BMW and Torqeedo will collaborate on lightweight, zero-emission drive technology for German sailor Boris Herrmann, who plans to compete in the next edition of the Vendée Globe, the solo, non-stop race around the world, which starts in November in 2020.
BMW has a record of transferring technology between competitive sailing and automobile manufacturing through its involvement in the America’s Cup. Materials developed for racing, such as ultra-lightweight carbon fiber reinforced polymer, are used to manufacture BMW’s all-electric i3 and hybrid i8 vehicles.
The lithium batteries that these vehicles use have been adapted to power Torqeedo’s electric drive systems for boats. The objective of the collaboration with BMW is to develop an alternative to the 840-pound diesel units that are on board the Vendée boats primarily for safety.
An electric motor can act as a hydrogenerator while the yacht is under sail, charging the batteries and providing power to the systems and the canting keel.
“Emission-free round the world under race conditions, whilst simultaneously producing your own energy, is a thoroughly inspirational concept,” Herrmann said in a statement. “Our technology partner BMW is conducting intensive research into battery development for hybrid and electric cars. We share a common vision of integrating these batteries into Malizia.” (Malizia is yacht Herrmann plans to sail in the race.)
“This project capitalizes on Torqeedo’s expertise with fully integrated electric motor and power management systems for the marine environment and BMW’s leading-edge battery technology,” Torqeedo CEO Christoph Ballin said.