Flying Ferries Can Be The Future Of Quicker Commutes 

Public transportation may seem mundane, but one company has a vision for electric-powered ‘flying’ ferries that are also more time-efficient, cutting standard commute time in half. The Swedish startup company, Candela, is bringing this eco-friendly solution to life based on the community of an archipelago of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges with a long history of traveling by boat.

Sweden also ranks as one of the largest recreational boating sectors in the world per capita with an estimated fleet of 756,000 watercraft. Boating might be a common way of life in Sweden but is damaging the environment. Sweden’s CO2 emissions from shipping in 2020 were over 25% of leisure boating with additional damage to the seabed from waves generated by fast boats and engine noise disturbs local wildlife.

Candela decided to work towards creating an eco-friendlier alternative with their battery-powered hydrofoil ferry that can help cut emissions. Candela has a unique design for the C-8 model which is a 28-foot leisure boat with electric-powered zero-carbon hydrofoils.

The C-8 electric boat concept proved to be successful selling over 100 models during the first launch in August 2021. These unique boats have an advantage over the competition but come at a steep price of $320,000 for one of the C-8 leisure models.

Hasselskog attributes the high prices of the crafts as the boating industry is traditionally operated with a small scale of production with most of the work done by hand. Candela is currently exploring ways of adding elements of automation to the production process with the goal of reducing prices in the future.

Following the success of the C-8 model, Candela is moving on to their next project to create a similar model for an electric-powered ferry for public commuting. The founder and CEO of Candela, Gustav Hasselskog, is a long-time boat enthusiast and founded Candela in 2014 trying to find a solution to the problem of fueling a boat.

According to Hasselskog a conventional powerboat consumes around 15 times more fuel compared to cars, and this was the basis that sparked his idea to create an electric-powered boat. Instead of looking to the future to find a solution to this problem Hasselskog was inspired by century-old technology.

While designing the C-8 model, Hasselskog decided to attach hydrofoils to the underside of the hull for a faster and smoother ride. Hydrofoils are wing-like structures so when the vessel gains speed, the boat is lifted out and flies over the water.

The hydrofoils help to reduce wake and friction to enable the boat to increase speed as well as battery efficiency. The hydrofoils used by Candela are made of composite carbon fiber attached to an ultralight hull that allows the boat to fly above the water.

Candela is currently working on the P-12 passenger ferry with a capacity of 30 passengers and plans to optimize existing ferry routes to cut commuting times compared to current schedules. This new ferry concept will also help reduce damage to wildlife and the shoreline compared to conventional watercraft. The design of the new ferry will also be exempt from the 12-knot speed limit in city waterways and can reach up to speeds of 30 knots.

Providing citizens with a faster commuting alternative is expected to result in more commuters opting to take the hydrofoil ferry. This new tech innovation is revolutionary but comes at a steep price according to Candela with the company raising $34.4 million (€32 million) including $25 million (€24 million) from the venture capital firm EQT Ventures through two rounds of funding.

This innovation is a great step towards going green but also proves that it isn’t a cheap investment but can recoup as operational costs are cut by up to 90% compared to conventional combustible engine boats. Though going green is expensive, Candela is up for the challenge and is already fulfilling orders for more of their eco-friendly crafts.

Candela’s success calls for more production and their next big challenge is scaling up production to fulfill increasing their team from 30 to 100 employees. The company is also scaling up moving to a new facility that is four times larger than the previous operation facility.

Candela is growing in popularity with 200 C-8 models currently reserved for customers and several orders of the P-12 passenger ferry from Norway. Hasselskog’s ultimate goal is to is to cut the cost to compete with the prices of combustion engine boats and make electric-powered boats more mainstream. 




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