Swedish tech company Candela has raised US$20m to bring its passenger hydrofoil vessels to mass production.
According to the company, its electric hydrofoil technology promises to help operators switch to sustainable electric vessels by offering shorter travel times, frequent departures and more comfort than traditional ships while substantially decreasing operational costs.
The Skr210m (US$20m) investment is co-led by EQT Ventures and investor duo Joel Eklund (Fosielund Holding AB) and Svante Nilo Bengtsson (Marknadspotential AB), with participation from Ocean Zero, among others. The funds will be used to bring Candela’s foiling 30-passenger ferry Candela P-12 Shuttle to mass production in the company’s new Stockholm factory.
Moving above the surface on computer-guided hydrofoils, the P-12 Shuttle uses 80% less energy than traditional vessels, which translates into a record range of 60 nautical miles on one charge at a cruising speed of 27kts. When it launches in the summer of 2023, the P-12 Shuttle will reportedly become the fastest and longest-range electric passenger vessel in the world. Furthermore, a recent lifecycle analysis by Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology concluded that a P-12 ferry will emit 97.5% less carbon dioxide over its lifetime compared with a diesel vessel of the same size – a figure that includes emissions from production, operations over 30 years and recycling. The Candela P-12 can also cut operational costs by 50% thanks to its low energy usage and maintenance.
Candela is in sales discussions with more than 180 interested parties. The first P-12 Shuttle operator will be the Region of Stockholm, moving commuters between the suburb of Ekerö and central Stockholm. Travel time will be cut from the current 55 minutes by car, bus or conventional diesel ferry to just 25 minutes in the P-12. Since the vessel creates zero wake, it has received an exemption from the 12kt speed limit on Stockholm’s urban waterways, resulting in more frequent departures compared with traditional ferries.
At the heart of the hydrofoil tech stack is Candela’s Flight Controller, a computer that automatically stabilizes the vessel during flight by regulating the hydrofoils, using data from sensors that gauge wave height and wind speed, among other factors. In rough weather, passengers experience 90% less g force than they would on a traditional ship. Across the coastal and urban segments of vessels, Candela estimates the total addressable market for its electric watercraft to be more than US$30bn.
Lars Jörnow, a partner at investor EQT Ventures, commented, “The P-12 Shuttle will be a game-changer for passenger water travel. Candela is on a trajectory to become a generation-defining company, revolutionizing the waterborne transportation market by offering the most climate-friendly, low-cost and customer-delighting boating experiences in the world.”
Bengtsson, who is to take a seat on the Candela board, commented, “Candela’s tech stack is truly impressive. The experience of flying above the water in complete silence is just pure magic. This, while simultaneously reducing operational costs, will be key to speeding up the transition to sustainable waterborne transport.”
Gustav Hasselskog, founder and CEO of Candela, said, “This new investment will unlock the potential of underutilized waterways for climate-friendly, high-speed commuting. The P-12 Shuttle will in many cases be faster and cheaper than land transport like bus lines, and it will be profitable for operators from day one. Waterborne transport is the next frontier set for sustainable disruption, and it’s happening now.”