“I see what we are doing at SILENT-YACHTS as being like what Tesla did in the automotive industry,” says chief marketing Franz Böse. “They started developing an electric car when no one else in the world thought it was a good idea. And just look now. Our founders did something very similar.”
SILENT-YACHTS is a disruptor in the superyacht industry, firmly set on a mission to spark a green revolution with its fully electric yachts. While other yards have been slowly – and, some might say, belatedly – investigating the possibilities of introducing alternative drive-train solutions, SILENT-YACHTS ripped up the blueprints for what a yacht could be.
Like at Tesla, the SILENT-YACHTS team didn’t want to compromise in chasing their objective. They wanted to combine the noiseless cruising and unlimited range of a sailboat with the comfort of a motor yacht. To have true ocean-crossing capabilities and virtually no need for maintenance. To allow luxury self-sufficient yachting to truly go hand in hand with nature.
And the result is a line of seven solar catamarans ranging from the SILENT 60 at 18 metres to the SILENT 120 Explorer at 36.7 metres. On each one, solar power is used for propulsion, powering all navigation, household and comfort appliances (including AC) and for charging toys and tenders. When the sun isn’t shining, power comes from state-of-the-art lithium batteries charged by photovoltaic modules on the top and middle deck roofs. There is no diesel motor lying ready “just in case” (although there is a diesel regenerator to top up the batteries if needed).
“The boats run very efficiently because right from the start we intended them to be solar electric boats,” says Böse. “You can live 100% from the solar energy. It’s quieter, more stable and you can do everything you want. You are also more independent – you have watermarkers, you can be out at sea for a very extended period of time. Our catamarans offer an environmentally friendly approach plus the opportunity for maximum freedom.”
SILENT-YACHTS has seen a change in owners becoming increasingly eco-conscious. “Most of our customers drive electric cars, they have solar panels on their houses or their company buildings, they are tech people that have a different mindset,” Böse says. “They are striving for a better future and are interested in something different. I am sure there will be customers who might get pressure from their children, who say ‘Dad, you can’t have a yacht that burns that much fuel’.
“Most of our clients understand this is the right approach to yachting and how the future will be like.” And younger owners themselves are interested because they “don’t see motor yachts as an option for them because they know how much diesel and fuel big boats can consume”, he adds.
As awareness of climate change continues to grow, the yard believes the tide is turning in the industry. “The market is growing, interest in and enquiries about our boats is increasing,” says Böse. “We have customers that used to own a big sailing yacht or motor yacht but now they want a more relaxed and environmentally focused approach to yachting. Our niche will further grow; every year the slice of the cake will get bigger. Regular diesel catamarans will become outdated and unpopular. I am convinced they will die because eclectic cats have so many advantages.” He predicts a switch to electric boats in the smaller size ranges, too, once there’s an improvement in the charging systems
SILENT-YACHTS has sold more than 50 solar catamarans so far, with about 25 boats in build. By 2025, it expects to be producing 25 a year. Of its models, the 60 is the most efficient because it’s the smallest. With any new technology, there are bound to be some humps in the road. Böse admits that in port or on anchor, the 120 can run 100% on silent electric for a long time but might have more need of the diesel generator to add to the propulsion from time to time.
SILENT-YACHTS’ green revolution is already starting to positively affect the wider industry, Böse believes. “We are convinced that what we did a decade ago, when SILENT-YACHTS was founded, ensured the industry started to change. Now we are seeing new companies opening with similar boats and big shipyards beginning to invest in alternative drive-train solution. And we welcome that transition. It was always one of our main motivations.”
The yard has plans to expand its offering, but for now it is – true to the brand name – keeping quiet. As Böse adds: “We will for sure enlarge our range – in which direction and with which boats we will keep a secret for now.”
To discover more about the SILENT-YACHTS, visit the company’s website.Read more from SILENT-YACHTS