Electric cars are taking over the roads and it is now generally accepted that they will become more common than their combustion engine powered counterparts within the next 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile on the seas, cutting edge hybrid superyachts are set to take over.
In the A$10.19 billion global yacht market, hybrid diesel electric marine engines are now relatively commonplace and this model of propulsion is making leaps and bounds in how much power can be extracted, how long they can run and how efficiently they can power a superyacht.
The end game for a yacht builder using a hybrid diesel electric propulsion system is fuel reduction. In order to make a massive superyacht use less fuel, new hull designs and propellor technologies are being developed alongside advances in hybrid diesel technology, making it easier to cruise, but also to dock the boat.
Purely diesel propulsion systems cannot take advantage of propellors that can swivel and power the boat sideways, while electricity powered propellors can. A conventional diesel propellor must be put into reverse and churn white water in order to move the vessel sideways, wasting a lot of fuel and reducing efficiency.
Advances in superyacht propulsion technology mean the yachts of the future will use less fuel and be able to travel further. Many of the newer hybrid superyachts make use of a more streamlined hull and many more feature enormous battery banks, capable of storing huge amounts of electrical energy.
The following are some of the most fuel efficient, environmentally friendly superyachts ever built.
98m Abeking and Rassmussen – A$360 million
German military shipyard Abeking and Rasmussen had their work cut out for them when reclusive British billionaire Joe Lewis approached them proposing that they build him a yacht with a full size padel tennis court onboard. It took them six months to draw up plans that would usually have taken them at least twice as long. The timeframe for building the yacht was a paltry three years, 12 months less than is usual for a project of this size.
But build it they did, constructing not only one of the world’s biggest superyachts but one that was completely unique and made use of a fuel-cutting hybrid diesel electric propulsion system. Abetting and Rassmussen was told 98 metre Aviva would have a 17 metre beam in order be able to fit all the features requested by the owner. They wanted to design yacht that was sleek and would cut through the water purposefully.
The result is a very attractive design, which hides its scale by omitting some of the usual features of a superyacht that would have given away its enormous size. The shape of her hull means drag is reduced by 20% and Aviva can cruise at 11 knots silently under electric power, her usual cruising speed is 14 knots and she has a maximum speed of 20 knots.
28m Arcadia – A$9.74 million
An ever distinguishable Arcadia-built superyacht, 28-metre, Aria.S is a luxurious, practical and eco-friendly yacht that is designed for guests and the owner to fully experience the exotic locales it is designed to cruise to.
This environmentally focused yacht makes use of a regular feature on Arcadia Yachts’ creations, a huge array of photovoltaic cells on top of the superstructure, which provides a whopping 5 kW. This produces enough to power most of the yacht’s onboard amenities, such as refrigerators, water circulation, toilettes, lights, A/V and electronics.
The bridge deck features a huge helm and panoramic automatic windows that slide down at the touch of a button to let in the sea air when the weather is fine.
A glass canopy separates the indulgent master suite. Views you can enjoy from the comfort of the kingsized bed are unmatched and falling asleep under the stars while on the water makes for an unforgettably relaxing experience.
One of the efficiency-increasing features of this yacht is the design of its semi-displacement hull, developed by the National Physical Laboratory in the UK. When combined with a lightweight infrastructure Aria.S only needs twin 1,000hp MAN V8s, far smaller engines than comparative yachts of this size.
With a respectable cruising speed of 13 knots and a maximum speed of 15 knots, Aria.S can travel up to 1000 nautical miles and is the first of the Arcadia 100 line of yachts.
109m Oceanco – A$324 million
The elongated shape and aggressive look of 109-metre superyacht, Bravo Eugenia, contributes to its efficiency in cutting through the water. That combined with less drag and hydro-dynamic resistance have resulted in it winning many awards for design.
Built in the Netherlands by shipyard Oceanco, she won the ‘La Belle Classe Explorer Award’ in 2019 and was the recipient of the ‘Yacht of the Year’ title also in 2019 at World Yachts Trophies. Her owner, Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones, wanted to focus on making a more sustainable superyacht, regardless of price.
Bravo Eugenia reportedly cost him more than A$313 million and features naval architecture by Lateral Naval Architects, with exterior design by Nuvolari Lenard. Interiors were penned by Reymond Langton Design, in collaboration with Jones’ wife Gene, after whom the vessel was named.
It was built along the parameters of Oceanco’s LIFE design philosophy. LIFE stands for: Lengthened waterline, Innovative layout, Fuel-efficient hull design and Eco-conscious technology. Bravo Eugenia adheres to this plan in order to limit her impact on the marine environment.
Two MTU engines totalling 2,920HP give the vessel a top speed of 19 knots, but the genius of the superyacht’s more environmentally sustainable propulsion lies in its heat and energy recovery structure and an integrated battery system which helps the vessel to reduce fuel consumption by 30%.
Onboard Bravo Eugenia, up to 14 guests can enjoy the use of a beach club, spa massage facilities, a sauna, steam room, plunge pool and rain shower. She also has two helipads and an extensive selection of water toys.
83m Feadship – A$201 million
Hailed as the first ever hybrid Superyacht, 83-metre Savannah was built in 2015 by Feadship with exteriors and interiors by Cristina Gherardi Design. She makes use of a Wärtsilä 9L20 four-stroke which produces 1800kW, charging a Caterpillar C32 and two Caterpillar C18 gensets, which in turn power the contra-rotating azimuthing propellor.
The yacht uses 30% less fuel, which, combined with a streamlined hull shape, gives it a range of 6,500 nautical miles and reduces its impact on the environment. The propellors are 40% larger than those on a conventional superyacht and can rotate to make the vessel more manoeuvrable, meaning easier docking.
The gensets power a massive battery bank storing no less than a million watts. The configuration of the propellors, with one electrically powered propellor positioned in the slip stream of another, has been used in commercial passenger ships in Japan, but never on a superyacht. Feadship had to incorporate this design into Savannah, while keeping vibration and noise to a minimum.
Savannah can accomodate 12 guests in six suites and hosts a crew of up to 26. Engagement and immersion in the exotic and glamorous destinations the vessel is able to cruise is foremost in the design of the superyacht.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in the salon make for breathtaking vistas of the ocean or coastline. An underwater lounge on the lower deck becomes a cinema room with the underside of one of the yacht’s swimming pools on the other side.
49m Heesen – A$44.7 million
Designed to be a literal home on the water for owner, Swiss born Austrian Financial Investor, Harald McPike, 49.8 metre Home is one of the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly superyachts on the water. She was built by Dutch firm Heesen Yachts in 2017.
Home combines a state of the art hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system with a fast displacement hull form by Van Oossanen Naval Architects to deliver 48% more efficiency that other superyachts of a comparable size.
This yacht can cruise silently using electric propulsion, with quick cruising using diesel propulsion or very quick cruising utilising a combination of the two. She boasts a maximum speed of 16.3 knots and a cruising speed of 12 knots.
Made of aluminium with sleek exteriors by Omega Architects and sumptuous interiors drawn up by Cristiano Gatto Design Team, the overall feel of the boat is something that operates at the cutting edge of technology and design, meeting the high standards set by its owner for comfort and reliability.
Power is produced by two MTU 12V 2000 M61 engines that produce 600kW each, powering two Zenoro dual speed gensets churning out 184 ekW at 1,800 rpm or 159 ekW at 1,500 rpm.
When there are guests, one full-beam VIP suite, two double guest suites and two twin guest suites can host up to 12 guests who are seen to by nine crew. There is also an opulent full beam owners suite, a luxurious space to retire to after a hard day’s cruising.