VW has launched a new project to bring to market a new solar-electric yacht in partnership with Silent Yachts using its MEB platform for electric vehicles and a design from its CUPRA team.

Silent Yachts

We previously reported on Silent Yachts, which is sometimes described as the “Tesla of the seas.”

They produce boats that are powered by solar power and batteries.

Depending on the size, they can produce between 10 and 26 kW of solar power and be equipped with 150 to 532 kWh of battery capacity.

The latter is the equivalent in energy capacity of more than five Tesla Model S sedans.

Silent Yachts can be solely powered by clean energy with the solar panels and batteries feeding electric motors or use a generator depending on your type of use.

Silent Yachts has now delivered 11 electric yachts that are currently on the water, but they are seeing strong demand, and we reported on them ramping up production last year.

VW getting involved with solar-electric yachts

Now Volkswagen is getting involved through a new partnership with Silent Yachts that started as part of an entrepreneur program at the German automaker.

Michael Jost, head of group strategy product as well as CSO of the Volkswagen brand, explains:

Within the Volkswagen Group, we have set up an innovation fund to promote innovative business ideas. About 18 months ago, I was presented with a project to use the MEB in a yacht. At first, I thought the idea was absurd. But then we got to know the potential partner, Silent-Yachts. We were impressed by how committed the company is to the topic of CO₂ neutrality as a supplier of solar-electric powered yachts and has long been considered a sustainability pioneer in the industry. I then discussed with Michael Köhler what we could deliver in a cooperation – namely emotional design and proven technology and can thus bring the Modular E-Drive System MEB from land to water for the first time.

The goal is for VW’s CUPRA to design a new version of Silent Yatchs’ solar-electric vessel powered by the VW’s MEB electric powertrain used in vehicles like the ID.3 and ID.4.

Jost added:

Our Spanish CUPRA colleagues supply the design and we supply the MEB-based powertrain – i.e., batteries, pulse-controlled inverters and the engines from the Volkswagen portfolio. Our software partners also adapt applications – a pulse-controlled inverter is programmed differently for a car than for a yacht. Silent-Yachts can also further adapt the interfaces of our software for their needs. Our current plan is to install up to six batteries per yacht and to enable 500 kW power for yacht sizes around 50 feet plus.

They plan to have the first MEB-powered and CUPRA-designed Silent-Yachts in the water as soon as next year and ramp up production to about 50 vessels per year.