From luxury catamarans to a foiling surfboard, these silent, stylish rides will get you on the water without needing a drop of fuel.
Electrification is coming fast to the automotive industry. Carmakers estimate that electric vehicles will account for 50 percent of new-car sales in the US by 2030, while in Europe, that number will be closer to 70 percent. On the water, the numbers of electric boats are much smaller, limited to a handful of intrepid builders who have managed to design battery-powered vessels with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a quality watercraft.
In honor of Earth Day, here are our top six choices of electric watercraft, ranging from solar-powered motoryachts that can wander the world with little noise and zero carbon emissions to a techy, electric surfboard that can double as a standup cruiser in the most remote and shallow waters.
It may look like some rakish Riva runabout from la dolce vita ’60s, but this 26-footer from bespoke Austrian builder Marian Boats, combines classic lines with state-of-the-art electric power. Beneath the M800’s plush, upholstered rear deck there’s a muscular 150kW electric motor and bank of lithium batteries that will punch the M800 to a top speed of 40 mph with zero emissions, and almost zero noise. Exquisitely hand-crafted with its teak decking and carbon-fiber dash, this sleek, sexy six-seater has a starting price of about $400,000.
Here’s a super-spacious, 60-foot power catamaran that uses rays of sunshine to cruise over 100 miles a day, every day, in electrified, zero-emission silence. This new, $2.6 million, aptly named Silent 60, from Austrian builder Silent Yachts, comes with no fewer than 42 huge, rooftop solar panels to send kilowatts to banks of lithium batteries. Cruise endlessly—as long as the sun is shining—at seven to nine mph, or fire-up the generator to reach 23 mph when you need to get somewhere fast.
Claimed to be the most-powerful electric cruiser on the market, this oh-so-elegant 33-foot dayboat packs an impressive 590 horsepower punch for a 37-mph top speed. Designed more as a superyacht tender to ferry eight guests to a St. Tropez lunch, the Italian-built Vita X can cruise at a laid-back 32 mph for around 58 miles. Vita’s Edinburgh-based Vita Power division developed the electric propulsion set-up, with its massive 235kWh lithium battery pack and twin UQM electric motors driving a pair of water jets.
Anyone who has ever driven a Tesla will know all about the instant torque. Applying that kind of out-of-the-blocks response to a wake-surfing boat guarantees a whole lot of fun. Towboat leader Nautique teamed-up with electric powertrain developer Ingenity to create the new, multi-sport GS22E. This action-packed 25-footer boasts a 124kWh battery pack that can catapult the 5,900-pound GS to a top speed of 40 mph, throw-up the perfect wake, and run for two to three hours between charges. Prices from $292,700.
Serenity Yachts‘ motto could be “make waves while the sun shines.” That’s because these super-luxe catamarans–choose between a $3.3 million 64 or $5.5 million 74–can glide across oceans on solar power alone. Take the now-in-production Serenity 64; with 700 square-feet of panels it can run indefinitely, in silence with zero emissions, at 8 mph. With almost 1,200 square-feet of solar panels, the flagship Serenity 74 is even faster, with a 10-mph cruise speed. Serenity builds them with carbon fiber to shave weight and add strength.
Australian start-up Fliteboard has been helping water-loving thrill-seekers fly over the water since 2018 with its lineup of whisper-quiet, zero-emission electric hydrofoils. At the squeeze of a handheld Bluetooth remote, the Fliteboard levitates out of the water and glides, wake-free, at speeds up to 34 mph for more than two hours of fun. The just-unveiled Fliteboard Series 2 range, with over 100 improvements, is said to further reduce drag, increase maneuverability and fly faster. The Gen-2 boards feature new electronics, props and colors, as well as the Ultra board, which is the company’s smallest board for advanced riders. Besides surfing, the electric Fliteboards cruise into remote, shallow waters where conventional motorboats wouldn’t dare to explore. Prices from $12,995.