Polestar’s Batteries Will Power Electric Boats That Hover Above the Water

Polestar’s Batteries Will Power Electric Boats That Hover Above the Water
Contributor: Adam Ismail

The technology that’s changing cars will, in time, change boats — you know, the cars of the sea. Polestar, a Swedish maker of electric vehicles, has entered a partnership with Candela, a Swedish maker of electric boats, to supply its battery technology to seafaring travellers.

If you’re not familiar with Candela, frankly neither was I — but the company has some interesting ideas. Its boats use hydrofoils to glide above the surface of the water. The tech is fascinating to watch in motion, even if it’s not strictly new.

However, Candela doesn’t employ hydrofoils for the visual gimmick. The company prefers them because, by keeping the boat’s hull out of the water, the drive system doesn’t need to be as powerful, nor energy storage as plentiful. There’s no extra oomph required to muscle through ocean, and so Candela’s watercraft skates along very smoothly and efficiently. Here are the numbers, in the startup’s own words:

Flying above the waves on computer-controlled hydrofoils – underwater wings – Candela’s craft use 80% less energy than conventional boats, which translates into far longer range and higher speeds on pure battery power.

What makes hydrofoils so effective is the dramatic reduction in drag. A typical planing hull has a 4-to-1 lift-to-drag ratio, while the Candela C-8 has a 20-to-1 lift advantage. Cruising at 20 knots, the C-8 can fly for 50 nautical miles on its 44 kWh battery – 2-3 times longer than conventional electric speedboats with 300% bigger batteries.

Those are big gains, but Candela is a young company just getting off the ground, no pun intended. Its first production boat, the C-8, is already very popular and received plenty of orders, and it needs to work through filling them as quickly as possible. Polestar’s cooperation should help that along. They seem like similar companies, too; if you compare the branding on the side of Candela’s R&D prototype above with Polestar’s own, there’s an uncanny resemblance. Maybe that’s just how they do it in Sweden.

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