While solar-power electric hybrid vehicles are a proven success story on the roads, the time is ripe for the appearance of solar-electric watercraft. Already a pontoon boat – Loon – is available in the market. It is solar-electric powered and can seat eight passengers. Now a smaller one – the purely electric run, Infinyte I4 – is the new kid in the block. Plans for a bigger boat solar-electric type are also on the anvil.
With a similar looking bow and stern, the i4 boat does have a unique appearance, which as per claim is aiding and increasing the boat’s progress in the water. The boat is about 14 feet long and has twin 24 V motors. The motors are manufactured by Mercury Marine’s MotorGuide Division. The boat can be steered and controlled with a joystick. The boat weighs about 223 kg (710 lb).
The maximum speed it can achieve is 13 kph (8mph). It can run for approximately about 10 hours – which can vary with use and the kind of battery used. There is an onboard charger that can charge the battery at a pinch – say for running at home, but it can be otherwise charged from a traditional domestic 240 V outlet. There is a display panel to show battery status. It can execute a 360 degrees rotation and turn directions easily.
Running on electric power makes for zero carbon emission unlike the gasoline-fed combustion-engined traditional watercrafts. With absolutely no exhaust fumes or oil spills/slicks filled wake, the boat is definitely a great improvement with its silent performance. And its light weight makes it easy for transportation by towing or carrying on top.
Infinyte Marine’s i4 is priced around US $12,999. The company is based at Canada and has dealerships in six countries. It’s website, Infinyte Marine offers all the needed information should you be interested in going for the cute little silent and smart-looking eco-friendly hybrid boat.
There are plans afoot to create a bigger-size, speedier solar-electric boat called i8. It will have roofs for housing the integrated solar panels. It can go at a clipping rate of 32 kph (20 mph) and the battery will be supported by a biodiesel generator. It can seat some 10 travelers and will measure about 7.6 meters (25feet).
The future looks bright for solar-electric water transport vehicles. This will be a definite improvement with their low noise level and zero-carbon emissions. Tourism, boating and pleasure boating will welcome these hybrid watercraft with open arms.