Nov 24, 2021

Dr. Ralf Plieninger and Phillip GoetheGroupe Beneteau’s first step into the future of marine propulsion is a collaborative solution between the Excess brand, Torqeedo and ZF, which was honoured with a Boat Builder Award during METSTRADE.

The E’Lab, an Excess 15 with Deep Blue Hybrid, was nominated in the category of “Collaborative Solution between Boat or Superyacht Builder and its Supply Chain Partner”. This prestigious award recognises boat builders and supply chain partners that have collaborated from a conceptual stage to develop a particular solution to a design challenge, innovation or efficiency improvement.

The three companies have been working together to bring the first installation of Torqeedo and ZF’s new Deep Blue 50 kW saildrives to life in an Excess 15 catamaran. This project is part of a global Groupe Beneteau strategy, currently undertaking hybrid and fully electric engine projects across a wide variety of brands and boats in efforts to further reduce the brand’s carbon footprint.

The collaboration also extended beyond these three icons of the marine industry, right to the general public. The Excess Lab is an online forum that connects Excess experts directly to their owners and potential owners. Onboard energy management and questions about alternative propulsion are some of the most popular topics and helped the companies define what sailors actually want from a hybrid sailing yacht. This sense of openness, of questioning everything, and seeking all avenues and manners of expertise has resulted in a huge step in electric and hybrid sailing reaching the mainstream.

Industry-changing projects of this manner can’t succeed without all partners sharing a common commitment. ZF and Torqeedo started the partnership by co-developing the Deep Blue 50 kW saildrive as part of the overall Deep Blue system architecture.

“From the beginning, there was quite a good strategic fit between both companies,” said Massimiliano Cotterchio, head of sales and marketing for ZF Padova. “Torqeedo brought in a wide experience on the electrical side and, combined with our mechanical experience and 20 years of market experience in saildrives led to a very successful product.”

When Excess came on board, the first application was defined and the business of designing the perfect system was underway. The partnership has enjoyed the full support of all three companies’ engineering, production and product management teams. The yacht has been extensively tested and continues to be optimised almost daily – the Excess 15 is very much a living laboratory, a model of a collaborative solution, and a glimpse of more to come.

“This is the first step,” said Thibaut de Montvalon, Excess Brand Director. “The plan is to develop a full range of solutions depending on the size of the boat, for different models with Torqeedo engines and equipment.”

Aboard the Excess 15 with Deep Blue Hybrid, owners enjoy all onboard luxuries without the noise and fumes of a running generator. The bluewater sailing configuration consists of twin Deep Blue 50 kW electric saildrives developed in cooperation with ZF, two Deep Blue high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, and a full power management system for managing onboard energy generation and distribution.

When you leave the dock, you immediately notice the reduction in noise and the improved maneuverability from the electric saildrives. The high torque at low rpm and fully variable, gearless design makes it simple to maneuver the yacht even in tight quarters.

Once at sea, owners will appreciate the abundance of power available. Deep Blue’s energy management system keeps you constantly informed of how much power is being consumed and generated by each system component, which naturally encourages more sustainable behavior onboard.

When the system detects that the yacht is sailing in good winds, Deep Blue automatically engages the drives and uses the spinning propellers to charge the high-voltage battery bank. The energy generated is used for much more than just propulsion. The system includes a DC-DC converter to keep a 12V battery bank for hotel loads fully charged and a DC-AC inverter for larger loads like the air conditioning and watermaker. On the yacht’s first long test sail, the hydrogeneration system easily provided enough electricity to power one hundred per cent of the onboard hotel loads at a cruising speed of seven to eight knots.

The yacht can also be recharged via shore power and the system is completed by two diesel range extenders for backup power in case of extended bad weather or when long-distance motoring is required.

“We are proud to work with industry leaders like Excess Catamarans and ZF,” said Dr Ralf Plieninger, managing director of Torqeedo. “We could not ask for more professional or visionary partners to help drive the future of the marine industry.”

 

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