At the heart of the yacht sits two electric motors linked to two brass propellers that push the vessel forward. These are fed by lithium-ion batteries, in a similar vein to the battery that feeds the electric motor in the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. But instead of being charged up by plugging into an electric charger or being topped up by a petrol engine, the boat harvests energy from two wind turbines, a spread of solar panels and a hydrogen fuel cell. In a similar way to the Audi h-tron quattro concept, this fuel cell draws on reservoirs of hydrogen and creates electricity while only emitting water vapour. But unlike the Audi, which fills up its tank at a pump, the boat will be able to produce its own hydrogen from seawater using excess electricity from the batteries.
‘With Energy Observer we hope to inspire a future generation of adventurers and show people that there are still many new ways of enjoying our planet, without destroying it,’ says Victorien. ‘We aren’t trying to break any speed records or anything like that. Our aim is to take time to explore the world, testing out new technologies and meeting new people.’
Written by John Silcox. Photographs by Greg White.
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