Renowned Dutch semi-custom yacht builder Contest Yachts has announced the exciting introduction of long-range all-electric propulsion. This is initially for the two new models of 2022, the Contest 50CS and Contest 49CS, with the intention in time that the option will extend into further range models.
Contest Yachts CEO Arjen Conijn says of this move, “Going all-electric is clearly a good thing to do but it cannot be done lightly if it is to be done well. We have looked long and hard at this, and we are excited at our innovating collaboration with our chosen partner Torqeedo, incorporating battery technology from BMW. This system we have arrived at is truly first class. It is robust, enduring and ultimately super-efficient, and especially so with the added power regeneration systems we’re inbuilding from Watt&Sea and Solbian. Our ‘all-electric’ is genuinely all-electric bluewater sailing made real.”
The choice of Torqeedo as partner first brings not only the excellent high-torque Deep Blue 50 kW unit and a global support network but the ability within the single brand to power all Contest yachts across the range from the 13-metre Contest 42CS to the 21-metre 67CS. Additionally, Torqeedo sensibly for this level of yachting looks to respected and proven third-party suppliers for its ancillaries, instead of self-developing which can be a weakness at this scale.
Expanding on this, Contest Senior Technical Engineer Robert Vijselaar says, “So, it’s Navico for instrument displays, BMW for the batteries, and so on. All fully integrated into the Deep Blue infrastructure and serviceable, all around the world, by Torqeedo’s service network. At the system’s heart, we have a huge 40 kWh lithium-ion battery set delivering 360 V for the motor and 230 V for house loads, with the option of doubling this to 80 kWh, while for instruments, thrusters and sailing handling, etc we still have a 24-volt lithium domestic battery system, of course fed now from the high-capacity battery pack.”
Optimising self-sufficiency away from shore-power and ultimately for true bluewater capability, on board power generation includes regenerating propeller, two in-hull Watt&Sea hydro generators, integrated Solbian solar panels, plus a 20 kW DC diesel generator which also serves to drive the boat at cruising speed without drawing on battery storage. Different to that of hybrid systems, here the generator is simply onboard to ‘make’ electricity, not as addition to conventional diesel drive. And here with a 400-litre tank for the generator to continuously ‘make’ electricity, the all-electric system can actually extend cruising range far beyond equivalent conventional drive.
Robert Vijselaar says, “It’s interesting, at the mention of electric drivetrains many immediately question range, yet with conventional drives range is never in the questions, it’s always just about tank size, not how far that will get you. Here we’ve run the numbers across all conditions: wind, sea state, etc and our already class-leading range capabilities are now potentially bettered by going electric. It’s a win-win!”
It is also a win in terms of maintenance, with much reduced mechanical componentry, and the removal of LPG from on board with its associated safety and destination-replacement issues.
The first all-electric Contest 50CS is set to splash this coming 2024.