(CNN) — There is no question that Venice is in danger. It is debatable whether it can be saved in the end.
Now a company thinks they can make a difference to the floating, sinking city – with ‘flying’ boats.
Swedish company Candela thinks its electric boats could help combat “moto ondoso” – the damaging phenomenon of waves crashing against buildings and sidewalks from the wake of boats being driven through the city.
Candela’s boats are aimed at that. The Candela C-8 and P-8 Voyager are the first no-wake, high-speed foiling day cruisers. And while the C-8 is a classic boat, the P-8 Voyager is designed to carry passengers – as a taxi or shuttle boat, suggesting it could be applied to a larger level in the city.
The boats rise on hydrofoils to glide over the water.
Designed by aerospace and drone engineers, the boats produce a wake of just 5 centimeters (2 inches) when “flying” at 30 knots – about the same amount as a hand-padded gondola, and are unlikely to break the foundations. of the city with waves crashing.
Meanwhile, the larger 30-seat P-12, announced in June 2022, promises to be the first “flying” ferry — with a range of 60 nautical miles and speeds of up to 60 kph (37 mph), the manufacturers say. beat rush hour on routes with an alternative on wheels.
The 2022 launches will follow the launch of Candela’s first boat, the pilot C-7, which debuted in 2019. Unlike the other boats, it does not have an enclosed cabin, making it more of a summer pleasure boat.
Electric dreams — and nightmares
Electric cars may have been popular for a while, but electric boats have had a harder time. The water resistance on a boat’s hull, combined with the weight of the battery needed to power it, is a double whammy for boats, meaning most have to compromise on speed or distance.
A battery pack with a capacity of 100 kWh in an ordinary ship can only cover 30 nautical miles at 20 knots before it is empty, according to Candela. But getting the hull out of the water solves the drag problem. These boats have an efficiency of 400% and can sail for 150 minutes before needing to be recharged, the company says.
Candela’s “flying” boats were the brainchild of founder Gustav Hasselskog, who noted that his quick ice cream while vacationing in the Swedish lakes was about 10 times the price of his family’s gasoline ice cream.
He calculated that conventional boats use about 15 times more energy than a car, traveling at a constant speed of 20 knots – making it difficult to power them from the battery. Instead, he thought of taking the boats out of the water, on hydrofoils, to make them “fly” and hired aerospace and drone engineers to make them a reality.
The silent boats make riders one with nature.
“Flying in absolute silence, without hitting and basically for free – it’s just an amazing experience. Once you try Candela, it will be hard to go back to traditional motorboats,” Hasselskog said in a statement about the C-8.
“Venice, which relies on powerboats but also suffers from their impact, is the perfect place to show how Candela’s vessels can contribute to a better world while offering new levels of performance.”
The boat starts to sail like any other, but — just like an airplane — as it builds up speed, it starts to rise. The foils can also retract, meaning the boats are not at risk of sea growth, which could otherwise cause them to grow up.
“Boats with that type of hull do not produce the moto ondoso when using their foils, but the foils are only activated above a certain speed, which seems high at the moment for the lagoon context,” he told CNN.
“It is certainly not a concept suitable for a vaporetto” [waterbus] in the Grand Canal or a freighter.”
However, he thought the boats could have potential outside the city center, such as heading to the airport, further north in the lagoon, or connecting Venice to islands such as Burano and Pellestrina.
A Candela water bus could work for longer trips around the lagoon.
However, he warned that maneuvering the boats at high speed around slower traffic could be difficult, and said a reconsideration of urban transport is in order before any decisions are made.
“It would be interesting to do some experiments [with Candela]but before this capability is widely introduced, all lagoon water mobility needs to be reconsidered,” he said.
“It is critical firstly to accelerate the transition to electric propulsion of all boats in the lagoon as quickly as possible, secondly to enforce speed limit compliance through existing technologies that can recognize the type of boat, and thirdly , possibly, to adapt the speed limit to the type of boat.”
Meanwhile, while Venice waits, Stockholm has struck. The regional government has ordered a trial of the P-12 ferries, using the boats on a commuter route from the city center to the suburb of Ekerö, with a view to eventually running a fleet of flying ferries. The boats will operate at an increased frequency to compensate for their smaller size. The boats will go into production in the fall of 2022 and the trial will start in the first half of 2023.