The Electric Elegance38 day cruiser aims to bring a sense of luxury and refinement back to yachting – all while sporting an advanced zero-emission propulsion system.
While many electrification projects champion the performance attributes made possible by an electric or hybrid propulsion system, an altogether more refined experience is being offered by the team at Electric Yachts in Porto Cervo, Italy, in the form of the Electric Elegance38 (EE38).
Luxury, comfort and elegance – rather than eye-watering acceleration – are the focus of the new day cruiser, designed by renowned industry icon Jean-Jacques Coste.
“Hopefully this doesn’t sound conceited in any way, but the original vision was to reintroduce elegance into yachting – something we feel may have been lost in the general development and race to create ever-larger yachts,” explains Roger Ericson, founder of Electric Yachts and the co-founder and creative director of the EE38 project. “The classic yachts were not very big, but were almost always very elegant. This has been key since the vision first came into play some six years ago. It remained a key element after I engaged with Jean-Jacques Coste, who at the time was working on recreating the elegance of the American lake boats of the 1920s through a new design for a wooden yacht.”
Coste, the famed French yacht designer whose name has become synonymous with some of the most stunning vessel designs in recent years, has become crucial to the EE38 project. He not only designed the vessel’s shape, but also played a fundamental role in determining the propulsion system’s specification, layout and – perhaps most crucially – the shaping of the end user’s experience to channel the more traditional aspects of luxury yachting.
“The vision was to create a yacht that would represent three factors – performance, elegance and silence – through a sleek design with minimal resistance,” explains Ericson. “It’s a truly elegant expression, incorporating the feel of the aforementioned wooden yachts and the lines of [Coste’s] Galaxy of Happiness [yacht design].”
More haste, less speed
When it comes to the EE38’s propulsion system, the vessel represents a fascinating sidestep from the occasionally dogmatic tendencies of some new ship designs.
“Top speed is of little or no interest to us,” explains Ericson, revealing that the guiding priorities for the EE38’s power systems were autonomy, comfort and safety. “The EE38 will have a top speed of 40kts,” he admits, “and that can be fun. But sailing safely and in great comfort is what we feel is of the greatest importance.” At the time of writing (October 2022 issue of Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International], Ericson was unable to reveal some of the finer details of the cruiser’s propulsion setup, but in terms of its final specification, he explains, the project is pretty close to complete.
“We are done, as far as components and design go and [in terms of]what it will give and do for the EE38. All is ready to go, from the battery to the propellers.”
The vessel’s propulsion system components will all be customized in collaboration with leading partners.
“There are no off-the-shelf parts in this system. It’s a customized design down to the smallest detail.”
The EE38 will feature a dual-motor setup (2 x 300kW), powered by a 380kWh battery. Using twin shafts, the vessel’s projected range is 65-70 nautical miles of mixed sailing and it will have a cruising speed of 20kts.
“The two-motor layout was a Jean-Jacques Coste decision,” explains Ericson. “His experience is exceptional, so when he says the performance of the EE38 will be best with dual shafts and motors, then that’s what it is.”
The 380kWh battery will be centrally located under the cockpit, with the capacity scaled to deliver the best combination of comfort and usable range. This will yield, as Ericson describes it, “the best possible comfort, as you will be able to sail for relatively long distances”.
At launch there will be a second powertrain specification available, featuring two 400kW motors and a 450kWh battery. And Ericson isn’t ruling out further choices for customers.
“I am sure that as we go along, additional options will become part of what is offered,” he says. “At this time our focus is on what we feel to be the most sensible.”
Similarly there are already plans for further vessel variants, though Ericson stresses such designs are in the early stages of development.
“There are tentative plans to introduce a 28ft version after launching the EE38,” he explains. “Needless to say, this is without the full cabin and some of the other features of the EE38 that require the size we are now working with.”
The vessel, Ericson also reveals, is now production ready – he goes as far as to confirm that this will begin “shortly”, at a location that has been confirmed but not yet shared. The first yacht is scheduled for delivery in late April 2023.
The key for the EE38 is made by Supernovas – a London- and Milan-based company that transforms waste and unwanted materials into recyclable objects and furniture. “They turn plastic found in the ocean into items,” says Ericson. “This is an item that will be continually associated with the Electric Elegance38 yacht.”
One is the magic number
It may sound obvious, but sustainability is a key principle for the team at Electric Yachts, so it was important for ocean conservation to be a big part of the EE38 development project.
The One Ocean Foundation – headquartered in Milan – is a non-profit organization that aims to accelerate solutions for problems faced by the world’s oceans. It seeks to achieve this by, in its own words, inspiring international leaders, institutions, companies and people to promote a sustainable marine economy, in addition to improving the knowledge of the ocean and highlighting and fighting many of the challenges facing the ocean community.
“We have actively supported these efforts for some time now,” says Ericson. “The net proceeds from the sale of the first EE38 yacht, which will be sold through an auction to run from November to March 2023, will go to support the foundation. We are hoping for a sale at a value substantially higher than the starting price of the EE38, which is €975,000 [US$976,000].”