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New Era of Electric Foiling Powerboats Ushered in With First Flight of Candela C-8

16th February 2022
Billed as 'the world’s most anticipated electric boat' has completed its maiden flight. The foiling Candela C-8 promises to disrupt the gas-guzzling powerboat industry, thanks to a unique combination of long all-electric range, high speed, and industry-first features.
Billed as 'the world’s most anticipated electric boat' has completed its maiden flight. The foiling Candela C-8 promises to disrupt the gas-guzzling powerboat industry, thanks to a unique combination of long all-electric range, high speed, and industry-first features.

After 16 months of intense development, the most ordered electric boat ever took off from the cold waters outside the Swedish tech company’s headquarters at Lidingö, Stockholm.

After reaching its designed take-off speed of 16 knots, the Candela C-8 prototype P-01 lifted off smoothly and flew noiselessly above the water at a cruise speed of 20 knots.

Smooth, and very, very silent, said Gustav Hasselskog, Candela’s CEO after piloting the C-8 on its maiden flight.

This first flight marks a huge moment not only for Candela, but also for the powerboat industry. The C-8 is not only designed to be the best electric boat, but it is also designed to be a far better experience than conventional powerboats. I hope we can drive the transition to emission-free boating at a very fast pace.

With Candela C-8, the Swedish tech company strives to disrupt waterborne transport by offering an electric boat that is better than ICE competitors, in all respects. 

The transition to zero-emission boats has been hampered by the inadequate performance of conventional electric boats. Propelling a planing, conventional speedboat through the water requires enormous amounts of energy, which drains even the biggest lithium-ion batteries after only 30-45 minutes of spirited driving.

Flying above the waves on computer-controlled hydrofoils – underwater wings – Candela’s craft use 80% less energy than conventional boats, which translates into far longer range and higher speeds on pure battery power.

What makes hydrofoils so effective is the dramatic reduction in drag. A typical planing hull has a 4-to-1 lift-to-drag ratio, while the Candela C-8 has a 20-to-1 lift advantage. Cruising at 20 knots, the C-8 can fly for 50 nautical miles on its 44 kWh battery – 2-3 times longer than conventional electric speedboats with 300% bigger batteries.

But the C-8 offers other and new benefits over any other boat.

Actively stabilized hydrofoils allow Candela electric boats to leave no trace; no pollution, no noise, no wake.

Drone footage of first flight:

The C-8’s digital Flight control system automatically adjusts the foils to keep the boat level and steady, even in adverse weather conditions. The ride is silky smooth in choppy waves and side winds. The low energy usage directly translates into an almost non-existent wake. And the ride is silent, thanks to Candela's newly developed Candela C-POD direct-drive electric pod motor.

In an industry-first for leisure boats, the C-8 is equipped with fly-by-wire steering and has Autopilot features for more relaxed driving over long distances. When the driver lets go of the wheel, the boat will automatically steer the set compass course. More features will follow as the C-8 is upgradeable Over-The-Air.

The Swedish tech company has refined its hydrofoil technology and Flight control software since the open sportsboat Candela C-7 was introduced in 2019. With experience from the C-7, Candela’s 70+ engineers and technicians have designed the C-8 for rapid mass production, targeting a rate of 400 units per year in 2024.

As Afloat previously reported, Candela has received more than 100 orders since launching the C-8 concept last fall, which makes it the best-selling electric boat model in Europe, even outselling most other 28-foot ICE boats in the premium (€290 k) category.

This successful first flight brings us one step closer to serial production. We’ll now perform a rigorous flight test campaign to ensure reliability and maturity. We’re on track to deliver the first C-8 units this summer, says Gustav Hasselskog.

Afloat.ie Team

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About Electric outboard engines

The direct-drive component in electric outboard engines means that the electric motors are incredibly efficient compared to conventional marine combustion motors, operating with considerably higher torque whilst using less power.

Without any need for gears, cooling systems and moving parts the motors are maintenance free, highly efficient and economic to run.

As a result, electric boat engines are becoming more popular on Irish waters as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy.

To date, popular electric engine sizes have been trolling engines typically used by fishermen on lakes.

These marine engines are available in models that can be used in fresh water and sea water, for your boat or kayak.

Electric motors are Ideal for fishermen because they are quiet and create little in the way of disturbance 

Popular electric trolling models range from 30lb thrust to 55lb thrust in a range of shaft lengths.

But use is becoming broader now in 2021 and electric outboard engines are being used on small runabouts and RIBS where electric outboard engine sizes are getting bigger.

Outboard electric engines are economical and environmentally friendly. Battery technology is also improving at a rapid rate meaning they are becoming smaller and lighter and run for longer.

Built in hydro-generation provides alternative recharging options whilst under sail are also options meaning the electric outboard now has a home on the stern on small yachts and dayboats too.

As far back as 2014, Torqeedo owner Jack O'Keefe from Cork Harbour told Afloat readers of his sailing adventures in a Drascombe Coaster dinghy and how after swapping from a petrol version the rewards from his new electric outboard engine are less noise, no smells, more stowage, better sailing performance and a motor that can be started by a small child. But it's still not silent, there's a whine he says here 

Popular brands in Ireland are Torqeedo, ePropulsion, Pulsar and Minn Kota but there are more arriving all the time as the technology advances

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