Cannes Yachting Festival will serve as the backdrop for Volvo Penta’s unveiling of a new take on its Saildrive system – an electric Saildrive prototype. Offering the prospect of onboard comfort, near-soundless, low vibration operation, and silent mooring, the initiative is a collaboration with long term boat building partner, Fountaine Pajot. A twin installation of the electric prototype has been fitted to a Lucia 40 catamaran.  

The technology behind the electric Saildrive is based on Volvo Group’s proven designs for electromobility – and many components are shared. Li-ion battery packs power an electric motor, which in turn drives the Saildrive propeller. The system offers more power and torque at low speeds compared to a similar diesel engine.

The onboard amenities – including air-conditioning – can be powered from the system’s battery packs – in silence for up to 12 hours. This will not only ensure an enhanced experience in nature but also a good night’s sleep.

Depending on speed and sea conditions, the technology has the potential for up to four hours/20 nautical miles of zero-emission electric cruising, perfect for when operating in sensitive or restricted areas. A more typical scenario would be to use the electric Saildrive for maneuvering into and out of harbours, and for powering ‘hotel’ loads (amenities onboard like air conditioning, etc).

Volvo Penta’s Electronic Vessel Control 2 (EVC2) system with Volvo Penta’s latest controls and a new driver interface that manages navigation and battery monitoring has been adapted for a Saildrive application.

Technical specs of the Lucia 40 demo boat:

  • Quiet mooring up to 12 hours from battery power (e.g. no genset running to power air conditioning).
  • Responsive low-speed maneuvering with high torque/thrust.
  • Electric propulsion 2×15 kW:
    • Electric range approx. 27 NM@5 knots and 17 NM@6 knots.
    • Top speed 8 knots, max 1 hour.
    • 2x 5 kW chargers.
    • Genset 2×7.2 kW.
  • Batteries 2x20kWh, Charging time 3h.
  • Defined drive cycle scenarios (E.g. 24/7 Charter, ½ Week charter, Weekend, etc.).
  • Volvo Penta’s latest Electronic Vessel Control System, EVC 2, combined with a unique interface for electric propulsion in the Glass Cockpit System.

Want to see more? Watch the video here: