World's first ocean-going solar yacht could cruise indefinitely – if you take it slow
It's quick, it's quiet, and it's covered in 300 square meters (3,229 sq ft) of solar panels. The 78-ft (24-m) electric SolarImpact yacht is a concept designed as the first of its kind – an ocean-going solar-powered yacht. An 800-kWh battery on board gives it 10 hours of cruising capability, which can be extended by topping up the battery when the Sun's shining.
The yacht's giant solar array, which covers the vast majority of its upward-facing surfaces, can generate up to 320 kWh a day if they're getting lots of sun. They can serve as the vessel's sole power source if conditions allow, and you're prepared to take your time.
Although this 70-ton aluminum-hulled beast boasts 1,000 kW (1,341 hp) of all-electric power and has an impressive maximum speed of 22 knots, if you're running all the regular systems solely on solar, you will be able to cruise indefinitely, but only at a slow 5 knots – which would take you around the world in about six months if there wasn't a whole lot of land in the way. Speed it up and the battery will run down.
By comparison, a regular yacht of a similar size would burn some 100 liters (26 gal) of fuel an hour at a 10-knot cruise, a number that would cause the average 80-ft yacht owner exactly zero distress, but to the degree a large yacht can be eco-friendly, this one is.
We say large yacht instead of superyacht because the SolarImpact falls an inch or two short of the 79-ft (24-m) cutoff point above which certain countries mandate you need to have a permanent crew on board.
Should the Sun not shine upon your voyage, there's a pair of 65-kW (87-hp) range-extending diesel engines on board as a backup. And the drive systems are automated, apparently using some sort of AI assistance, to the point where a single person can maneuver it. Certainly, the helm looks pretty simple for something of this size.
The SolarImpact also has an interesting stabilizing technology rolled in – twin torpedo-shaped buoyancy hulls under the water surface that the company says reduce side-to-side rolling by as much as 90 percent, making it comfortable even when the waves are high. The interior is about as fancy as you'd expect, with reasonably luxurious accommodations for 10 guests and a crew of one.
The concept was unveiled at last week's Cannes Yachting Festival, including a full 3D modelfor potential buyers to explore the vessel virtual reality.
Check out the yacht in the extremely short, 15-second video below.