MIAMI – In 2022, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that Florida passed 1 million registered recreational vehicles on the water, continuing to lead the country in that category.
It reinforced the Sunshine State as the “boating capital of the world,” and now, a new kind of boat wants to join the fun in the sun.
In this week’s “Technically Speaking” report, Local 10′s Gio Insignares introduces us to an international company hoping to change the way you set sail.
Boats are a way of life in South Florida, and Candela, a Sweden-based startup, wants to turn places like Miami into a hub for a new future of water transportation.
The company was founded in 2014 by Gustav Hasselskog, and it is now introducing its newest electric-powered boat to the Sunshine State, as it prepares to open an office in California with future plans to do the same in Miami.
Kristian Sloth Lauszus, the head of flight control systems for Candela, and a team from the company explained the genesis of the company.
“Our goal was to make an electric boat, but in order to make an electric boat that is actually usable, then you need to make it hydrofoiling,” Sloth Lauszus explained.
A hydrofoil is a “wing” or “fin” attached underwater that is made to lift a moving boat, giving it greater speed and fuel efficiency.
Think of it like a plane lifting off the runway and gliding through the air.
It also makes the boat more environmentally friendly.
“The whole idea is that it takes the hull out of the water, dramatically reducing the drag. Then, you only have the wings in the water. That cuts the energy consumption by 80%,” Sloth Lauszus said.
From Miami Beach Marina, we got our chance to ride on the Candela C-8 and take a look at the technology first-hand.
“When you want to take off, you point straight and full throttle. You’ll feel around 12 knots, the boat will start to lift -- then at 16 knots, you’re flying,” Sloth Lauszus said.
The feeling of achieving “lift-off” is best described by Candela as “racing car meets flying carpet.”
While on the water, the boat is controlled by the flight controller, a computer that sits in the center of the boat.
“No noise and no slamming of waves,” Sloth Lauszus said. “Because the whole boat is above the water.”
Using artificial intelligence and sensors, it adjusts the boat based on waves, wind, location and other factors as they happen.
The boat can reach a top speed of 30 knots, while the range is an estimated 57 miles at 22 knots on a single charge, according to Candela.
It’s a smooth ride, but certainly not cheap.
Prices for the C-8 are listed on the company’s website, starting at $395,000.
“We hope this will be a dawn of a new era. We replace all the fossil fuels with electric flying boats,” Sloth Lauszus said.
Candela has already teamed up with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science to deliver them a flying electric research vessel.
The company also plans to launch a shuttle ferry – the P12 – in Stockholm that’s meant as a new form of public transportation.