he new Soel Senses 48 solar electric catamaran sleeps 8 and is the largest in the fleet from the award winning Netherlands company and solar boat pioneer.
Soel Yachts has built its reputation by developing smaller catamarans like the SoelCat12 and SoelCat14, which have been proving the viability of solar electric boats at tourism and diving destinations such as the Bora Bora Beach Resort in French Polynesia.
The company received the Innovation Award at the 2017 Tourism Awards of French Polynesia and the SoelCat12 was a finalist in the Gustave Trouvé Awards for electric boating. Soel was also selected as one of the 1000 Efficient Solutions endorsed by the Solar Impulse Foundation, started by Bertrand Piccard and his team that was the first to fly a solar powered airplane around the world.
The Soel Senses 48 is the first boat from Soel designed as a weekend cruiser, with multiple leisure areas and overnight suites in each hull. There has been rising demand for boats like this, where small groups can get away from it all. David Czap, Managing Director of Soel Yachts, said “Essentially, we’ve designed the solar electric yacht we would use personally with our families and friends.”
Solar electric catamaran equals peace and quiet
One of the things most attractive to people looking for a little escape is the quiet of the electric motors. Another is the desire to live more sustainably in all aspects of their lives. And of course a third is to soak up a little luxurious living.
The Soel Senses 48 integrates all three in a symbiotic way where form and function go hand in hand. It starts at the top with a solar panelled roof and works its way down throughout a helm / salon / leisure space level to the catamaran hulls and custom electric propulsion and battery system.
The 12 panel solar array can gather 2.7 kiloWatt hours (peak) and operates in conjunction with the batteries to provide enough power for the Sense’s electric motors and guest amenities.
On the main deck a fully enclosed salon features a central bar linking the helm station to the lounge and dining areas. Bi-folding doors aft of the salon can be fully opened to form one spacious indoor/outdoor space encompassing a rear deck with sunning or dining space and staircases on the catamaran hulls that lead down to the water. On the foredeck is a more private sunbed lounge area to sunbathe or take in the view.
For overnight stays, each hull of the catamaran has a cabin with sleeping berths for two and ensuite bathroom. Configurable seating in the salon can be arranged to sleep four additional guests.
Two options for electric motors and batteries
The electric propulsion system for the Soel Senses 48 has been designed by the company’s partner Naval DC, whose first project in 2008 made news when they installed an 80 kW / 400V unit in a 10m carbon fibre runabout to create the world’s first electric speedboat, ‘Czeers Mk1‘ which hit speeds of 30 knots.
Naval DC designs complete motor and lithium-ion battery and battery management solutions ranging from 10 kW to 1 MW, and for the solar electric catamaran has put together two system options, with either twin Naval DC EPS-40 kW or twin EPS-100 kilowatt units. Similarly, there are two li-ion battery packages, one with 2 X 71kWh or the extended range modules of 2x 142kWh.
The Soel Senses 48 offers cruising and maximum speeds of 10 and 18 knots, depending on the system, with a range of up to 56 nautical miles at 10 knots and 30 nautical miles at full speed. The solar panels, of course, are able to top up the batteries according to weather conditions.
Whether it is due to the socializing restrictions of COVID-19 or just a growing desire by people to get some solitude and relaxation with a small group of friends or family, the Soel Senses is definitely a boat for this market. Joep Koster of Soel Yachts says. “Recently we’ve noticed a real hunger in the market for a private leisure model” and fellow Managing Director Linda Brembs adds “The call from high-value individuals who prefer a quieter and more sustainable way to cruise is unquestionably getting louder.”