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When pioneers and Believers come together, truly great things can happen. So it has been with German company eD-TEC – pioneers of a new dawn for high-performance all-electric boating, alongside a growing Believer Team of partners – which has unveiled an all-new, high-performance, all-electric RIB, the first of which is currently undergoing sea trials.

To realise this extraordinary new vessel, eD-TEC has formed a strategic alliance with additional Believers, each bringing special capabilities in e-mobility. The new Believers for this strategic partnership will be announced shortly.

The team was able to develop and build the performance carbon monohull with eD-TEC’s revolutionary propulsion system in just nine months, enlisting the expertise of renowned boatbuilding pioneer Sven Akermann who is known for delivering performance and lightweight construction as well as no-nonsense clarity without compromise.

Named the eD 32 c-ultra, the new model – the first of which is nearing completion in Germany – is based on a proven Akermann design, modified in the aft section to cater to eD-TEC’s revolutionary eD-QDrive 1 propulsion units, surface drives, eD-Technology Stack and battery pack. The boat will be delivered in early summer this year.

Measuring 9.5 metres LOA with a 3.2-metre beam and just 0.84-metre draft, the new RIB offers the perfect platform for lake and coastal exploring alike. A 30-knot cruise and 50-knot top speed deliver zero-emission, zero-noise thrill rides, while an optional jet thruster system means the boat is super manoeuvrable in tight spaces, making it perfect for superyacht guest operations.

“We were first in touch with Sven around a year ago because he was interested in what eD-TEC was doing and he supported us, so it was a natural extension to work together and to welcome him onto the eD-TEC Believer Team,” enthuses Michael Jost, founder of eD-TEC and former Chief Strategy Officer at the VW Group. “There aren’t many boatbuilders who can not only build in full carbon but who can also do it to a very rapid development timescale, but the quality of the build is second to none. What’s more,” Jost continues, “the hull is foil-ready, and clients can select a foil-assist system as an option which adds more range and also further aids seakeeping.”

The design, thanks to the compact nature of the drive system and the fact there are no outboard engines, means more space aft for leisure aspects such as the large, dedicated sunpad, with easy access to the water thanks to a huge bathing platform. However, the c-ultra’s unique design and the e-D-TEC electric propulsion system also allow for ultimate flexibility, and the expansive aft surface area can be repurposed to cater to any number of operational profiles. “This first version is targeted specifically at the superyacht and leisure markets,” Jost offers, “but we have had enquiries from a number of different sectors for variants of the eD 32 c-ultra, including for water police and other operations.”

Full-spec flyer

Alongside the performance hull, the c-ultra features a central helm console with two seats and a full glass bridge comprising an Axiom 15.6-inch MFD for navigation and a second screen for systems monitoring, plus a wired MOB system and steering and throttle controls. There’s a forward storage compartment plus that large bathing platform with integrated swim ladder aft of the sunpad, and a hardtop offering shade and protection from the elements over the helm.

There are also extensive options available, including alternative colours, adding a modular sunpad with two additional forward-facing seats, adding a head and a shower, a forward console seat and table plus 36-litre fridge, Ullmann seating, radar, sonar, autopilot, wireless MOB, an entertainment system, and even solar panels on the hardtop that can be used to run the domestic and entertainment systems. Owners can also specify additional sun awnings, a performance prop set, the foil-assist system, and a jet thruster system for improved low-speed manoeuvrability.

Power boating

The first hull is equipped with more than 100kWh of batteries in eD-TEC’s slimline battery pack form, which allows for a range of up to 30 nautical miles on a single charge. These connect via the Technology Stack and AI BOX to the self-contained eD-QDrive 1 drive units, which contain the motors, gearing and surface-piercing propellers. The sealed drive units not only hold all components – making them maintenance free – but they also offer the ultimate in plug-and-play convenience, with the entire drive unit featuring just two connectors and taking less than an hour to unmount and mount through the transom of the boat. What’s more, the AI system allows for over-the-air (OTA) updates, which means the drives can be continually improved as the tech backbone is further refined and developed by eD-TEC.

The eD-QDrive units provide up to 400kW peak power to the props which, combined with totally silent operation, makes for an eye-popping, draw-dropping boating experience. Having been developed from the ground up to an all-new design and technology philosophy rather than relying on adapted tech from automotive or other sectors, the eD-QDrive 1 units are unique in the marine sector and are transformative both in what they deliver for performance and what they offer boatbuilders and boat owners alike in ease of installation, operation and maintenance. Combined with the sleek lines and proven hull of the c-ultra, the result is a real leap forward in performance electric boating.

The c-ultra features not only standard 22kW AC charging, but also 150kW DC-DC fast charging which can take the batteries to 80 percent charge in just 40 minutes, making it suitable for superyacht tender operations. eD-TEC is also currently developing a higher capacity battery pack which will allow up to 140kWh of batteries for even greater range and operating time, and which should be available in the second half of 2024.

“High-performance electric boats are still considered something of a niche, but we believe the eD 32 c-ultra is perfect for superyachts, and for clients with lakeside or shoreside villas who want the ultimate, clean runabout at the end of their pier,” Jost says. “And of course,” he adds, “there are those other operational profiles for which this RIB provides the perfect platform.

“It has been a long road to get to this point, and there was a lot of pain along the way,” Jost concludes, “although often the problems we ran into during the development of the system were less related to the technological leaps we were making and more to do with traditional problems such as construction issues and watertightness of the original test platforms! That’s the beauty of working with Sven for this production-ready RIB – the quality of the build is second to none, which makes it the perfect platform for our electric drive which we have developed and refined over the past 18 months into a simplified and super-robust system. The eD 32 c-ultra is going to be a game-changer both for us and for the boating market.”