Were you expecting to see an electric BMW hydrofoil boat today? Neither were we, but here it is. Named “The Icon,” this boat is a collaboration between BMW and boat maker TYDE, and it was just revealed at the Cannes Film Festival.
Electric boats may not have caught on in the way electric cars have, but this concept boat was built in an effort to change minds. Calling it a concept may not be giving it enough credit, too, as BMW is calling it a “production-ready vehicle” for both private and commercial use.
As for what’s making it go, BMW says it supplied six battery packs for energy, totaling 240 kWh. This energy is put to use via two 134-horsepower electric motors that BMW says will allow the boat to hit a maximum speed of 30 knots — that’s about 34.5 mph. Range is impressive, as BMW says The Icon can travel approximately 62 miles on a full charge.
Contributing to this range figure is the fact that the boat is a hydrofoil design, which BMW says reduces the energy required to clip through the water by up to 80% versus a conventional boat design. You’ll notice in the photos that the boat is riding on wing-like structures below the water level, which lifts the hull above the surface. A byproduct of this is a more comfortable ride, but since The Icon is electric, it also produces minimal noise and doesn’t suffer from powertrain-related vibrations.
The only noise you’ll hear is a soundtrack composed by none other than Hans Zimmer, the famous composer who has created the soundtracks of many new BMW electric cars. An onboard Dolby Atmos sound system ensures that the sound experience on the boat is fitting with BMW’s luxury cred.
Another BMW touch with this vessel is at its command center. The 32-inch touchscreen runs BMW iDrive 8, and the controls are meant to mimic those you might find in a BMW car. You can even give it voice commands as you can in iDrive 8. LED lights at the bow, stern and charging ports remind us of the ambient lighting inside BMWs, but the seats are all their own, as they rotate 360 degrees and form a living room of sorts inside the vessel. The boat is 43.14 feet in total length and measures 14.7 feet wide at its widest rear section, so there’s plenty of space for a small party onboard.
BMW doesn’t say it will collaborate on building electric boats down the road, but it sure is neat to see the roundel and BMW technology hit the water in electric form.