Polestar to provide batteries for electric boats that ‘fly’ over water

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    A Candela boat photographed in Sweden in August 2021. Candela uses hydrofoils, which lift a vessel’s hull above the water’s surface when travelling.

    Mikael Sjoberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

    Luxury EV maker Polestar will provide battery and charging systems to electric boat firm Candela after the two Swedish companies signed a multi-year agreement.

    In a statement Tuesday, Polestar said the deal represented the beginning of a “broader intended partnership” between itself and Candela. Both businesses, it said, were “committed to exploring further opportunities for future collaboration.”

    In its own announcement, Candela — which has offices in Stockholm and Sausalito, California — said the agreement would enable it to “tap into state-of-the-art automotive battery technology and scale up production” of its electric boats.

    Established in 2014, Candela uses hydrofoils, a piece of kit that lifts a boat’s hull above the water’s surface when traveling. The business describes its zero-emission C-8 and P-8 Voyager as “flying” above water at 30 knots, or around 34.5 miles per hour.

    It adds that its hydrofoil tech can reduce the energy usage of powerboats by as much as 80%.

    Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

    Candela said the deal with Polestar reflected an attempt to overcome hurdles related to the electrification of boating. These included what it called the “prohibitively high cost of marine batteries for electric boats.”

    It added that electric boatbuilders had, to date, typically “relied on smaller, boutique vendors of marine battery packs. Scarcity and high unit costs of these packs are two factors that have prevented electric boats from achieving parity with ICE vessels.”

    By tying up with Polestar and tapping into its resources — Polestar’s founders are Volvo Cars and China’s Geely Holding — the hope is that this challenge can be overcome.

    “To make electric boats mainstream, we need to build thousands of boats every year,” Candela CEO Gustav Hasselskog said.

    “Working together with Polestar, we’re able to bring the scale of production and world class engineering from the automotive industry to the marine sector,” Hasselskog said.

    Marine-based transport is no different from other types of mobility in that it has a considerable environmental footprint. Efforts to address this are being made in a number of ways.

    In June, for example, Brittany Ferries said a ship set to carry passengers between the U.K. and France in the next few years would be the largest hybrid vessel ever built.

    In an announcement at the time, the company said the Saint-Malo vessel would have a battery capacity of 11.5-megawatt hours. This, it added, was “approximately double that typically used for hybrid propulsion in marine vessels.”

    The idea behind hybrid ships is that they can run on liquefied natural gas — a fossil fuel — battery power or a combination of the two.

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