Soel Yachts debuts solar-electric catamaran

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The 16-person catamaran — built in New Zealand — will be launched this week in Auckland.

The 16-person catamaran — built in New Zealand — will be launched this week in Auckland.

The Dutch company Soel Yachts is partnering with Naval DC to put its years of solar electric naval experience into the SoelCat 12, a sustainable vessel designed for saltwater operations.

This week the solar electric 16-person catamaran — built in New Zealand — will be launched in Auckland.

Energy-autonomous and ready for all water taxi services, dive operations and reef excursions, “the SoelCat 12 reduces all disturbing sound and [carbon dioxide] emissions in our harbors, lagoons and oceans,” Soel Yachts co-founder Joep Koster said in a statement.

With an installed battery capacity of 2 x 60 kWh, the SoelCat 12 standard operational profile is set to a cruising speed of 8 knots, with a range of 6 hours solely running on battery power, and a maximum speed of 14 knots.

Once the sun starts to shine, the vessel’s cruising speed of 8 knots is prolonged to 7.5 hours. Lowering the speed to the so-called break-even speed of 6 knots results in a 24-hour range, and this is even throughout the night, when there is no energy harvest from the solar array.

“One cannot just take any existing hull shape, add an electric motor and hope that it achieves a range of 150 nautical miles,” system integrator David Czap said. “Efficient electric propulsion requires an entirely different approach from nowadays technologies and practices. Therefore, all our vessels are integrally designed from start to finish for and with electric propulsion and the specific duty cycle in mind.”

The company believes there is an opportunity to provide more sustainable water transport in cities such as Sydney, Australia, that are seeking sustainable transport to reduce traffic.

Soel Yachts will be available for test drives in Auckland on Sunday at the Viaduct Harbour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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