Scruffie Marine, based in Queensland, Australia, is close to completing its second solar powered launch with its latest Secret 33 model due to be launched within weeks. It will then be shipped to Perth where it will operate as a tourist launch on the Swan River.
The first prototype of the Secret 33 has been operating in Perth since March.
Derek Ellard at Scruffie Marine said the key to the new boat’s performance is its racing yacht pedigree with the proven hull being perfectly suited for electric propulsion.
“The Secret 33 has good genes then, and as a solar-electric launch it is noise and pollution free, offering ridiculously low operating costs – free fuel for a start,” he said.
The 9.9 metre long vessel is driven by an 8kW Oceanvolt electric drive system powered by lithium batteries connected to solar panels on the boat’s roof. Maximum speed is 8 knots with 12 passengers on boats and it will cruise at 5 knots for up to 15 hours without a recharge.
At lower speeds or when not in use, the solar panels will recharge the battery or, overnight, the boat can be connected to the mains supply.
Developed mainly for commercial use, the solar powered launch also offers private buyers a range of custom fit-outs from a weekender to a party boat. The design includes a variety of seating options, large opening windows, flexible lighting, onboard sound system and toilet, and a separate skipper station.
Ellard said the Secret 33 solar powered launch is ideal for environmentally sensitive locations where it can operate with no pollution and no noise. Potential uses include weddings and functions, ferries and water taxis as well as eco-tours.