Candela's Electric Hydrofoil Vessel Showcased in the Maldives

PUBLISHED July 09, 2023

Sound pollution from motorboats is increasingly threatening the planet’s most biologically diverse and sensitive ecosystems, such as the Maldives. Swedish electromobility company Candela can address this with its foiling, whisper-quiet electric vessels.

This week, Candela visits Malé during The Eco Organization's Parallel event held from July 6 - 9 to showcase its technology.

Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems worldwide, but also among the most endangered. While climate change, ocean acidification, and fishing contribute to reef deterioration, anthropogenic noise (human-made noise pollution) has been increasingly acknowledged for its negative impact on coral reef ecosystems.

Motorboat sound pollution is a major — and often deadly — menace to the many species living around reefs.

In a 2022 study published in Nature, scientists at the Great Barrier Reef found that the sounds from small outboard engines rendered fish unable to respond to alarm odours with an antipredator response, making them vulnerable and passive.

When scientists at another part of the Great Barrier Reef experimented with limiting the number of boats within 100m of a reef, they found that fish offspring increased their likelihood of survival by 100%.

But there's hope that the oceans surrounding coral reefs could be a lot quieter in the future – at least that is the vision laid forth by Candela, the Swedish tech company behind the recently launched Candela P-8 Voyager, an 8-passenger electric hydrofoil vessel, which is dubbed the first “electric exploration vessel made specifically for zero-impact tourism in sensitive waters”.

Flying on computer-guided underwater wings, hydrofoils, the P-8 Voyager, and Candela's P-12 Shuttle craft for 30 passengers, barely create a discernible wake as they skim across the surface at 30 knots. The low wake is a testament to the vessel's energy efficiency, which in turn gives them unprecedented electric range and speed. For the coral reefs, this also means zero wake erosion, which otherwise is a threat, especially in shallow waters.

Powering the electric speedboat is the most silent marine motor ever– the company’s proprietary Candela C-POD motor. Its torpedo-shaped casing contains two permanent electric motors that directly drive the propellers, eliminating the need for a noisy mechanical transmission. Even at high speeds, the Candela C-POD is barely audible to the human ear.

”Conventional speedboats - such as tourist RIBs - use huge amounts of petrol, and as their hulls displace water, waves are formed that erode shorelines and damage coral reefs and other sensitive ecosystems. Other problems are oil leaks, exhaust emissions, and of course sound pollution. Candela P-8 Voyager addresses these problems while offering a better experience for passengers”, says Gustav Hasselskog, CEO and founder of Candela Technology, based in Stockholm.

Being 90-95% cheaper to run than combustion engine boats, the efficient P-8 Voyager and P-12 Shuttle also offer a clear incentive for tour boat operators that wish to switch to a more sustainable form of reef tourism.

Joining leaders and changemakers from across the Maldives during the Eco Organization's Parallel event, Candela's Head of commercial vessels Erik Eklund will lay forth Candela’s vision for silent, emission-free maritime transport and the company’s game-changing fleet of electric hydrofoil vessels, which currently is being built in Stockholm.

Stockholm-based Candela Technology AB is the world leader in hydrofoiling electric vessels. The company was founded in 2014 by engineer and business leader Gustav Hasselskog with the mission to accelerate the world's transition to fossil fuel-free lakes and oceans by developing electric vessels that outperform those powered by fossil fuels.

Candela's watercraft have wings (hydrofoils) that lift the hull above the water and reduce friction, using 80% less energy than conventional ships at high speed. This technology allows for long-range water travel solely on battery power, a first in the industry. Candela's hydrofoils also enable operators to transition to sustainable fleets by providing up to 50% lower operational costs.

At the heart of Candela's hydrofoil tech stack is the Flight controller, which automatically stabilizes the vessel during flight by regulating the foils, using sensors that gauge wave height and wind speed, among other factors. Even in rough weather, passengers experience 90% less g-forces than they would on a traditional boat. All Candela vessels are fully connected and receive over-the-air updates.

After five years of research and development, Candela began producing the world's first electric hydrofoil leisure boat in 2019, the Candela C-7 open "roadster of the seas". This was followed in 2021 by the high-volume market Candela C-8, which will be delivered to the first customers in spring 2023. Over 150 C-8 units have been sold to date, and the vessel has been lauded as a "game changer" by Motorboat and Yachting magazine, winning numerous awards including the 2022 European Powerboat of the Year award for its superior seakeeping, long range, and high speed.

In 2023, Candela is launching its first commercial vessel, the Candela P-12 Shuttle ferry. It is poised to set multiple world records for being the fastest and longest-range electric ship ever built, with a top speed of 30 knots and a range of up to 60 nautical miles. It will also be the most energy-efficient fast ship ever made in its size class. Substantial operational cost savings are expected. The first unit is water launched during summer 2023.

Candela is a technology company with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, employing over 200 engineers, technicians, and production staff. The company develops the entire tech stack, from the C-POD motor to the control system and carbon fiber hulls, in-house. Candela's two wholly-owned factories in Stockholm, Sweden, produce the Candela C-8 and P-12 vessels. The company also has leisure boat resellers in 12 countries and wholly-owned sales offices in San Francisco, USA, and Cannes, France.


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