Friday, June 13, 2008

Stealthy Enviro-Cat

Remember the Wally Yachts 118 WallyPower? It was an angular, iconoclastic, double-take-inducing 115-footer that was supposed to break new ground in yacht design and ended up not exactly setting the world on fire—at least in terms of sales. Well, someone has decided to double down on the concept. Code-X AG, a Swiss design firm, will soon (sometime this summer, it says) introduce an equally angular 14.5-meter (47'6") catamaran.

But external appearance may be the least unusual thing about this boat. According to the company, motive power will come from a unique hydrid system. A pair of 1,420-hp gasoline engines mated to ZF Trimax surface-piercing drives are predicted to push the Kevlar-and-carbon fiber hull to speeds of around 90 mph. For less frenetic, more environmentally conscious cruising, the owner can choose, via a touch-pad screen, to rely either solely or partly on a bank of photovoltaic modules supplying electric motors and/or lithium batteries.

The mechanical interface between the two systems is said to be "specially developed electronic and cycloidal interlocked gears...that supply 360-degree steering." Under stored electric power, the vessel is projected to cruise at 10 to 15 kph (about 6 to 9 mph) for two hours. Under solar power alone, the vessel should do 5 kpm (about 3 mph) for as long as there's sunlight. I guess the only question is can Code-X find a buyer who likes to go 90 mph but can also endure speeds one-tenth that.

1 comment: said...

Yeah. Great. I love this boat. It's awesome! Has anyone seen any evidence that it has been built and/or launched? Any performance data for even the combustion engines?