Marine

E-boat puts BMW i3 battery power to use on the high seas

Nimbus revealed the 305 Drophead E-Power at the Düsseldorf boat show earlier this month
Nimbus revealed the 305 Drophead E-Power at the Düsseldorf boat show earlier this month
View 52 Images
Sweden's Nimbus launches its latest boat
1/52
Sweden's Nimbus launches its latest boat
Nimbus uses Sunbrella textiles, which it says will hold up to tough weather and sun
2/52
Nimbus uses Sunbrella textiles, which it says will hold up to tough weather and sun
Nimbus uses Sunbrella textiles, which it says will hold up to tough weather and sun
3/52
Nimbus uses Sunbrella textiles, which it says will hold up to tough weather and sun
The new Nimbus 305 Drophead comes with several engine options, including the new Torqeedo Deep Blue i with BMW-based battery
4/52
The new Nimbus 305 Drophead comes with several engine options, including the new Torqeedo Deep Blue i with BMW-based battery
Nimbus doesn't list top speeds for all the engine options, but it lists a 21-knot top speed for the 220-hp Volvo Penta, the most powerful option, and mentions the hull is designed to provide comfortable motoring at speeds up to 22 knots
5/52
Nimbus doesn't list top speeds for all the engine options, but it lists a 21-knot top speed for the 220-hp Volvo Penta, the most powerful option, and mentions the hull is designed to provide comfortable motoring at speeds up to 22 knots
On the water in the new Nimbus 305 Drophead
6/52
On the water in the new Nimbus 305 Drophead
The 305 Drophead with folding fabric roof follows the hard-top 305 Coupe to market
7/52
The 305 Drophead with folding fabric roof follows the hard-top 305 Coupe to market
Nimbus first introduced the 305 Drophead last March and debuted the new E-Power version this month
8/52
Nimbus first introduced the 305 Drophead last March and debuted the new E-Power version this month
Nimbus 305 Drophead on the water
9/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead on the water
Nimbus 305 Drophead on the water
10/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead on the water
Bathing platform on the Nimbus 305 Drophead
11/52
Bathing platform on the Nimbus 305 Drophead
The Nimbus 305 Drophead's canvas roof folds out at the push of a button
12/52
The Nimbus 305 Drophead's canvas roof folds out at the push of a button
The Nimbus 305 Drophead's canvas roof folds out at the push of a button
13/52
The Nimbus 305 Drophead's canvas roof folds out at the push of a button
The deployed roof panel protects the cockpit in bad weather. Available wall panels (not shown here) add extra protection
14/52
The deployed roof panel protects the cockpit in bad weather. Available wall panels (not shown here) add extra protection
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
15/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
16/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
17/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
The Nimbus 305 Drophead has a sun bed up front
18/52
The Nimbus 305 Drophead has a sun bed up front
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
19/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
20/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
21/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead 
The Nimbus 305 Drophead offers plenty of room on board for relaxing and socializing
22/52
The Nimbus 305 Drophead offers plenty of room on board for relaxing and socializing
The Nimbus 305 Drophead offers plenty of room on board for relaxing and socializing
23/52
The Nimbus 305 Drophead offers plenty of room on board for relaxing and socializing
Nimbus 305 Drophead
24/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
25/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
The 305 Drophead's "sidewalk design" makes it easier to move around the boat
26/52
The 305 Drophead's "sidewalk design" makes it easier to move around the boat
The 305 Drophead includes a cockpit-area fiberglass wet bar with refrigerator, sink and space for a stove or grill
27/52
The 305 Drophead includes a cockpit-area fiberglass wet bar with refrigerator, sink and space for a stove or grill
Nimbus 305 Drophead
28/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
29/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
30/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
31/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
32/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
33/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
34/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
35/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
36/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
The Smart Speed hull is designed to provide comfort and efficiency at all speeds from 0 to 22 knots
37/52
The Smart Speed hull is designed to provide comfort and efficiency at all speeds from 0 to 22 knots
Nimbus 305 Drophead
38/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
39/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
40/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Optional sun cushions make the foredeck a comfy place to hang out
41/52
Optional sun cushions make the foredeck a comfy place to hang out
Nimbus 305 Drophead
42/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
43/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
44/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
45/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
46/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
47/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
48/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
49/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead
50/52
Nimbus 305 Drophead
BMW i battery for Torqeedo Deep Blue
51/52
BMW i battery for Torqeedo Deep Blue
Nimbus revealed the 305 Drophead E-Power at the Düsseldorf boat show earlier this month
52/52
Nimbus revealed the 305 Drophead E-Power at the Düsseldorf boat show earlier this month

More than just an electrified vehicle sub-brand, "i" is BMW's "spearhead of innovation" for technological advancements. The latest fruits of that innovation spearheading can be found floating on the ocean in the form of the Nimbus 305 Drophead E-Power.

We've seen BMW i3 battery power used for four-wheel, two-wheel and home power applications, and now it makes a move off land. BMW i has teamed with German electric boat motor specialist Torqeedo in adapting the i3 battery to the Torqeedo Deep Blue line, Torqeedo's most powerful electric boat powertrain, which comes in 40- and 80-hp varieties.

Torqeedo highlighted the new i3 battery system at the Boot Düsseldorf show, which wrapped up yesterday. It seems quite convinced that it's the future of electric boat motoring, explaining that the new battery offers a 40 percent higher energy density for a lower watt-hour cost. It also explains that the prismatic cell design allows for combination of compact size, efficient cooling and even temperature distribution within the battery.

The tough-built i3 batteries also ensure the rugged, shock-resistant performance needed for boating applications. They are IP67 waterproof and include a pressure release safety disc for releasing built-up gases while maintaining waterproof integrity.

BMW i battery for Torqeedo Deep Blue
BMW i battery for Torqeedo Deep Blue

The Deep Blue i 1800 rpm inboard powertrain with the BMW battery joins several Volvo Penta engines on the Nimbus 305 Drophead's options sheet, creating the 305 Drophead E-Power. Top speed information for the 305 Drophead E-Power is not yet listed, but it is certain that the Deep Blue electric drive will allow the boat to navigate through the water quietly, without emissions.

The newest 305 borrows more than just its batteries from the automotive industry, its name derived from the "drophead" convertibles of British motoring. The airy 33-foot (10 m) day cruiser looks like a beautiful way to enjoy the open sea under sunny blue skies. The vessel carries up to eight people and sleeps up to six with a combination of owner's cabin, side cabin and convertible dinette. The two cabins share the head and shower.

Nimbus 305 Drophead
Nimbus 305 Drophead

The open cockpit area and aft deck invite passengers to relax with a six-person wraparound sofa, integrated bathing platform, four-person dinette, and wet bar with sink, refrigerator and space for a microwave, electric grill or stove. A powered fold-out canvas roof covers the entire cockpit area at the push of a button, and available wall panels provide wraparound protection from the elements as needed. There's a sun bed on the foredeck, and Nimbus explains the boat's "sidewalk design" makes it easy to move around the deck.

The 305 Drophead's "Smart Speed" vacuum-infused laminate hull is designed to optimize comfort and fuel economy at all speeds, 0 to 22 knots (0 to 40.7 km/h).

"Some people like to drive fast when they're at the helm, but very few like it when traveling too fast at sea," explains Nimbus head designer Joacim Gustavsson. "The central idea of this model is for all those aboard to enjoy themselves and socialize during the trip and under the open sky."

Nimbus 305 Drophead 
Nimbus 305 Drophead 

In addition to introducing the E-Power variant this month, Nimbus put the entire 305 Drophead lineup on sale, after first revealing it last March. For those that prefer diesel power, the boat can be equipped with 109-hp, 148-hp or 220-hp Volvo Penta engines. Nimbus did not respond to our email requesting pricing, battery capacity and electric range information before publishing time, but we will update the article if it does.

Update: Nimbus got back to us about performance and pricing. The 305 Drophead E-Power starts at SEK 1,852,700 (approx. US$212,000) and comes standard with a 32-kWh BMW battery. Buyers can also choose the option of dual 32-kWh batteries. Cruising speed is 5 to 6 knots (9 to 11 km/h) and theoretical range at those speeds is roughly between 15 and 24 nautical miles (27.8 to 44.4 km) with the standard 32-kWh battery and double that with the dual-battery system.

Source: Nimbus, Torqeedo

3 comments
Martin Winlow
Yawn! Just another stinky, noisy ICEV masquerading as an EV. *Next!*
ljaques
15nm at 5 knots isn't even safe for an afternoon cruise! Boo!
DanHaffar
Very nice boat but the range is still at docking stage. We need a full day minimum 5-6 hrs at cruise low 5-6 knots before it will have any change on conventional old fashioned fossil fuel engines. I was at first very thrilled seeing that the i3 battery packs was used, but disappointed on the perfomance. I have seen other amateur EV boat projects that beats the nimbus by far. Hope we get closer soon. Thanks for keeping me updated newatlas! A happy reader for a looong while, and forward:).
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.