Jet-pod-powered Zagato electric boat flaunts all-Italian style
Zagato has become the latest world-famous Italian design house to dunk its incomparable artistry into the sea. And whereas Pininfarina went big and bold, Zagato has kept things sleek and simple with a 26-foot (7.9-m) electric runabout developed in collaboration with Persico Marine. The result is the Persico Zagato 100.2, a fast, sustainable open day boat meant to become an instant collector's item that brings together elements from the nautical, automotive and aeronautical worlds.
Zagato celebrated its centennial in 2019, marking 100 years of dressing cars with custom bodywork. The 100.2 model name tips a hat to that history, while looking ahead to a second century that takes a step into shaping the bodywork of sustainably built and powered boats.
In addition to working with Persico, which operates shipyards in Nembro and Massa Carrara, Italy, Zagato styled the PZ 100.2 with the help of fellow Milan design firm Micheletti + Partners. The team further burrowed roots down deep in their home soil by building around the DeepSpeed electric jet drive from Sealence, a Milanese marine e-drive startup. What results is a purebred Italian watercraft for the electric age.
"The project started from a shared concept: the idea that the boat should be a collector’s piece," Zagato CEO Andrea Zagato said in previewing the PZ 100.2 last week. "The newest, most innovative technologies presently available will make the boat sustainable and destined to leave its distinctive mark, as was the case with the most valuable car models designed for uncommon customers, the ones always looking for excellence and innovation in any field."
Those latest technologies will include a hybrid composite construction and the cutting-edge 205-kW (275-hp) Sealence DeepSpeed jet-pod drive with 83-kWh lithium battery. Sealence developed the DeepSpeed with inspiration from aerospace reaction engines and shipped its first unit to a customer in New Zealand this week.
"Traditional water jets work by drawing water through an inlet in the hull and moving it toward the stern," explains Sealence founder William Gobbo. "The DeepSpeed, on the other hand, is configured with outboard jets with a dynamic inlet, exactly like those found under the wings of airplanes, and this choice proves to be a winning one since water enters naturally, as it does in aircraft engines, avoiding energy loss. A thrust reverser is not needed during maneuvers because the turbines can rotate in either direction, allowing for great maneuverability in all conditions."
Gobbo also says the DeepSpeed is more efficient than traditional propeller or hydro jet systems, improving rather than degrading in efficiency as speed increases. And the design promises sharp performance, pushing the PZ 100.2 to an estimated top speed of 43.5 knots (80.5 km/h).
We wouldn't call it a "hyperboat," as Persico insists, and believe the world entirely unready to even entertain such a term for the fastest electric boat on the water, let alone an electric day cruiser with sights on less than half that type of speed. But it's a zippy little electric cruiser sure to be a fun day out on the water, if not a particularly long one. Maximum range comes in at a modest 28 nautical miles (52 km) when dialing back to a 26-knot (48-km/h) cruising speed. Those looking for more can double up on battery for up to 47 nautical miles (87 km) at 24 knots (44 km).
And what about that Zagato style? The brief here was all about keeping things modest and emphasizing "essentiality in technology." The rear-sloped monobloc appearance of the hull and the tiny wraparound windscreen definitely epitomize that goal from every angle. The upward thrust of the gently etched crease near the stern reminds us of a muscular fender, alluding to the stern-driven power below while tying the design into Zagato's automotive heritage.
Zagato, Persico and team previewed the PZ 100.2 "Limited Launch Edition" at Zagato HQ last week. Persico will build just nine models, carefully personalized for each individual buyer, at its Nembro shipyard. It plans to deliver the first example toward the end of 2023.
Source: Persico Marine