02 February 2023
With electric propulsion becoming ever more prevalent, and with boating looking like it will soon follow the way of the automotive industry with more emphasis on emissions-free travel, it’s not hard to see how yacht tenders are the logical evolution for e-drives. But for solar catamaran builder Silent-Yachts, the concept of tender electrification means an opportunity for something altogether more exciting.
Enter the Silent-Yachts 120, a superyacht catamaran design with lines by Marco Casali and a feature list to whet the appetite of any budding eco-explorer. Alongside the solar arrays, which deliver the bulk of the power the 36.74-metre yacht requires for propulsion and hotel loads, the tender garage offers electric thrills with the latest must-have e-toys, including an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for heli-cruising and an e-submarine for underwater discovery.
With 800 kW lithium-ion batteries providing the 120’s power, topped up by 40 kilowatt-peak solar panels and a range-extender generator, the supercat will be able to charge its electric tenders and toys with energy harvested from the sun thanks to detailed and highly efficient systems design. The 499-gross-ton yacht will also offer extended cruising at 6-8 knots in economy mode, or at up to 16 knots at full power from the 340kW e-motors, which offer the potential for unlimited range.
Silent-Yachts’ partnership with VRCO, designers and manufacturers of the Xcraft XP4 eVTOL aircraft, marks the first time a yacht builder and an aircraft manufacturer have collaborated, with the XP4 being customised to match the interiors of the Silent 120 Explorer. The XP4 can be landed on the 120’s roof, where large solar panels will slide outboard to port and starboard to reveal a touch-and-go landing pad.
The XP4, which is due for certification in 2024, offers convenient aerial personal transportation for up to four people, and is designed with an array of safety features including detection and avoidance technology, a ballistic parachute, and low-altitude crash prevention systems.
In addition to utilising technologies such as nanomaterials and hydrogen-based range extension, the XP4 can not only be charged from the 120’s solar panels but can also deliver power from its own battery to the yacht as a back-up power source. The collaboration not only extends the remote cruising profile of the 120 Explorer, but also marks a real advancement in carbon-responsible travel.
The U-Boat Worx NEMO submarine offers diving to 100-metre depths for two people in an all-electric package whose footprint is smaller than two jetskis. The NEMO features the trademark acrylic pressure globe that gives pilot and passenger a breathtaking view of the depths, while the Manta control interface is both easy to learn and easy to operate.
Offering up to eight hours of autonomy, speeds underwater of up to 3 knots and positive buoyancy for automatic resurfacing in the unlikely event of an issue, the NEMO really does open up new frontiers for exploration, further made possible by the capabilities of the mother ship.
The 120’s exceptional volume and deck space means owners will have two options for carrying their submarine – either in the port hull’s tender garage or on the main deck next to the pool.
“The trend is for bigger yachts and more luxury, more comfort, more water toys and more possibilities,” says Michael Köhler, founder and CEO of SILENT-YACHTS.
“In the SILENT 120 Explorer we designed a boat that is bigger in volume although not in length, and bigger gives the opportunity to store more of these toys.
“We build catamarans, which means more beam and more space,” he continues. “We also build our boats with solar power and electric propulsion, and that means we don’t have to give a lot of space to an engine room, which means we gain room for things like a gym or extra tender storage.
“Finally, the extra beam of the catamaran form means the roof can accommodate an eVTOL aircraft. We can plug it in on board and it will be recharged in a couple of hours.”