I WONDER IF YOU REMEMBER the Solar Impulse 2, the plane that took the world by storm two years ago. From 2015 to 2016, Swiss pilots and explorers André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard took the leap of faith and flew 40,000km around the world with nary a drop of fuel. It was the longest solar flight to date, a first in aviation history.
But creature comforts had to be sacrificed for the flight to succeed. The pilots flew without warmth, in a coffin-tight cockpit that afforded no space to walk or stretch. The restroom was a hole in the seat.
Fast forward to 2019, and there’s now a more comfortable way to see the world without adding to your carbon footprint. Compared to the pilots’ flight hell, this is the Ritz.
SolarImpact, a Self-Sufficient Luxury Yacht
Meet the SolarImpact Yacht. Stylish, quiet and wrapped in 300 square metres of solar panels, this is one yacht that can circle the world indefinitely – but only if you’re willing to go at a very leisurely pace.
This 24-metre long yacht boasts 1,000 kW of all-electric power, which is able to speed things up to a quick 22 knots. But the only way to make it around the world is via the sun – which means travelling at a leisurely cruise of five knots, or 9.20 km/h. Go any faster and the battery will quickly deplete.
Fear not, the 800 kWh battery on board is what you need to get the job done. It packs in a good 10 hours of travel time, which can be easily extended with the help of the solar panels. On a good day, the panels can generate up to 320 kWh. And if the sun keeps it going, your trip around the world should take six months, provided God doesn’t throw curveballs your way.
In places where the sun don’t shine, there’s a pair of 65 kW range-extending diesel engines to the rescue. When one encounters choppy water, a twin-hull design cuts the sway by up to 90 per cent for optimal stability. Manoeuvring the boat isn’t rocket science; an AI-powered drive system makes steering a one-man job. Easy.
It is, however, more than just an environmental statement. Designed by Swiss architect, Marlena Ratajska, the SolarImpact is clean, stylish and spacious. It offers 220 square metres of living space across three levels. You’ve got a dining area, bar counter, and enough beds for 10 guests and one captain. And unlike the Solar Impulse 2 plane, the bathrooms – which include hot showers – are far more than a hole in a seat. An eco-friendly yacht with super-yacht luxuries? Roll out the treasure map, please.
Visit SolarImpact for more details. Price is upon request