Swedish EV-boat startup Candela successfully tested their C8 hydrofoil on the waters outside Lidingö earlier this month and the footage gives a clear idea of their approach to getting through the water efficiently: Getting out of the water.
The hyrdofoil isn’t a new concept. They go back to the late 19th century and even Alexander Graham Bell built one. Using a hydrofoil as the basis for an electric-boat makes a lot of sense because of the inherent efficiency of pushing through air instead of water.
A giant tanker is efficient because the ocean provides lift for the ship and, if you’re not in a huge hurry to accelerate, you can push it slowly up to a speed and glide through the water. This doesn’t work as well for a small boat you want to take your family out on the lake and have fun with.
A hydrofoil works essentially the same way any lifting body (like a plane wing) does and brings part of the boat out of the water. By reducing the drag a boat can be faster and more efficient. Unfortunately, batteries are not anywhere near as dense as liquid fuel so every little gain helps.
The Candela C-8’s other key feature, other than being a hydrofoil, is its pair of tiny electric “C-POD” pod motors. These are direct-drive motors and simple and straightforward. This compact design allows the pods and foils to be retracted so an operator can bring it into a shallow port.
Candela is still a startup and the price tag is a whopping $330,000, which is a lot of money for a boat with a range of about 50 nautical miles. An Antares Fly 11 can be had for that much and can do much more.
But that’s not the point, is it? Electric boats should be cheaper to use, quieter in operation, and much better for the environment than their combustion-powered equivalents.
Plus, this boat looks rad as hell.