Marine

Silent 55: Is this the world's most cost-efficient mobile home?

Silent 55: Is this the world's...
The new Silent 55 has a pair of 250-kW e-motors and 210 kWh of battery capacity
The new Silent 55 has a pair of 250-kW e-motors and 210 kWh of battery capacity
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Viewed from above the Silent 55 looks like one large solar array
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Viewed from above the Silent 55 looks like one large solar array
The new Silent 55 has a completely revised drive-train with twice the power, 50 percent more battery storage, and significantly better noise reduction than its predecessor
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The new Silent 55 has a completely revised drive-train with twice the power, 50 percent more battery storage, and significantly better noise reduction than its predecessor
Silent Yachts offers the only ocean-going solar-electric production catamarans in the world
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Silent Yachts offers the only ocean-going solar-electric production catamarans in the world
With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak
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With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak
The new Silent 55 has a pair of 250-kW e-motors and 210 kWh of battery capacity
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The new Silent 55 has a pair of 250-kW e-motors and 210 kWh of battery capacity
The Silent 55's systems require hardly any maintenance, produce no fumes or noise, and have substantially lower operational costs compared to similar sized  yachts using traditional propulsion systems
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The Silent 55's systems require hardly any maintenance, produce no fumes or noise, and have substantially lower operational costs compared to similar sized  yachts using traditional propulsion systems
The Silent 55 has the ability to cruise for many hours at normal speed, and throughout the entire day and evening at reduced speed, all on solar power
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The Silent 55 has the ability to cruise for many hours at normal speed, and throughout the entire day and evening at reduced speed, all on solar power
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The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
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The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
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The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
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The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
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The Silent 55 by Silent Yachts
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The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
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The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
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The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
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The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
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The Silent 55 catamaran has a spacious deck area thanks to the broad 8.46-meter beam
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The master cabin of the Silent 55
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The master cabin of the Silent 55
Inside the Silent 55
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Inside the Silent 55
Inside the Silent 55
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Inside the Silent 55
Inside the Silent 55
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Inside the Silent 55
The Silent 55 is a well-designed solar yacht offering more than 100 nm a day without fuel, and accommodation with luxuries such as air conditioning, TV, and a fully electric galley
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The Silent 55 is a well-designed solar yacht offering more than 100 nm a day without fuel, and accommodation with luxuries such as air conditioning, TV, and a fully electric galley
The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway
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The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway
The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway
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The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway
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A view of the helm of the Silent 55
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A view of the helm of the Silent 55
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A new addition to the 55-ft range is a ferry version with seating for over 60 people on the main deck
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A new addition to the 55-ft range is a ferry version with seating for over 60 people on the main deck

For those seeking a luxurious, spacious, self-sufficient home with forever changing scenery and negligible operating costs, look no further than the Silent 55. Silent Yachts will debut a vastly improved version of the Silent 55, a solar-powered, 55-ft ocean-going catamaran, at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival in September. With double the power of last year's model, the Silent 55 will touch 20 knots (23 mph, 23 km/h), cruise all night with no emissions and commensurate running costs, and has a draft of just 3.9 ft (1.2 m), meaning it can access just about any waterway in the world.

In the normally slow moving world of yacht development, the new Silent 55 stands out as the clean marine poster child for its fast evolving capabilities. The drive-train has been completely revised, produces significantly less noise, has much larger batteries, and is now capable of permanently cruising up to 100 miles (161 km) per day on solar–power alone.

There are a number of factors which enable the Silent 55's bang-per-buck score to go off the charts, but the main variables are the ocean-going capability, the catamaran's spacious layout thanks to the 27.8-ft (8.46-m) beam, the negligible operating costs, and the draft (depth of the cat's lowest point in the water) of less than four feet. In January, 2018, a Silent 64 crossed the Atlantic in 16 days, proving you can now take luxury accommodation with you wherever you wish to go, then go inland up any waterway, and experience living there. The diesel generator's costs for getting from Europe to America ran out to around 0.12 liters of diesel per kilometer (19.6 mpg) according to Silent Yachts.

Most importantly, the Silent 55 can glide through environments that are too sensitive to allow diesel-powered craft to operate. Just as electric power is fast transforming the automotive, motorcycle and aeronautical worlds, the raft of electrical power options available on the water is likely to transform the field of naval architecture, and the capabilities of the Silent 55 bear testimony to that.

The new drivetrain combines two 250-kW (335-hp) electric motors, replacing the previous model's twin 135-kW (181-hp) motors, and a 210-kWh battery pack offers 50 percent more energy storage than the 140-kWh unit used last year.

Viewed from above the Silent 55 looks like one large solar array
Viewed from above the Silent 55 looks like one large solar array

Viewed from above, the Silent 55 looks like one large solar panel, particularly when the hard top itself is folded down flush, when it provides an unshaded solar array of 527 sq ft (49 sq m). According to Silent Yachts, the vessel's 30 panels are rated for around 10 kW-peak. The Silent 55 uses Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) solar charge regulators, which, combined with the 210-kWh battery pack, provides enough capacity for all-night cruising.

The Silent 55's house load is between 5 kWh and 10 kWh per day, provided via a 15 kVA inverter. The systems require minimal maintenance and Silent Yachts cites operational costs that are substantially lower in comparison to similar sized power yachts using traditional propulsion systems.

The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway
The Silent 55's flying bridge enables the helmsman and guests to enjoy time together when underway

No generator is required for the Silent 55's air conditioning and cooking at anchor, and according to Silent Yachts co-founder Michael Köhler, "the 100-kW generator is only used to recharge the batteries in the rare case when higher speed is required for longer periods of time or if the weather is bad for several days.

"What this represents to the yachtsman, among other features, is the ability to cruise for many hours at normal speed and throughout the entire day and evening at reduced speed," said Köhler, who began building solar catamarans a decade ago with his wife Heike. The couple have long been devotees of sustainable cruising and have spent 5,000 days aboard their solar catamarans, cruising more than 75,000 miles around the world in the process.

The Silent 55 to be displayed in Cannes will have the standard layout comprising a large saloon on the main deck and four cabins below decks, including a full-beam master suite in the bow area.

A new addition to the 55-ft range is a ferry version with seating for over 60 people on the main deck
A new addition to the 55-ft range is a ferry version with seating for over 60 people on the main deck

There are, however, five different layouts ranging from three to six staterooms with three or four heads, and a new addition to the range is a ferry version with seating for over 60 people on the main deck.

A full-width central owner's stateroom is the centerpiece in three of the layouts, with guest staterooms located in port and starboard hulls. All staterooms offer double or twin berths, and all heads include a separate shower. In addition, the flying bridge promises to allow helmsman and guests to enjoy time together underway with superior lines of sight all around the boat.

Other layouts are available on request, and the company's modular construction methodology is claimed to make designing your own layout quite affordable. The cost of the Standard three-cabin version runs to €1,394,000 (around US$1,570,000) with the four-cabin version costing just €5,000 (US$5,630) more, and other cabin options in a similar price range. There's also plenty of room to work with thanks to the 27.8-ft (8.46-m) beam of the yacht.

SILENT-YACHTS - The SILENT 55

The Silent 55 also offers the ability to bring your own conveniences as all onboard appliances operate on the 220/110-volt system. The water-maker is powered by the solar-electric system, the galley has plenty of refrigerator and freezer space, and an efficient induction cooktop precludes the need to carry propane.

The Silent 55 is available with either a sail or kite as optional extras, though the sail option is costly, and significantly adds to the weight while cutting the yield of the solar panels in half. The 205-sq ft (19-sq m) kite option adds just €25,000(US$28,200) to the price and can offer speeds of 6 knots in light winds.

With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak
With 30 high-efficiency solar panels rated for approximately 10 kilowatt-peak

For those who aren't content with the Silent 55's cabin space, there's also a Silent 64 and a Silent 80, though the purchase price rises dramatically with the larger yachts, and the top-of-the-range Silent 80's starting price runs to €4.27 million (US$5.3 million).

Source: Silent Yachts

7 comments
Teaser-Trailer.com
I want one for Christmas!
Fletcher
Top speeds of 6 knots? As a luxury yacht I don't think they will do well. You can get super quite diesel yachts that can pull 20 knots or a catamaran sailboat that has a top speeds of 10 knots for the same price. When your stuck out on the ocean or a lake for an extra 2 hours on a day trip or can't go anywhere because it takes so long to get there, because your boat can only do a max of 6 knots, that's when people realize they made a mistake buying this or realize they want something different.
AtlasPrime
Fletcher, the third sentence says that the yacht will do 20 knots. It says that the 6 knot speed is in reference to the sail option.
paul314
Waterworld, here we come. I wonder what the maintenance schedule is.
Henreid
Let me just look under my sofa cushions to see if I can find a spare $1,600,000 so I can buy the "world's most cost-efficient mobile home".
owlbeyou
That's what I'm talking about. Who needs to spend 1.5 mil on an exotic car when you can have this baby. Easy peasy cruising with virtually no fuel costs. Pick a direction and away you go! There's no property tax of course, just docking fees... I'd love to be the chef of a well-stocked galley kitchen in this floating abode. Fresh sea food is right outside.
Ralf Biernacki
The panels have a combined peak power output of 10kW. Peak, meaning that's the most they can crank out under direct sunlight. If you keep the generator running all the time (burning diesel fuel, and screw the "self-sufficient" eco spiel) you get another 100kW. The motors have the power consumption of 500kW, maybe half that for slow cruising. Smell the rat yet?