A first look at Molniya’s ‘Lightning Foil’


A fast, all-electric, silent sports yacht is being built in Russia. The Molniya Lighting Foil, marketed as a world first by its creators, looks to combine sustainable engineering with speed and provides a new, environmentally friendly option as a superyacht tender.

Superyacht Investor spoke to Artem Markov, founder of the Molniya Foil and the craft’s technical engineer about why he chose to build it. Since embarking on a career in yachting in 1997 Markov took pleasure in the “comfort” of yachting but realised it was lost at higher speed. In 2014, when trying to work out how to combine both comfort and silence he decided on the idea of the electric hydrofoil.

“Electric motor – this is silence and power and almost no vibration. Whilst the hydrofoil gives the boat less resistance than a classic type of hull.” said Markov.

Three years later in November 2017, Markov’s team began building the hardware and launched the first boat in May 2020.

“When we have started the project in 2017 there was only Candela and us in the world of electric foil boats. In 2019 and 2020 there are now more than 10 serial electric boats at the market. I think in next two to three years this trend in boatbuilding will begin to grow worldwide.”

The 8.9m Molniya has a top speed of 36 knots with a range of 37.5 miles at that speed but at 5-7 knots it can travel up to 134 miles. The vessel can be operated via smartphone and with 4G connection will send live engine diagnosis to Molniya. Also, the onboard system display will not leave you marooned; it will warn you, cut down consumption and keep some charge for the way back home.

The vessel is largely built from scratch by the team. Markov told Superyacht Investor. Components include:

  • Propulsion system
  • Balance power management system
  • Intelligent self-diagnostics systems with data exchange through the cloud
  • Autopilot system with option of driving and control of the boat from smartphone
  • Night vision with 360 view
  • Drive shaft system
  • Foils
  • Hull.

Markov continued: “In 2017 we started constructing a prototype in metal… Now the first boat is on water and we are collecting pre-orders for boats and plan to establish full serial production in 2021. Also, in 2021 we hope that we will be able to hold a road show with our boat, visiting a number of major boat shows, in order to establish relationships with possible business partners and customers.”


The Molniya Lighting Foil – at a glance

  • Range: 300-500km at 10% (cruise) speed
  • Length: 8.9m
  • Width: 1.9m
  • Winged water draft: 0.85m
  • Winged draft during movement: 0.5m
  • Normal power: 80Kwt
  • Peak power: 110Kwt
  • Normal rotational moment: 130nm
  • Peak rotational moment: 320nm
  • Charging time: 3.5 hours.

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