VIDEO: Island Packet joins with designer on electric boat

Electric-boat designer Nancy Frainetti teamed up with Largo, Fla.-based Island Packet Yachts to build the L24e, a 24-foot electric boat.
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Electric-boat designer Nancy Frainetti teamed up with Largo, Fla.-based Island Packet Yachts to build the L24e, a 24-foot electric boat.

The boat is powered by batteries, driven by an all-magnetic motor and augmented by solar panels on a hard-shell canopy.

The Great Recession nearly ruined Frainetti’s plan to build the boats.

Teaming up with Island Packet Yachts "took about a year,” Frainetti told Tampa TV station Fox 13 on Friday. “We're going to start hitting the market now — I mean, nobody knows we exist."

The vessel runs with essentially no sound at roughly the speed of a boat under sail. Frainetti said the batteries, plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet, will recharge overnight at a cost of about $1.50. The charge will last about 10 hours.

Solar panels built into a hard-shell canopy will charge the batteries if the boat is not used for three or four days, but they are always at work.

"A lot of people will go somewhere and anchor a boat, and then while they're playing in the water, it's charging," Frainetti explained.

In round numbers, prices range from $70,000 to $120,000, depending on options.

The boat designer referred to her 2007 product as a prototype. But at that time “the technology wasn't there. Nor was people's awareness that electric propulsion is viable."

Now it is up to the marketplace to decide whether the market has changed.

"With Tesla, with Prius, with all of the technology out there in the car industry, I think this is absolutely more acceptable," Frainetti said.

Frainetti said Island Packet is geared to start building one vessel a week, but the company is prepared to supply whatever the market demands.

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