Candela P-12 electric hydrofoil passenger ship aims to halve travel times

Candela P-12 Electric Hydrofoil Passenger Ship
The Candela P-12 is a high-speed, eco-friendly electric hydrofoil ship designed to cut travel times and operational costs while minimizing energy use. Images courtesy Candela

In a significant leap forward for maritime technology, the Candela P-12 electric hydrofoil passenger ship recently took its maiden voyage outside Stockholm. Designed to halve travel times and increase operator profits compared to diesel counterparts, this vessel is poised to redefine waterborne transportation.

A new era in water transport

The P-12’s first pre-production vessel, named ‘Zero’, achieved a successful flight, reaching its take-off speed of 16 knots and quickly accelerating to a top speed of 30 knots within 16 seconds. This achievement, guided by founder Gustav Hasselskog, marks a pivotal moment in sustainable water transport.

Electrifying waterways has traditionally posed challenges due to the high energy consumption of conventional fast boats, which limited their range. The P-12, however, addresses this issue effectively. It not only stands as the fastest electric ship to date but also the first capable of undertaking long-range, high-speed journeys. This breakthrough offers significant advantages for operators, including enhanced profitability.

Innovative design and sustainability

The P-12’s innovative design is a key factor in its performance. Equipped with three carbon fiber wings beneath the hull, the vessel reduces energy consumption by an impressive 80% compared to regular fast vessels. Once airborne, its digital Flight Control System adjusts the foils’ angles based on data from various sensors, ensuring a smooth and stable ride without the discomforts often associated with sea travel.

Candela-P-12-Electric-Hydrofoil Passenger Ship Carbon Fiber Wings
Candela mentions that the P-12’s carbon fiber wings reduce energy consumption by 80%, enabling high-speed, long-range travel with exceptional efficiency.

The vessel’s production is underway at Candela’s Stockholm factory to meet increasing global demand. The second P-12 vessel will join Stockholm’s public transport system this year, ferrying passengers between the island suburb of Ekerö and the city center. This electric vessel, capable of carrying 30 passengers with minimal wake production, has received a speed exemption in the city, reducing commuting times from 55 minutes to just 25 minutes. This makes it faster than competing subway and bus lines, and it can double the speed of car commutes during rush hour.

Transforming urban transportation

The P-12 is set to transform transportation trends, particularly in cities like Stockholm where water traffic has declined due to the prevalence of faster and cheaper terrestrial options. Gustav Hasselskog emphasizes this shift, stating, “Today, in many cities, roads are congested while the waterways – mankind’s oldest infrastructure – is unused for fast commuting. The P-12 offers a path to use these waterways as green highways, offering fast intra city connections. The quickest way is often over water.”

Candela P-12 Electric Hydrofoil Passenger Ship Travel Time
The P-12 vessel, accommodating 30 passengers with minimal wake, will join Stockholm’s public transport, cutting commuting times from 55 to 25 minutes.

Advanced ship design

The P-12 represents a significant advancement in ship design, blending innovation and sustainability. Beyond its unique hydrofoil system, Candela’s engineering team has revamped every aspect of the vessel to ensure maximum efficiency, from maintenance to docking.

A notable feature is the smooth boarding experience provided by an extendable, automatic bow ramp, which can adjust to different quay heights ranging from 0.2 to 2 meters. This allows the P-12 to travel various global routes without needing dock modifications. Additionally, each stop takes less than 2 minutes, thanks to the C-POD motors’ ability to maneuver swiftly, even sideways if required. The design also allows for single-person operation, significantly reducing operational costs and enhancing efficiency.

Candela P-12 Electric Hydrofoil Passenger Ship C-POD Motor
The Candela P-12’s C-POD motors provide swift, agile maneuvering and enable single-person operation, significantly reducing maintenance and operational costs.

Economic and environmental benefits

The P-12’s sustainable design extends beyond efficiency to offer significant cost savings for operators. The vessel is equipped with electric C-POD motors that eliminate the need for transmissions, resulting in minimal maintenance requirements. Its fully connected system allows for preventive maintenance, drastically reducing downtime. In fleet operations, the P-12 enables the creation of custom fleets that replace larger ferries, leading to quicker, more frequent departures and lower system costs.

Candela projects that the P-12 will reduce total operational costs per passenger kilometer by at least 50% compared to diesel vessels, similar to the efficiency seen in hybrid electric buses. The P-12 Shuttle setup is priced at €1.7 million (approx. US$1.84 million), comparable to the upfront cost of similarly sized diesel ships.

Candela P-12 Electric Hydrofoil Passenger Ship Speed
The Candela P-12 reaches a top speed of 30 knots in just 16 seconds, offering fast and efficient water transport.

Versatile applications

The P-12 is available in three versions—the P-12 Shuttle, Business, and Voyager—catering to a variety of passenger capacities and requirements.

  • Shuttle Version: Designed for sustainable commuting, this version accommodates 30 passengers with the industry’s lowest operational costs. It includes space for bicycles, strollers, and wheelchairs, promoting inclusivity and convenience.
  • Business Version: This version caters to 12 to 20 passengers with a premium interior.
  • Voyager Version: Adaptable for both private leisure and commercial clients, this version allows for customization of the interior design.

Gustav Hasselskog underscores the P-12’s versatility: “The P-12 is a platform that will cater to a vast range of clients. Whether it’s public transport, VIP services, or private customers, it will revolutionize how we travel over water.”

Candela P-12 Electric Hydrofoil Passenger Ship Rises Up
The Candela P-12 rises above the water using three carbon fiber hydrofoils, significantly reducing drag and energy consumption.

Conclusion

The Candela P-12 electric hydrofoil passenger ship represents a significant advancement in maritime technology, combining innovative design with sustainability and operational efficiency. As it enters production and integrates into public transport systems, the P-12 promises to transform waterborne transportation, offering a faster, more environmentally friendly, and cost-effective alternative to traditional diesel vessels.

Source: Candela