BMW partners with the boat builder Tyde to create the Icon electric watercraft. It debuts during the 76th Cannes Film Festival. While this is a one-off at the moment, the companies claim the craft is production-ready.
The Icon has two, 134-horsepower (100-kilowatt) electric motors, and there are six batteries from the defunct BMW i3 providing a total capacity of 240 kilowatt-hours. The boat rides on hydrofoils that lift the craft out of the water when on the move. According to BMW, this setup reduces energy requirements by up to 80 percent. It can cruise at 24 knots (28 miles per hour) and has a max speed of 30 knots (35 mph). The maximum range between recharges is 50 nautical miles.
Gallery: BMW And Tyde The Icon Boat
The Icon has a roughly triangular shape that tapers from a wide rear to a pointed nose. The craft measures 43.14 feet (13.15 meters) long, and the rear is 14.8 feet (4.5 meters) wide. Windows dominate each side, which gives occupants an expansive view out of the boat. BMW Designworks is responsible for the look.
Glass doors at the rear allow access to a lounge area. The boat's controls are also in there. The captain monitors everything from a 32-inch touchscreen display that runs at a 6K resolution. The user interface is similar to BMW's iDrive system. It also supports voice commands for getting range info and weather reports.
Other occupants enjoy 360-degree rotating seats so that they can enjoy the full view out of the large windows. A tablet-based infotainment system lets them control the entertainment.
While there seem to be no plans actually to mass produce it, BMW believes a boat like the Icon could appeal to private buyers or commercial customers. The hydrofoils don't create a wake like a normal watercraft, and the electric motors are quieter than combustion engines. So something like this could provide serene journeys across the water.
The company Candela is exploring similar ideas as the BMW Icon. Its C-8 is an electric boat that uses a 69-kilowatt-hour battery from a Polestar 2. Hydrofoils lift the craft out of the water to reach a cruising speed of 22 knots (25 miles per hour), and the total range is 57 nautical miles.