Making its debut at the Palma Boat Show last year, the Swedish-built X Shore eElectric 8000 is as distinctive as it is silent. Unusually, it is powered by dual inboard electric motors, enhancing its minimalistic uncluttered design. Each engine, a Torqeedo Deep Blue 80i 1800, delivers 80hp – enough, it is claimed, for speeds of over 25 knots. The batteries are made by BMW (as used in their i3 car) and feature an advanced water-cooling system that provides longer battery life. This is claimed to enhance battery performance, giving the boat a range of 40nm at 10 knots, and 20nm at 25 knots. The design is modular, so there is room for up to four batteries should you want to increase the range. Given the weight of these lithium batteries, it would not be realistic to expect this range to double, and there would be a slight performance loss. However, 40 miles goes by very quickly at planing speed, so having a second battery bank under the deck would be a good idea.
The hull of the X Shore eElectric is designed by Glenn Karlsson, an experienced powerboat racer. His twin-stepped lightweight design unusually has two shaft tunnels – not something you usually find with a stepped hull. X Shore make the often used claim that the steps suck in air, producing air bubbles under the hull, and consequently reducing friction. This is a common misconception used to explain stepped-hull efficiency, on which I will say no more. However, a good stepped hull produces more lift at the stern – and hence less drag. Video footage of the eElectric running at low planing speed shows it to have very good fore and aft trim. This will be helped by the forward ballast of the battery bank and being shaft driven, but this aside, its running attitude is very good.
The Torqeedo Deep Blue was developed for Torqeedo’s outboard engine, and having tested it, I can vouch for its super-silent punchy power delivery. As an electric motor can produce maximum torque from zero to maximum RPM, it has a totally flat torque curve. Consequently this motor has its initial power delivery restricted, otherwise that initial grunt would have damaging effects – especially in the outboard version of the Deep Blue. To get maximum efficiency from these engines, I would have expected them to be used in outboard form, but this would not be compatible with the boat’s open-plan design or its character.
Its modular design extends to the deck, where its discreet deck rails enable a second double bench seat to be fitted either behind the helm seat or forward of the console. Also, a double sun pad can be fitted using the same method – either aft or forward. It is also fitted with a bow thruster – a luxury on a twin-shaft-driven boat, but worth having, and probably the only component that will make any noise.
This 8m boat displaces a hefty 2.2 tonnes, which is the penalty of having two big lithium batteries under your feet. From flat they take nine hours to charge at 380 volts, which one presumes is courtesy of a specific charger. It is a beautifully crafted teak-inlaid boat, with a 300,000 euro price tag – a lot for an open 8m boat. To try to put some perspective on this, I will say that Torqeedo, in justifying the cost of their Deep Blue outboard, told me that much of the cost is down to the batteries, so you have to take the view that you are buying all your fuel upfront. The fact is that silent powerboating has special appeal, and if you have the regular means to recharge this boat, this price tag will not look so large.