December 14, 2022
Beneteau keeps adding to its line of electric powered boats with the announcement at the Salon Nautic de Paris this week that the Oceanis 30.1 and the First 44 sailing yachts will now be available with electric propulsion.
At the Cannes Yachting Festival of 2021 Beneteau announced its first entries into electric boating, with Jérôme de Metz, Groupe Beneteau Chairman and CEO, saying “There are new expectations and user habits, new ways of travelling and latest technologies: a new world of pleasure boating and marine leisure is coming into view on the horizon, and all of us throughout Groupe Beneteau are positioning ourselves to be the leading players in this new world.”
With the transition to electric for the Delphia Yachts and the announcement of the electric H2E from brand Four Winns powered by the Vision Marine e-Motion 180E outboard, the Groupe is becoming a force in electrification.
First 44: electric-hybrid and ‘circular’
Beyond decarbonizing propulsion, boat builders are also looking at ways to make everything involved in the making of their vessels as environmentally friendly as possible. This extends to not just the materials, but also the production processes and what will happen to the hull and other elements at the end of a boat’s useful life years down the road.
This is part of the ‘circular’ economy, based on three principles: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature.
The Beneteau First 44 takes on these challenges and was given the Boat Builder Award for Environmental Improvement in Manufacturing Process at METSTRADE in November. The hull is made entirely with ELIUM resin, made by Arkema, a composite that can be recycled during the dismantling of the boat through a process that separates the fiberglass from the resin. The resin becomes reusable to make new infusion parts for new boats.
Recyclable resin, FSC certified wood
The traditional teak on the deck of the First 44e has been replaced by iroko, a wood from forests in the Congo that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
The ELIUM and iroko both enable Beneteau to achieve the same performance and design excellence they are known for while moving to more sustainable materials and processes. With ELIUM resin, the performance of the boat and the sensations of the yachtsman remain identical. The iroko – which is used as thin layers of wood laminated together – has the same natural feel as teak, along with a similar natural aging and coloration.
For the propulsion, Beneteau worked with Torqeedo on a twin pod series-hybrid system. In a series hybrid system, all mechanical propulsion (as opposed to wind propulsion) is done by electric motors. In this case the two 12kW Torqeedo pods – that incorporate folding propellers – are powered by a 20-kWh battery bank.
The batteries can be recharged in port with standard shore charging systems and through hydrogeneration when the First 44 is under sail. The hybrid aspect is charging by an onboard Fischer Panda diesel generator.
The goal of the whole system is to provide sailors with a new way to enjoy being out in their boat that includes “silent motor sailing” where the electric motor is imperceptibly on to create apparent wind even in very light weather.
The Oceanis 30.1 is equipped with a Torqeedo Cruise 6.0 FP / Credit: Julien Gazeau
Beneteau, Torqeedo go all-electric for Oceanis 30.1
The Oceanis 30.1 is a lighter, smaller boat than the First 44 and designed for sailing on lakes and rivers, as well as coastal sailing and the occasional high sea adventure. For these kinds of sailing, an all-electric propulsion system is the greenest solution.
There is a single Torqeedo 6kW Cruise pod (≈14HP) with 48-volt batteries and an energy storage capacity of 5 kiloWatt hours. This provides a range of up to 6 hours at 4 knots, and there is no diesel genset. In this case the batteries can be recharged with shore power, hydrogeneration, or augmented by solar panels. If desired, a second 5kWh battery can be added to double the autonomy.
Commenting on the boats, Torqeedo CEO Fabian Bez said, “The partnership between Groupe Beneteau and Torqeedo continues to bring exciting new vessels to the marine market, expanding the opportunities for boaters to go 100% emission-free.”
It looks like these boats are just the beginning of an electric presence for Groupe Beneteau brands. Their Excess 15 catamaran is powered by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue saildrive system, and Delphia now has two 100% electric models, the Delphia 10 and the Delphia 11, with more on the way.