5 m in shallow mode (foils retracted)
  • 0,8 m while foiling
  • Charging time 2 hours, with 3-phase charging
  • Accommodation Sleeps 2 adults, 2 children, seats for 6+2 people
  • Selected options
  • Cooler
  • Fresh Water shower
  • Marine toilet with septic tank
  • Underwater LED lights for foil illumination
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About Electric outboard engines

The direct-drive component in electric outboard engines means that the electric motors are incredibly efficient compared to conventional marine combustion motors, operating with considerably higher torque whilst using less power.

Without any need for gears, cooling systems and moving parts the motors are maintenance free, highly efficient and economic to run.

As a result, electric boat engines are becoming more popular on Irish waters as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy.

To date, popular electric engine sizes have been trolling engines typically used by fishermen on lakes.

These marine engines are available in models that can be used in fresh water and sea water, for your boat or kayak.

Electric motors are Ideal for fishermen because they are quiet and create little in the way of disturbance 

Popular electric trolling models range from 30lb thrust to 55lb thrust in a range of shaft lengths.

But use is becoming broader now in 2021 and electric outboard engines are being used on small runabouts and RIBS where electric outboard engine sizes are getting bigger.

Outboard electric engines are economical and environmentally friendly. Battery technology is also improving at a rapid rate meaning they are becoming smaller and lighter and run for longer.

Built in hydro-generation provides alternative recharging options whilst under sail are also options meaning the electric outboard now has a home on the stern on small yachts and dayboats too.

As far back as 2014, Torqeedo owner Jack O'Keefe from Cork Harbour told Afloat readers of his sailing adventures in a Drascombe Coaster dinghy and how after swapping from a petrol version the rewards from his new electric outboard engine are less noise, no smells, more stowage, better sailing performance and a motor that can be started by a small child. But it's still not silent, there's a whine he says here 

Popular brands in Ireland are Torqeedo, ePropulsion, Pulsar and Minn Kota but there are more arriving all the time as the technology advances

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