“The only difference between a combustion boat and ours is that our boat is quiet. At speeds below six or seven knots, it’s totally silent, like a kayak. This can take some getting used to, because just like with an electric car, you don’t have the sound of the engine kicking to life. And if you’ve owned a combustion boat, you know that you never drop the ropes until you start the engine. So, this is all you have to learn and adapt to – otherwise the Eelex is as simple as any other boat.”
Range & infrastructure
Just like with electric cars, some customers have concerns about range and may have charging anxiety, which isn’t entirely unexpected. But here’s the rub: many customers believe they go further and run more than they actually do.
“If you look at the typical day tender, you go maybe 15-20 minutes out to an island or to anchor so that you can swim for a few hours or whatever,” explains Christofer Rosengren. “What we have defined as a good cruising range fits most people for a tender boat, which is to be able to run at cruising speed for about an hour. This means about 20-22 knots for about 20-25 nautical miles with a top speed of around 30 knots.
“In fact, if you look at the Scandinavian market and how many hours a typical boat owner runs each season, it’s about 20-25 hours per season. In that sense, one hour is a lot – on the other hand, if you go low speeds, you can go 100 nautical miles. And our customers have told us that they used to like going very fast, but now they really just enjoy the silence of cruising at 5 or 6 knots – and this is the first time that sailors have been waving at speedboats!”
When it comes to keeping the boat charged, the infrastructure is growing, there is plenty of innovation, and the ecosystem is evolving. The EElex 8000 has 120kw of battery and typically a super-charger will give you power of 150kw, which is about 1-1 ½ hours. If you’re talking about the typical three face electrical outlet in Scandinavia, which most marinas already have, you can fully charge in about eight hours – so basically an overnight charge for what is essentially a day boat.
“We can absolutely contribute towards helping evolve the charging infrastructure,” says Christofer Rosengren. “Particularly in understanding how electric boats are used, what the typical range is, and what is the typical range you would like to have between charging stations – all this information will help in building up that infrastructure.
“We’ve been in discussion with the Gothenburg region on Sweden’s west coast, and they have already started to map out charging points in the southern archipelago. We’ve told them this is great work but to not limit it to super chargers, because those have an initial high cost. You really just need a regular outlet – and you need a lot of them, so there isn’t charging anxiety. Initially investing in a lot of ‘regular’ charging stations means they can learn and adapt as they go along. Our boat is completely connected and as the fleet grows there will be a lot of data to help build out the infrastructure in the best way possible.”
IoT & connectivity
X-Shore boats are fully connected, and this is beneficial to both the company and its customers. If there is an issue with the boat the X-Shore team can do the first analysis remotely, and because they can also upload all the software remotely, they are often able to fix issues without ever visiting the boat onsite.
“We also have the possibility to geo-fence, which is a great feature for boat sharing schemes and boat rental companies, because they typically want their customers to remain within certain areas,” says Christofer Rosengren. “Being able to geo-fence and also derate the boat, so it only goes maybe five knots, after which we can give warnings – it’s a great way to have control of the boat for these kinds of companies.”
It can also be challenging for boat sharing companies to figure out how to charge for service and maintenance and the boat’s configuration is already ready for those kinds of services. For the end customer, X-shore can upload all data, and will be able to offer digital products that can be downloaded in real time. If the boat is stolen, we have a GPS tracker, which means our boats are not very hot items for thieves, and also could positively impact insurance rates.”
The data collected by X-Shore is proprietary information for the customer and is fully compliant with all regulations, such as GDPR. It is transferred by a secure IoT gateway with 4G SIM cars.
Beyond the tech – let’s talk about luxury & sustainability
While X-Shore has put a lot of effort into developing the tech side of Eelex, they haven’t forgotten about the amenities. Chief Designer William Blomstrand designed super yachts for more than a decade, and he leads the team’s efforts to not just make sure customers are getting a cool and comfortable ride, but that the boat’s materials are in line with the company’s green profile.