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Meet the first X-Yacht with electric propulsion

by X-Yachts 29 Jun 23:19 PDT

The car industry is already far into the transition to green, electric power. But the boat industry is finally beginning to catch up. Due to different challenges this has taken time, but in 2022 there are actual products and practical experience available, making it possible to design and build a reliable and functional system, even for high end yachts.

"We didn't want to be first movers on this area, but preferred to wait until technology and knowledge had matured properly", says Kevin Wallis of X-Yachts Australia. "And I'm really happy to say that the time is finally right to present the first X-Yacht with electric propulsion."

A considerable development phase has led to the new model. X49E is a specially adapted version of the existing X49.

"We worked in close cooperation with the owner of build number one", says technical manager John Morsing. "Finding the right project for our first boat with electric propulsion was crucial. This owner knows our boats well and has a strong passion for green, silent boating. He also wants to go blue water cruising, which puts even bigger demands on the system.

The boat has been upgraded on several areas, such as rig, electronics etc. We have chosen a hybrid system for this boat, which means installing a diesel generator with capacity to take care of power in situations where battery capacity is not sufficient", says Morsing.

The propulsion system in the new X49E is delivered by Finnish Oceanvolt, probably the world leader in electric propulsion systems for yachts.

"Oceanvolt has been a close partner all along", says Morsing. "The boat is fairly big, 49 feet and weighs 12 tons. So we have installed two Oceanvolt ServoProp SD10 engine pods, each 10 kW. They run on 48V, and are mounted on each side of the traditional engine compartment, below the aft cabin bunks. The former engine compartment has become a dedicated technical space, housing the battery bank, charger/inverter, BMS, controllers and so on. The solution with two engines serves two purposes: More power and higher safety through redundancy."

The battery bank has a capacity of 28,8 kW, consisting of LifePo4 lithium batteries, which has a considerably higher available power reserve than traditional lead batteries. Range with pure electric power depends a lot on boat speed, wind and sea state, but a conservative estimate in calm conditions is 22,7 nautical miles at 5 knots. When in need for longer range, the diesel generator (an 11 kW Fischer Panda) is capable of running the boat for as long as there is diesel on board.

One of the major advantages of electrical propulsion is regeneration. When driven by engine, the propellers consume power much like a combustion engine consumes diesel. But when sailing, an electric propulsion system can generate power from the rotating propellers. X4 E can produ- ce up to 3,5 kW under sail (when sailing + 8 knots). This means that sailing for about eight hours will charge the batteries from empty to full. And as a side note: This "full tank" is 100% green and free of cost!

The new X49E will now undergo extensive sea trials, before sailing Garmin Round Danmark Race from 15th of June.

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