A hybrid fleet out of Europe

Posted on Written by Chris Landry

24_hybrid_01Greenline targets the U.S. yacht market with diesel-electric boats in 33-, 40- and 46-foot models

A Slovenian company has sold 300 of its energy-efficient Greenline electric-diesel pilothouse yachts to owners from 40 countries and now is turning its sights on the United States.

“Europe is still our home market, so 85 percent of our sales have been in Europe,” says Greenline Yachts sales manager Rok Babarovic, speaking with Soundings Trade Only from his office in Slovenia. “We were expecting a bit more out of the U.S., but then again we have not been 100 percent focused on the U.S. Now we are.”

Greenline Yachts is part of the Seaway Group and its newly formed Seaway Yachts. The group provides design, engineering and tooling for power- and sailboats. In addition to building Greenline boats, the group manufactures the Shipman line of carbon fiber sailboats and Skagen pilothouse motoryachts.

Brothers Japec and Jemej Jakopin of J&J Design designed the Greenline hybrid and its propulsion system. J&J has dozens of yacht designs to its credit, including Bavaria, Prestige, Monte Carlo, Salona and Zeelander. Seaway also designed the Sea Ray 370 Venture’s propulsion installation that conceals twin outboards.

The three models

The Greenline fleet consists of a 33-, 40- and 46-footer. The 46, introduced at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in Germany in January, hits the market in Europe in September, Babarovic says. The 33 was on display at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach in February. A Greenline 40 was sold at the U.S. Powerboat Show in Annapolis, Md., last October.

24_hybrid_02“The Greenline 40 hybrid was designed as a larger yacht with the same philosophy behind the 33: a low-drag, energy-saving hull coupled with hybrid [diesel/electric] and solar technology, bringing unique efficiency in the use of natural resources,” Babarovic says. “Under electric power, the 40 has a maximum speed of 6 knots, so you’ll be exiting and entering marinas and going from one bay to another in complete silence, with absolutely no emissions. We do believe this is the future. We are now introducing the third generation of the hybrid system already.”

The 40, which won the Green Award in the 2012 AIM Marine Group Editor’s Choice Awards, has a range of 500 nautical miles and 20 nautical miles under electric power only. The system runs on one propulsion component at a time, and the controls are used for both electric and diesel modes. The lithium batteries have a life expectancy of 10 years. The yacht stores electrical energy through solar panels and from the main engine-driven generator.

Building a network

Greenline North America currently has three dealers — Annapolis (Md.) Yacht Sales, Fort Lauderdale-based Denison Yacht Sales and Bosun’s Yacht Sales & Service in Vancouver, British Columbia, says Constantinos K. Constantinou, general manager of Greenline North America. “We have seven dealers, mostly up and down the Eastern Seaboard, we are currently in discussion with,” he says. “Our goal is to have six to eight dealers appointed by the end of 2013. We are looking forward to expanding in North America in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Annapolis Yacht Sales has been a Greenline dealer for 3-1/2 years. “Greenline came out with a technology that has worked very well,” says Tim Wilbricht, president of Annapolis Yacht Sales, which has sold six 33s and one 40. “There is always going to be a learning curve and trials and tribulations along the way, but they have produced a significant number of boats and aren’t going away any time soon.”

With a single 150-hp Volkswagen diesel and 7-kW electric motor/generator, the 33 runs about $325,000. The 40, with twin 150-hp Volkswagen diesels and electric motors/generators, is $475,000. “The boats are well built, and the fit and finish is extremely nice,” Wilbricht says. “It’s an economical boat to buy, despite all the technology involved. It’s not like you’re buying a high-tech piece of equipment and paying twice what you normally pay without all that technology. You are paying for a boat with an extremely high level of technology and paying what other people are paying for their gas-guzzling boats.”

25_hybrid_01Greenline boats can be powered without the electric component, Babarovic says. “Greenline is not all about the electric drive,” he says. “It is a modern, efficient trawler, and this is how the project was pretty much defined or conceptualized — to create a product efficient and affordable.”

Greenline calls its low-drag hull a “super displacement” design, with two small fins appended to the aft section of the hull that provide stability, Babarovic says.

In addition to the hybrid propulsion and efficient hull design, the Greenline yachts are built with lightweight materials in resin-infused construction.

But Greenline is more than just function. People appreciate its form, too. The traditional-looking boats, with their high freeboard, large pilothouse windows and overhanging hardtop with arches, certainly attract attention, Wilbricht says.

“People really like the look of the boat first and foremost — they think it’s really cool,” he says. “There are certainly people out there who have a strong affinity for being good to the environment and do not do [much] high-speed boating. It would be an ideal boat for doing something like the Great Loop.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue.

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