Thursday, December 8, 2022

ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail

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Over the last few years, many boat manufacturers of different types are beginning to bet on the introduction of electrical mechanics, which leads to a change in the way of understanding these means of transport.

One of the companies that have taken the most advantage of electrification is ZEN Yachts – short for “Zero Emission Nautic Ltd.” The infant electric boat manufacturer has now unveiled ZEN50, the world’s first series-production catamaran equipped with a fully-automated wingsail. This zero-emission sailing yacht is currently under construction in Europe and will set the first sail in early 2023 once the construction is complete.

The revolutionary, fully-automated wingsail can be added as a range and speed extender.
The revolutionary, fully-automated wingsail can be added as a range and speed extender. Credit: ZEN Yachts

Designed by award-winning naval architect Julien Mélot, the ZEN50 offers the speeds of a performance catamaran, the comfort of a large motor yacht, and the simplicity of an electric car. It proposes a new approach to clean sailing: fully sustainable, with zero fossil fuels onboard. This luxury superyacht features carbon fiber and Corecell composite hulls inspired by performance catamarans for minimal drag. A revolutionary, fully automated wingsail by Ayro can be added as a range and speed extender.

The ZEN50 measures 15.7 meters (51.5 feet) in total length and has a beam of 8.4 meters (27.5 feet), offering accommodation for up to 12 guests across six cabins. The ZEN50 features an entire rooftop covered in solar panels, which offer peak power of 16 kW, allowing the ZEN50 to cruise at 4.5-5 knots (5-5.7 mph) using the power of the sun alone. The propulsion is achieved by two 40kW brushless DC motors, powered by a 160 kWh lithium battery pack.

The ZEN50 features an entire rooftop covered in solar panels, which offer a peak power of 16 kW.
The ZEN50 features an entire rooftop covered in solar panels, which offer a peak power of 16 kW. Credit: ZEN Yachts

Traveling on electric propulsion alone might be tough at sea, even with the solar backup. And that’s where the semi-rigid Oceanwings OWS 3.2 wingsail comes in that, combined with the e-motor, helps the ZEN50 to reach a max speed of 14 knots (16 mph). For continuous cruising, the wingsail and solar panels combine to deliver 6-10 knots of speed (7-11.5 mph). The ZEN50 yacht delivers over 180 nautical miles (207 miles) of range over a 24-hour span.

The ZEN50’s interior layout is customizable and features plenty of amenities, including two large day beds, three dining areas for over ten people, one professional galley and two wet kitchens, five heads, up to 4 double ensuite cabins, and plenty of lounges. Additional features include an electric tender, dive compressor, Starlink internet, two helm stations, and it also comes with an electric tender, electric water scooter, e-jet boards, and e-foils.

The first ZEN50 catamaran will be ready for zero-emissions sailing in 2023. The ZEN50 is offered with or without wingsail and comes in 3 main different versions: Racer, Cruiser, and Explorer, with the price starting at $1.6 million.

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