Power catamaran

Multipower motors - Internal combustion engine vs Electric propulsion

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For the internal combustion engine - By Steven Guedeu

At the beginning of the 2000s, early models like the Maryland 37 or the Greenland 34 were considered more as trawler yachts. The Highland 35 changed that situation in 2005, followed by the Queensland 55 in 2009. These two powercats had increased power and were able to reach 20 knots. This meant that they started to become rivals to traditional powerboats. Based on his direct contact with customer demand, Steven justifies the choices made by the shipyard: “Sales of trawler yachts didn’t really take off: from 2013, our motoryacht range was created with several models from 37 to 44 feet capable of doing up to 25 knots. Our motoryacht customers, who are looking for speed and luxury, are not ready for electric power, because it won’t currently allow them to go fast over long distances. We have users in Florida who cover 300 miles a day to the Bahamas and don’t want to refuel there because of concerns over fuel quality. These range problems are common in many locations. Another significant factor is that an internal combustion engine is two to four times cheaper than an electric one, which makes a difference on the final bill. Given that it’s going to be the automobile industry that will drive down costs, we can only wait until progress is sufficiently convincing to follow suit with more affordable costs. The other problem is the after-sales service network. For us, delivering more than 80 motoryachts a year all over the world, the guarantee of an excellent after-sales service is crucial. We need agreements with major partners in this field such as Yanmar or Volvo. Moreover, it’s clear that customers, depending on where they are, prefer the engine brand that is best represented. In fact, in the motorboat sector, there are effective energy savings to be made by switching from a monohull to a multihull. If we take the example of the latest 67 MY, the two 435 HP engines mean that you can cruise at 20 knots, while this boat’s alter ego, an 80-foot monohull with an equivalent amount of habitable volume, will need twin 1,500 HP motors to go at the same speed - with an exponential increase in fuel consumption. That doesn’t mean that we’re not doing anything to be more environmentally friendly: we’ve been studying solutions for four years now, particularly in terms of solar panels, batteries and hydro-generators. These innovations will be seen on an upcoming 51-foot sailboat in preparation. This catamaran will have a total of nearly 2,000 W of photovoltaic power. For sailing multihulls, whose speed is more similar to that of a trawler yacht, the demand for an electric motorization is beginning to be felt, but it is still very anecdotal and there is the problem of the additional weight caused by the battery bank and a generator. A Lucia 40 has been equipped with Volvo electric engines, but these only allow for entering and leaving port, and 5 or 6 knots of speed. This isn’t an option for our ...

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