Hybrid Electric Catamaran
4 May 2006
|The hybrid electric Fast Cat 435. Note the twin wind generators. Click to enlarge.|
A Dutch company has developed a hybrid version of one of its lightweight, 43-foot catamarans.
The African Cats hybrid Fast Cat 435 Vector K combines a Valence lithium-ion battery or an absorbed lead-acid glass mat battery with newly designed lightweight brushless electric motors.
The all-electric version weighs less and sails faster than the model with a diesel auxiliary system; even a light 10-knot wind at 90 degrees will yield a boat speed of approximately 7.5 knots, according to the company.
The motors/generators will recharge the batteries while sailing. The electric version is also equipped with dual wind generators and solar panels for additional charging capacity.
The electric supply system is designed to conserve energy. Installed lighting in and outside are all dimmable LED lights, and the navigation and deck light are all high power LED lights. The refrigerator and freezer are both water-cooled and well-insulated.
The only fossil fuel used aboard this new energy-conscious sailing catamaran will be used for cooking.—Gideon Goudsmit, Founder African Cats
The cat has an electric motor range with the lead-acid battery of more than 3 hours @ 50% power. For one hour under motor power, the cat must log six hours of sailing at over 5 knots to generate sufficient energy for recharging the batteries. Using the lithium-ion battery raises the electric motor range to 6 hours.
Top speed is 8 knots under electric power and more than 20 knots under sail. The electric version is priced the same as the diesel.
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