Renowned carmaker BMW and German boat builder TYDE have unveiled THE ICON, a flagbearer for sustainable high-end mobility on water, at the 76th Cannes film festival. THE ICON is the first battery-powered watercraft of its kind and brings together emission-free travel with a top-to-bottom vision of luxury.
The innovative project is the result of an in-depth sharing of knowledge between experts at BMW, TYDE, and Designworks, a BMW Group subsidiary with studios in Los Angeles, Munich, and Shanghai. The construction of the concept was entrusted to boat maker TYDE while the powerful electric drive system draws from high-voltage batteries supplied by BMW i. The luxury seafaring experience is accompanied by an exclusive soundtrack composed by award-winning film composer and frequent BMW collaborator Hans Zimmer.
At 13.15 meters in length and with a top speed of 30 knots (55 km/h), THE ICON is a trailblazer for a new breed of battery-electric watercraft. The new watercraft uses a battery-electric drive system to set new standards in its sector.
Until now, marine electric mobility has been restricted to smaller, slower craft with comparatively little range, and the segment for faster boats with larger ranges is dominated by models with combustion engines. THE ICON redefines this relationship between the dimensions, top speed, and range of an electrically powered watercraft.
This is made possible by an innovation from yacht racing – hydrofoils. This advanced hull form reduces the energy requirement by up to 80% compared with a conventional design. The foiling technology also provides a higher level of traveling comfort and higher speeds.
A pair of 100 kW electric motors convert 240 kWh of energy supplied by six batteries from BMW i for a range of more than 50 nautical miles (92.6 km) and a cruising speed of 24 knots (44 km/h). In combination with its innovative drive system and foiling technology, the electric vessel navigates the seas silently, smoothly, and cleanly.
The vessel features a flat hull with a lightweight, origami-like superstructure, enabling a particularly smooth traveling experience. With its prism-like transparent architecture, the basic outline enables a width of 14.7 feet in the rear section, allowing for a spacious lounge entrance. In addition, passengers can enjoy the view directly into the water through large glass surfaces, accentuated by iconic LED light strips at the bow, stern, and charging connection points throughout the vessel.
THE ICON’s angled glass doors open to a lounge area with artistically designed furniture on a luxurious carpet that creates a kaleidoscope effect. The yacht also sports 360-degree rotating seats, an easy-to-reach tablet-based infotainment system, and a 32-inch touchscreen display with 6k resolution, with a look and feel that resembles the BMW iDrive control/operation system.
In addition, passengers looking for a different audio experience can turn to the onboard Dolby Atmos system, which delivers superb sound quality throughout the vessel. Voice commands can be used to access key functions such as range information and weather reports.
THE ICON impresses with a powerful drive system that creates neither noise nor emissions. Foiling technology allows it to reach high speeds without generating waves or dragging out a wake behind it. Indeed, the only things THE ICON leaves behind during every journey are pleasure and joy.