Candela Looks to Transform Water-Based Transportation through Electrification
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While ownership of Electric Vehicles (EVs) may be on the rise in North America, many are still unconvinced that they are well suited for colder climates due to potential range reduction. Although this may have once been an issue, it is quickly being made a moot point as battery technology races forward. Not convinced? Just look to Scandinavia, where, despite what many could consider frigid climates, EVs have seen some of the highest levels of uptake in the world. This successful adoption of EVs is partly due to forward thinking Scandinavian companies like Candela and Polestar.
EVs are just that – electric vehicles. There is nothing stopping them from taking shape as trains, plains, automobiles, or anything in between. With this in mind, Candela is particularly interesting, as it has decided to create its line of EVs to traverse not the ground, but the water. In fact, the company has just recently announced the successful closure of a $20M funding round earmarked for the production of its ‘P-12', which will be a fully electric hydrofoil ferry. Below, we take a quick look at not only the upcoming P-12, but some of the benefits to electrifying water-based travel, and how it stands to upend current approaches to transportation.
Manufacturers and Innovators
Before taking a closer look at Candela and its P-12 offering, the following are a couple publicly-traded companies closely involved with the electrification of transportation.
Prior to going its own way in 2021, Polestar functioned as the performance division for Volvo. While the two companies retain close ties, Polestar now operates as an independent company, specializing in the production of high-end EVs. In its first two years of operation, Polestar saw its revenue double to $2.46B in 2022.
Polestar is based out of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Although Tesla may rely on third parties to actually manufacture its battery packs, the demands and needs of the company have single-handedly been responsible for much of the innovation within the EV sector over the past 20 years.
While 2022 saw a sharp decline in TSLA stock, the tides have turned, with 2023 marking an impressive turnaround of +57.18% YTD at time of writing. Despite a rough 2022, the company was still able to boast a revenue of $81.46B over this time.
Tesla is based out of Texas, United States.
At the Tipping Point
Despite EVs having been around for what feels like ages at this point, we are only now approaching the tipping point at which their practicality can rival more traditional internal combustion engines (ICE). This growing parity can be seen across various metrics, including price, range, reliability, and more.
For those that are unsure where EVs will go from here, the fact that they are already reaching parity with ICE variants across most metrics bodes well for the future.
When considering Wright's Law – which states production costs will drop 10-15% for every doubling in production – along with the inevitable increase in adoption, parity will be a thing of the past. EVs will be better than ICE vehicles in almost every meaningful way sooner than many realize.
The Candela Lineup
Looking beyond road-faring EVs, future transportation can be further enhance by making the most out of the worlds waterways. Candela has recognized this, and created a lineup of high-tech boats primed to make their ICE counterparts obsolete. These include the,
The purpose of this lineup was to create an offering of EVs that are more efficient, more environmentally friendly, faster, and more comfortable than existing alternatives. All points on which its boats succeed.
An Eye on the Environment
Much of the reason for creating an efficient lineup of water-based EVs, is due to environmental impact. Candela indicates that, “a traditional 7.5Mpetrol boat consumes about 15x more fuel than a family car,”. This statistic alone makes upending the boating industry a no-brainer.
To achieve maximum efficiency takes more than just swapping out the ICE for an electric drivetrain though. Candela notes that it utilizes carbon fiber throughout its boats to provide structural integrity while offsetting the weight of necessary batteries.
Equally important is the decision to utilize a hydrofoil design. This means that rather than pushing itself through the water, the boats rely on computer stabilized ‘wings' beneath the surface to lift the boat up above it. This results in significantly less drag, no wake, better fuel efficiency, higher speeds, and more comfortable rides.
Partnering with Polestar
A big part of how Candela was able to achieve what is has is through its partnership with Polestar, which is on full display in two major facets of Candela's operations.
If you've ever been around recreational and commercial boats, you will most likely have noticed that it is not uncommon for them to leak fuel and oil into the water – something obviously terrible for the environment. This is just one of the many reasons that Candela has turned to Polestar for the drivetrain in its boats.
The power-packs used within these boats were originally designed for luxury EVs like the Polestar 2. However, due to their modular design, there are able to be used in conjunction with the Candela's specialized motors seen above, known as the ‘C-POD'.
Mitigating Trepidation through Blockchain
As a company specializing in EVs, it is not surprise to learn that Polestar is open to leveraging new technologies to minimize its environmental impact. One example of this is its decision to utilize blockchain to accurately track CO2 emissions and risk minerals of both its supply chain and production lines.
Another hesitation towards EVs which remains among many is their environmental impact. Yes, EVs as a finished product may not be polluters, but the batteries they use still necessitate lithium mining operations, eventual disposal, and the conversion of traditional energy sources in to electricity for use as fuel. By leveraging blockchain, Polestar, and by extension Candela, are able to provide full transparency in to the actual environmental footprint of their products.
If Candela is going to change the way we view water transportation, it will need to offer more than just recreational vehicles. To that end, the $20M recently raised by the company will be used primarily in the development and launch of its P-12 Shuttle, as previously indicated.
The P-12 shuttle is designed to essentially operate as a means of public transportation. Like all of its boats, the P-12 will be a utilize hydro-foiling, along with the company's C-POD motors.
All of this allows for the P-12 to,
- be more efficient than hybrid electric buses
- replicate the comfort of modern express trains
- travel more direct routes at high-speed between port communities
When compared to a traditional diesel ferry, Candela notes that energy consumption at service speeds drops from 36kWh to 5kWh – a staggering difference that means massive cost savings while simultaneously eliminated emissions.
With such an offering, it is only a matter of time before water-bound taxi services become more popular. Around the world, there are scores or ports and islands which currently rely on short-duration flights, or highly inefficient ICE boats. Furthermore, electrified water taxis can minimize the need for extensive roadways in tiny island nations, all the while having minimal impact on our seas and oceans.
With continual advancements in battery technology, the shift towards EVs will only continue to accelerate. As a result, companies like Tesla and Polestar are now able to change the way we approach ground-based travel, while hydrofoil EVs on offer by companies like Candela are doing the same for water.
Whether they be air, ground, or water bound, electric vehicles are the way of the future.