NOX SV speedboat melds timeless wooden design with fast electric drive

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Rivers and Tides shows that not all electric boats are slow and quiet (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

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Most of the electric boats we saw at the Düsseldorf boat show this past weekend were small, slow cruisers designed to putter around waterways with combustion engine bans. One boat stepped well beyond that model, though. Still under development, the all-new NOX SV promises speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h) from a highly capable 225-hp (168-kW) electric motor. The boat packs that cutting edge drivetrain into a classic mahogany hull with a D-Type-like racing fin thrown in for good measure.

When we attended Boot Düsseldorf last year, a few different wooden boats caught our eye, flashing an aesthetic far richer than the typical white tubs you see rattling behind Ford F-150s all summer long. As great as those wooden boats looked, we couldn't really find a reason to cover them because they didn't feature any new technology or innovation. They just showed remarkably beautiful wooden construction. This year, the NOX SV from German boatbuilder Rivers and Tides gives us a compelling reason for a feature: a potent electric drivetrain that makes it one of the fastest e-boats on the water.

The NOX SV immediately reeled us in with its teak-and-mahogany construction and cockpit-trailing racing fin, a feature reminiscent of the classic Jaguar D-Type and the D-Type-influenced F-Type Project 7. While we know all about the stabilizing advantages the fin offers on the race track, we were curious how those advantages might translate to the open water. Turns out, they don't, as Rivers and Tides admits that the fin is just there to help enrich the unique look of the boat's body. Mission accomplished.

The 22.3 x 6.9-ft (6.8 x 2.1-m) boat is powered by a 225-hp electric motor, supplied by Kessler Energy GmbH, driving an MSA Marine-Systems surface drive. Rivers and Tides says the drivetrain can currently power speeds up to around 50 mph (80 km/h), but it hopes to tweak the boat design further to open up a top speed in the neighborhood of 75 mph (120 km/h). That's not as quite as fast as the 100 mph (160 km/h) of the Cigarette Racing AMG speedboat – which is the world's fastest electric boat – but it's not that far off, either, considering the NOX SV has about a tenth the horsepower.

The NOX SV's potent motor provides the muscle, but it's the lightweight construction of the boat that really helps drive home its on-water capabilities. It may look like a solid block of wood, but the boat is actually a sandwich of marine plywood, foam and fiberglass, with wood veneers to keep it looking pretty. It weighs a total of 2,645 lb (1,200 kg) once the 70-kWh battery pack has been dropped into place.

Rivers and Tides plans to race the NOX SV when it's finished, showing exactly what electric power can do on the sparkling blue sea. It will also offer the boat as a highly limited edition, planning to sell just five examples worldwide at a base price just over €273,000 (US$311,000). For those that don't like electric power (or the price), it will also offer a version powered by the GM LS3 engine from the Corvette.

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