Electric flying passenger ship launches, enters production

18th November 2023
Sheryl Miles

Swedish tech company Candela Technology AB has announced that the Candela P-12, their first electric hydrofoiling passenger vessel, has successfully completed test flights in Stockholm and is now moving into serial production at Candela's Rotebro factory.

Initially revealed in concept in June 2022, the P-12 uses computer-guided hydrofoils to lift its hull above water, reducing friction. When foilborne at speeds over 18 knots, the Candela P-12 consumes 80% less energy than traditional high-speed vessels. This addresses the challenges of limited range and slow speeds due to high energy consumption in conventional hulls.

During its initial flights, the Candela P-12 achieved a top speed of 30 knots and a range of up to 50 nautical miles, making it the first electric ship with the endurance to meet most coastal transport needs. The tests also confirmed its minimal wake, potentially allowing for exemptions from speed limits as it does not erode coastlines or damage docks and moored ships, even at full speed.

Going sustainable, profitably

Maritime transport accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions, a figure expected to rise to 13% in the coming decades if no measures are taken. Electric vessels, with a market estimated to reach $31.48 billion by 3034, are seen as a key solution. However, the adoption of electric vessels has been slow due to high costs and limited performance.

Candela is dedicated to facilitating the transition to a fossil fuel-free maritime future. The P-12 is designed to be cost-effective and profitable for operators, offering similar or lower initial investment costs compared to traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vessels. Priced at €1.7 million, the 30-seat Shuttle variant matches the cost of similar-sized ICE vessels and is priced lower than other electric options. Its hydrofoil efficiency enables extended range from a 252 kWh battery and streamlined serial production leads to lower overall unit costs.

Erik Eklund, Candela’s Director for Commercial Vessels, stated: "With the P-12, we're not just offering a faster, more comfortable electric alternative to fossil fuel-powered vessels. We enable operators to switch to sustainable vessels that are cost-effective and profitable, a crucial step towards clean oceans and lakes."

Operators can expect up to 90% reduced fuel costs compared to diesel vessels. The C-POD motors require minimal servicing, and the vessel is designed for single crew operation, further reducing costs. Overall, the P-12 could cut costs per passenger kilometer by up to 50%, achieving similar operational economy per passenger as a hybrid electric bus.

A better passenger experience

Candela's innovation extends beyond the hydrofoil system. Every aspect of vessel design has been reimagined, from maintenance to docking, to enhance passenger experience.

Passengers benefit from swift and easy boarding via an extendable, automatic bow ramp, adjustable for docking at varying quay heights from 0.3 to 1.8 meters. This versatility allows the P-12 to serve a range of routes globally without dock modifications.

Turnaround time at each stop is under 2 minutes, thanks to the C-POD motors' thrust vectoring for nimble manoeuvring. The digital flight control system adjusts the hydrofoils' angle of attack 100 times per second to compensate for waves, side wind, and current, ensuring a smooth ride.

Three versions

The P-12 is available in three variants: Shuttle, Business, and Voyager. The Shuttle seats 30 passengers and is designed for sustainable commuting with low operational costs. The Business version offers a premium interior for 12 to 20 passengers, and the Voyager provides flexibility in interior design for private leisure and commercial clients.

Gustav Hasselskog commented: "The P-12 is a platform that will cater to a vast range of clients. Whether it's public transport fleets, VIP services, or private customers, it will revolutionise how we travel on water."

Halving commute times in stockholm

In 2024, the Candela P-12 Shuttle is set to join Stockholm's public transport network, reducing the Ekerö suburb-city centre commute from 55 to 25 minutes, outpacing cars, buses, and current diesel ferries. This is possible by obtaining an exemption from the city centre’s speed limits.

In Stockholm and many waterfront cities, waterborne traffic has declined as buses and cars offer quicker and more affordable transport. The P-12 aims to reverse this trend.

Gustav Hasselskog stated: "Today, in many cities, congested roads are common while waterways remain underutilised for rapid commuting. The P-12 will let you use these waterways as green highways, enabling fast intra-city connections. Often, the quickest route is by water."

  • Candela P-12 Specs
  • Length: 11.99 meters
  • Beam: 4.5 meters
  • Payload: up to 30 passengers
  • Battery: 252kWh
  • Motors: 2 x Candela C-POD MAX, 340 kW total peak power
  • Charging: 175 kW DC charging, overnight AC charging
  • Top Speed: 30 knots
  • Service Speed: 25 knots
  • Range: 40 to 50 nautical miles at 25 knots depending on version and load
  • Price: €1.7M for Shuttle configuration

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