Sustainability, electrification or decarbonization is a global mega-trend. No sector can afford to bypass it.
Even in the top segment of extreme niche products in the luxury or yacht sector.
For instance, the Yacht Club de Monaco is the co-founder of the Superyacht Eco Association (SEA) Index, a voluntary assessment to measure the environmental impact of yacht design and use. The aim is to encourage the yachting industry to research and propose solutions to reduce the environmental impact of superyacht designs.
But, of course, sustainability does not end there: the focus in technology-driven industries should be on finding new materials that help us be more planet-friendly.
Brands will have to take sustainability and regenerative and ethical production seriously.
On the other hand, the electric revolution is also here to stay, either as a transitional phase or as a temporary solution.
Moreover, already in 2019 we have decided to invest in an electrified product, because there are different use cases.
Just think of areas or ports where combustion engines are not allowed. There is a segment of “jet-ski” (personal watercraft) owners that would benefit most from an electric solution.
The difficult handling of petrol on a yacht, where expensive storage equipment is often required, can also be avoided. Think also about solar yachts that produce their own energy, which could then be shared with the electric water toys. To this end, we are taking what we learnt from the Burrasca and developing it into an all-electric runabout solution from Marine Hypercraft. In keeping with the Belassi tradition, our goal is not just to create a new product, but to design a new, handmade, home-built masterpiece that embodies the Belassi spirit and quality in every component.
BELASSI ELECTRIC-POWERED PERSONAL WATERCRAFT
We are currently testing the behaviour of the powertrain on a diagnostic machine, so we built a stand-up version with the aim of keeping this vehicle as minimalist as possible. From a mechanical point of view, it is simpler because there are fewer parts to control and we can concentrate on one component at a time and make sure we get the best out of each one.
Developing an electric watercraft involves a number of obstacles.
We accept this challenge and want to bring high-performance watercrafts into the age of electric mobility without compromising the driving experience and the performance.
As far as the product range is concerned, our aim is to offer a smaller and lighter runabout in which we can compensate somewhat for the technological limitations of a battery drive. Battery technology is the big technological bottleneck: the energy density of petrol is a hundred times higher than that of a lithium-ion battery. While electric watercraft are much better at converting energy into motion, fuel-powered boats can store more energy for their journey, yet still outperform electric PWCs in terms of range and speed.
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Overcoming this gap is no easy feat. Combustion engines and electric engines are fundamentally different and simply converting one to the other is impossible. Ultimately, we have to go back to the drawing board, design a new product from scratch and rethink the form and production. But once we do, the potential is infinite.
Will electrics replace combustion engine-powered pwc?
“No, they will not replace it any time soon”, explains our CEO Christian Hintersteininger.
“From a purist point of view, we are actually talking about two different products and we also have new plans for our Burrasca in the coming year. The two products will not compete with each other, but the customer will choose the best solution for his needs and preferences”.
We are excited about what the near future of the electric pwc will be and which product configuration fits most for the electric application. But where we are sure, is that we have to imprint the Belassi heritage on every single component, just like we do with our Burrasca Marine Hypercraft at the moment.