Electric ‘Swiss Army Knife’ tender highlights trend for 2020


Electric-powered designs were much in evidence at last week’s Dusseldorf Boat Show – with one described as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of tenders.

The Netherlands-based boat builder DutchCraft and Finnish e-boat builder, Q-Yachts, both showcased electric-powered designs alongside 48 other manufacturers exhibiting alternative-propulsion systems.

DutchCraft debuted its first fully electric design, the carbon-fibre tender, DC25, billed as the “Swiss Army Knife” of tenders.

The vessel’s modular deck design enables efficient changes between modes; as a superyacht tender, dive boat, sport fisher, toy carrier and family cruiser. The tender has room for any one of a quadbike, two jetskis, eight dive seats or up to 12 passengers.

DutchCraft’s marketing manager Rene Markus, told Superyacht Investor, By moving around a few couches or even completely removing them the boat can be set up for all sorts of things. The possibilities are endless. This, along with the collapsible T-Top and beach landing door in the bow, makes the boat extremely versatile – like a Swiss Army Knife.”

The transition away from traditional propulsion to hybrid or all-electric drive trains has led to a totally new approach to the design of a superyacht tender, claims the manufacturer. The low and compact drive-train frees up a large swathe of deck space which has been optimised by the DutchCraft boat’s modular design.

Traditional Propulsion

Maximum battery capacity is 134kWh, while the continuous power is 100kWh. The boat is able to cruise at 32 knots for up to 75 minutes, sufficient to ferry guests from shore to superyacht anchorage several times over or even to go water-skiing, according to the manufacturer. Alternatively, it can cruise for up to six hours at six knots.

“We believe electric propulsion will be key in a future that cares about ocean preservation,” said DutchCraft’s marketing head Floris Koopmans. “We are committed to investing in this positive movement, and the technology that we have developed for the DC25 is a step in the right direction.”

Finnish e-boat builder, Q-Yachts, like its Dutch counterpart is a young company – founded in 2016. It too premiered its newest model in Dusseldorf, the Q30 Water Limousine, which Q-Yachts says meets the clear demand for a zero-emissions vessel to transport people in crowded cities in an environmentally conscious way. Q-Yachts confirmed that the Q30 had not yet been priced but the standard model would be in the same range as the company’s day cruiser which retails for €183,000.

A spokesperson for Q-Yachts told Superyacht Investor, “Q-Yachts are unique electric boats, silent and sustainable in an unparalleled package. When you are on board a Q-Yacht you can feel the harmony, that of course comes from the silence but as well from the minimalist design. The boats are elegant with attention to detail. Q-Yachts are packed with state-of-the-art technology and Q30 has a hydrodynamically optimized hull that creates a smooth driving experience, producing minimal wake and zero emissions. Our Electric Silence concept gives also a lot of privacy as you can silently drive back to your superyacht without anyone noticing.”

Environmentally Conscious

Where fast charging is possible, the Q30 will offer an electric-only version with a 30-60 kWh battery capacity. For heavy use, or where hydrogen fuelling is available, Q-Yachts are offering a hydrogen and fuel-cell model, offering up to 120 kWh battery capacity. While Q-Yachts has intended the water limousine for commercial use, it says customisation is available and that it could be an attractive alternative for a superyacht tender.

The trend of electric tenders and alternative propulsion for all variety boats looks set to continue to grow.

Rene Markus said, We notice a huge interest in our electrical propulsion, so we believe it will become – or already is – the trend in boating. People are getting more and more environmentally conscious and there are areas where you can only cruise with electrical propulsion. We are happy to be on the forefront of electrical-driven boats in the industry.”

Q yachts spokesperson added: Electric propulsion is already starting to have an impact on yacht building, although still mostly on tenders and smaller boats. The one thing of which we are certain, however, is that the future of yachting and superyachting is with electric propulsion.”