Volvo Penta & Groupe Beneteau have introduced a novel leisure boat concept

Volvo Penta and Groupe Beneteau have introduced a novel leisure boat concept and are inviting customer feedback. Having already demonstrated the viability of their hybrid electric pilot project in commercial marine settings, Volvo Penta is now extending the initiative to the leisure sector, with a Groupe Beneteau prototype boat featuring a fully-integrated Volvo Penta hybrid electric system.

Volvo Penta & Beneteau

Volvo Penta is requesting participation from end users, media, enthusiasts, and industry stakeholders to work together in the development of the concept. Their involvement is vital in providing feedback on their preferred experience, boat and system design, and innovative features, all with a focus on sustainability as the primary objective.

The technology behind the helm-to-prop system of the prototype boat is built upon the triumphant hybrid electric vessel pilot project for Hurtigruten Svalbard. This vessel was introduced in 2022 and has since been offering nearly noiseless tour experiences.

Volvo Penta's state-of-the-art Krossholmen test facility in Sweden will serve as the home port for the new demonstration vessel. Over the following months, dealers, customers, and media will be welcome to participate in hands-on experiences and take a behind-the-scenes look at the Gothenburg facility. This marks the first instance that Volvo Penta is inviting end-users to its test facility to witness the solutions of the future at the concept stage.

The hybrid electric prototype boat is not intended for commercial sale, but rather as a test platform for experimentation and education alongside early adopters. The most significant advantage of hybrid electric boating is the quiet operation, which is highly appealing, and the sustainable experience is poised to transform the boating industry. However, this initiative aims to explore additional features that customers desire, such as their expectations regarding automation, connectivity, and how they intend to spend their time on the water. The feedback gathered from this process will contribute to the product development of sustainable vessels, operating as an additional workstream in the process, ahead of a much broader launch. Volvo Penta and Groupe Beneteau will leverage the insights gained from this exercise to bolster their product development efforts.

The forthcoming demonstration will employ a Jeanneau NC 37 model equipped with the latest technological updates, including Volvo Penta's full joystick docking system and Dynamic Positioning System, both of which have been modified to operate in electric mode. This vessel will be fitted with a Volvo Penta twin D4-320 DPI Aquamatic hybrid-electric concept, enhancing its maneuverability and control, with a hydraulic clutch for noiseless shifting at low engine speeds. The prototype boat will provide dealers and end customers with an opportunity to test the technology during spring 2023.

According to Johan Inden, the President of the Marine Business at Volvo Penta, the company's "learning by doing" philosophy emphasizes the importance of presenting the concept to customers at an early stage to help transform Boating for Everyone. The feedback received during this process will be integrated into the company's ongoing development process. By conducting customer trials simultaneously with product development, Volvo Penta aims to expedite the transformation of the boating industry and ensure that its products are market-ready. Groupe Beneteau is an ideal partner for this project due to the company's forward-thinking vision and global recognition.

Erik Stromberg, the Vice President of Power and Motor Yacht Products at Groupe Beneteau, expressed enthusiasm about the potential new experiences this vessel could enable.

Erik Stromberg, the Vice President of Power and Motor Yacht Products at Groupe Beneteau, stated that the company's focus is always on improving the user experience, and the demo provides an opportunity to create a new customer experience directly with customers and dealers. Hybrid propulsion is viewed as one of the keys to unlocking new ways of enjoying the water, and it has the potential to change the way we live and enjoy boating. The new technology promises a quieter experience that is more respectful of the marine world. The company plans to introduce and commercialize hybrid models rapidly across various market segments, leveraging its advantages in industrial scale, quality commitment, and customer-centric approach to bring it to the global market.

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