Danish yacht builder X-Yachts recently launched its first-ever electric-propelled yacht. Called the X4.9E, the new vessel is more than just a basic electric powertrain affixed to a yacht, combining three sources of power to ensure that the vessel runs greener than dedicated gas or diesel yachts but with more long-range capability than a pure electric. Propulsion comes from battery, sail or diesel power, and the latter two sources can recharge the batteries to ensure that zero-emissions cruising is available in the near future.
X-Yachts explains that it didn’t want to be at the very front of the curve in terms of developing an electric vessel, preferring to hold back and let the technology mature. When approached by client John Haurum, who was in search of a greener breed of sailing yacht, X-Yachts decided the time was right for such a project and partnered up with Finland’s Oceanvolt to create the X4.9E.
Oceanvolt supplies two 10-kW 48V electric Servo Prop SD10 sail drives that draw power from a 28.8-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery bank. That combo can move the 12-ton 49-footer (14.9-m) for a maximum of 49 nautical miles (91 km) at a 4-knot (7.4-km/h) cruising speed before the battery drops to critical 90 percent depletion and needs a recharge.
But the X4.9E captain doesn’t need to do a 180 after hitting the 24.5-nautical-mile mark because the X4.9E also has an 11-kW Fischer Panda DC diesel generator on board designed to deliver range-extending power and battery charging. The generator can power the drive motors directly, send its electricity to the battery for charging, or perform both simultaneously. It can recharge the batteries from 20 to 80 percent in roughly 95 minutes.
For a greener, less emissions-coughing breed of recharging, the X4.9E can also use regenerative charging while under sail. As the vessel sails forward, the sail drive propellers rotate in the water and become hydroelectric generators. X-Yachts estimates that the yacht can produce up to 3.5 kW when sailing, recharging the battery in as little as eight to 10 hours.
The X4.9E owner can also plug into shore power for recharging, which will take just under 10 hours, according to X-Yachts.
The hybrid-electric X-Yacht is a converted X4.9 diesel-engined sailing yacht, and the engine compartment that would usually hold the 48.5-kW diesel motor gets converted into a technical room with the battery bank, charger/inverter, battery management system, controllers and other critical electrical components. The sail drives are mounted on either side of this technical compartment, below the aft cabin bunks.
X-Yachts began extensive sea trial testing of the X4.9E in June. No word on pricing, but the €639,000 (approx. US$650,350) price tag listed on X-Yachts’ brokerage page for the newest diesel-powered X4.9 yacht suggests the hybridized X4.9E will cost a pretty penny, indeed. The non-hybrid X4.9 listed at that price is a 2022 MKII demo model.
Catch a glimpse of the X4.9E on the water in the one-minute clip below.
X4 9E – Test sailing