Electric watercraft are an increasingly popular segment of the boating market. But a new electric catamaran from Sweden known as the POL Lux is taking it one step further with an electric boat that recharges from the sun.
POL is a Swedish startup that wants to make electric boating last even longer by adding solar panels into the mix.
That’s why the company’s first model, the POL Lux, comes equipped with roof-mounted solar to recharge the battery. Whether the boat is underway or docked, the solar panels constantly charge up the battery… as long as the sun is shining.
The 7.8 meter (25 ft.) POL Lux is built using catamaran construction with a cork deck. The boat is designed to fit up to 13 adults, and there’s even a large net that lets a few of them lay out over the water at the bow. The boat includes an asymmetrical driving position to offer more modular options for socially optimized seating.
The Lux isn’t just a day cruiser though. It was designed to keep going even into the night. That means its modular design can be outfitted as a camper. A custom tent walls off the cabin from rain or peering eyes, while the benches convert into beds. There’s even a suspended mattress that hangs like a hammock higher in the cabin for extra guests.
As the company explained:
We created a flexible space, with modular components to allow for multiple configurations, encouraging you to use the space how you wish. Bring on board what you need, leave behind what you don’t.
If you’re prone to seasickness though, a hammock on a boat might not be your idea of the best night’s sleep.
A pair of electric motors power the POL Lux up to a maximum speed of 11 knots (12.6 mph or 20.3 km/h), though it cruises at closer to 7 knots (8 mph or 13 km/h).
Should the batteries ever run out of charge, the boat can still operate purely on solar power at a reduced speed of 4 knots (4.6 mph or 7.4 km/h). As long as you aren’t trying to go more than 60 nm on a charge (69 miles or 111 km), then the batteries shouldn’t run dry on you.
The 18 kWh battery is closer in size to something found in an electric motorcycle than an electric car. But the efficient catamaran design and lower top speed of the boat help it sip away slowly at the battery, resulting in decent range.
The boat may have two electric motors, but they’re still much quieter than conventional ICE outboard motors. As the company explained, reducing the sound helps reduce the barrier between boaters and nature:
We set about to create an adventure craft that can take you off the beaten path, transporting you via a fully electrified drivetrain, leaving nothing between you & nature.
The POL Lux started in-water testing of the first prototype earlier this year, and the company is already taking reservations for future owners to score an early spot in line.
The eventual price for the Lux will start at 1.4 million SEK including VAT (approximately €128,000 or US $135,000).
That’s a good bit cheaper than some other electric boats we’ve covered, such as fellow electric boat makers X Shore and Candela. Both of those boats are quite a bit fancier with higher power motors and faster top speeds, plus the Candela’s hydrofoil design puts it in a different class altogether.
Having seen both X Shore and Candela boats in person, I’ll have to withhold my judgement of the POL Lux until I can get a closer look at one. But if the boat can actually deliver with decent solar recharging and a fun camper-on-the-water experience, then there may be quite a line of boaters waiting for POL to start pumping out these solar-powered electric catamarans.
Until then, I’ll leave you with a video below of my high-flying experience pushing a Candela C-8 electric boat right out of the water and into the air.
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