The Porsche Electric Boat is Sustainable Luxury on the Water
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AIR/WATER

The Porsche Electric Boat is Sustainable Luxury on the Water

Porsche Electric Boat leaving charging dock
  • Porsche has birthed the Frauscher X Porsche 850 Fantom Air all-electric boat, in a collaboration with the Frauscher shipyard.
  • At speeds nearing 100 km/h, the Porsche boat demonstrates impeccable stability.
  • Porsche incorporated the ultra-powerful electric drive of the upcoming all-electric Macan in the innovative new boat.

Porsche, a renowned name in the automotive industry, has partnered with Frauscher to introduce the Frauscher X Porsche 850 Fantom Air, an electric boat that commands attention and represents a groundbreaking shift in sustainable marine mobility. This innovative electric sports boat combines Porsche’s commitment to innovation with Frauscher’s expertise in boat manufacturing, delivering an emission-free propulsion system that redefines boating. With impressive stability and performance, it offers a serene and clear-sighted boating experience, setting it apart from conventional boats. The eFantom Porsche boat is designed for luxury, accommodating up to nine passengers, making it an attractive choice for those seeking exclusivity. A limited first edition is on the horizon, promising a distinctive and premium boating experience for potential buyers.


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Porsche Electric Boat Collaboration with Frauscher

At Italy’s Lake Garda, as Jörg Kerner, Head of the Macan Series at Porsche, gently pushes forward the throttle, the unmatched torque of the electric motor springs into action, setting the boat into a serene cruising speed of 20.5 knots (38 km/h). Unbelievably, despite approaching speeds nearing 100 km/h, the Porsche boat demonstrates impeccable stability, not rising abruptly or roaring audibly.

Instead, the Frauscher x Porsche 850 Fantom Air glides almost horizontally over the lake, providing an astonishingly relaxed and clear-sighted boating experience. This innovative electric sports boat is not merely a testament to Porsche’s commitment to sustainable mobility but also a signal of the transformation awaiting the future of water transportation.


Porsche’s Vision for Sustainable Marine Mobility

“We achieve this unique driving quality by centrally positioning the drive and batteries low in the hull,” explains Kerner. Without all the noise typically associated with boating, there’s no need for him to raise his voice. There’s only a pleasant hum, accompanied by the faint rushing of water. “What surprised me the most was the high-quality, natural background sound,” says Kerner, demonstrating astounding turning maneuvers that conventional boats would be unable to perform.

The high-precision thrust and the stable positioning of the electric boat are perfect for water skiing and wakeboarding. “We even reduced the torque for the turns to maintain comfortable control,” continued Kerner. “This sport wasn’t possible with the small electric boats previously available. But now it is, and there’s no smell of exhaust.”


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Pioneering Sustainability: Frauscher’s History in Electric Boats

The innovative Porsche boat measures just over two and a half meters in width and roughly eight and a half meters, measured from bow to stern. “Length is a good thing,” says Kerner. “That not only applies to boats but also to cars equipped with a wider wheelbase for more stability and space.”

The eFantom Porsche boat has been designed for luxury and convenience, capable of comfortably accommodating up to nine passengers. For those seeking exclusivity, there’s good news – a limited first edition is in the works. This edition, limited to just 25 boats, promises to offer a distinctive and premium boating experience. Potential buyers can place their pre orders through Frauscher and can expect the delivery of these unique and innovative boats by 2024.


A Collaborative Journey with Frauscher Shipyard

The genesis of this marvelous idea can be traced back to spring 2021, during a crucial meeting with Oliver Blume, the Chairman of the Porsche Executive Board. Porsche has always been a company that prides itself on innovation, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in transportation. This time, however, the goal was even more ambitious – becoming a pioneer in sustainable marine mobility.

This was not limited to race cars or street vehicles but extended beyond the tranquil waters of boating. The company aspires to translate its commitment towards sustainability from the highways to the waterways, promising an era of greener, cleaner, and quieter boating with the launch of eFantom.

The Porsche Executive Board sparked the inception of a brand-new venture and designated Philip Ruckert as the project manager for “eBoot” (electric boat). Collaborating closely with Porsche Engineering, the foundational blueprint was established. Within a year, the decision was made to embed the project within the Macan Series, preparing it for series production.


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From the earliest stages of this endeavor, Ruckert established a connection with the esteemed Frauscher shipyard located in Ohlsdorf, Austria. This connection marked the first collaborative strides towards redefining the contemporary boating experience, setting sails toward a sustainable future.

“We share a long history with Porsche,” said Michael Frauscher, who, as CEO, is responsible for production. “First, my grandfather built boats for the Porsche and Piëch families. Second, we were introduced to Porsche Consulting over ten years ago. It was, amongst other things, their advice that allowed us to develop from that workshop to the successful manufacturer we are today. They taught us not only to ensure high-quality production but also to streamline the process.”


Porsche and Frauscher: A Shared Commitment to Performance, Design, and Innovation

“And third, we share the same standards in terms of performance, design, and innovation with Porsche,” says Frauscher. “Our boats need to be uncompromisingly fast and beautiful.”

Frauscher, a venerable name in the boating industry, is no stranger to the concept of electric boats. In fact, the company has been building small electric boats for rental companies since as early as 1955. This initiative for the Porsche boat was born out of the foresight and environmental consciousness of Michael’s father, who was deeply perturbed by the pollution caused by outboard motors in the seawater.

His vision was to create a sustainable alternative that would not compromise the purity of the aquatic environment, echoing the sentiments that Porsche is now championing. This shared ethos of sustainability is likely what made the partnership between these two entities a perfect fit.

“Eventually, we were the first company to offer hybrid drives and hydrogen. But the eFantom is a true revolution. I’ve been driving boats my whole life – and this is by far the best one I’ve ever driven. No boat with an internal combustion engine could keep up,” continued Frauscher.


The Fusion of Electric Power and Precision Engineering

“The idea was followed by a feasibility analysis,” recalls Philip Ruckert. “During the 2021 concept phase, we decided to use the hull of the Frauscher 858 Fantom Air day cruiser as a basis and incorporate the ultra-powerful electric drive of the upcoming all-electric Macan. For a perfect balance between electric motor and sterndrive, we restricted its power to a maximum of approximately 400 kW.”

The 2024 Porsche Macan aims to bring innovation to the electric vehicle market by integrating the latest PPE (Premium Platform Electric) drive technology. Developed collaboratively by Porsche and Audi, PPE acts as a shared foundation for developing all-electric vehicles. At its core, it features a high-capacity lithium-ion battery with around 100 kWh of total capacity. Moreover, it incorporates a permanent-magnet synchronous motor and advanced power electronics, enhancing its capabilities and moving us towards a future where eco-friendly solutions and advanced technology harmoniously coexist in electric propulsion systems.


The Testing Phase: Proving Performance on the Water

Frauscher meticulously adapted the hull of fiberglass-reinforced plastic to accommodate the drive unit, aiming for an optimal, lower center of gravity. This strategic placement ensures a smooth, seamless navigation experience while upholding the structural integrity of the boat. Simultaneously, pertinent adjustments were also being made at the Macan development project center in Hemmingen near Stuttgart.

This meticulous attention to detail and relentless pursuit of perfection serve as cornerstones for both Porsche and Frauscher, underscoring the shared vision that brings these two powerhouses together in their quest for sustainable revolution in their respective industries.

All of the high-voltage components used in this revolutionary venture operate at the typical Porsche voltage of 800 – including the battery, which was incorporated without any modification. The charging system, complete with a fast-charging socket, is also a part of the original setup. Active parts of the electric motor were seamlessly integrated into the framework, although accommodations had to be made for the housing.


Fast Charging for a Sustainable Future

Unlike conventional vehicles, the boat doesn’t feature pedals but operates with a throttle. The power transfer takes a unique route, too – instead of directing the power to wheels, the electricity from the motor is channeled to the propeller via the sterndrive shaft. This intricate engineering ensures the boat’s excellent performance while maintaining high energy efficiency, taking us a step closer to a sustainable future.

Kerner said the central electronic control unit was the piece that required the most development. “Because you can’t measure wheel speed on the water or don’t have a parking brake, there were plenty of issues to be resolved. For example, the Macan only charges when the parking brake is activated. We first had to generate these and other missing signals,” Kerner said.


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The test phase then commenced with the prototype electric motor boat. In September 2022, the development team embarked on the prototype’s maiden voyage on the Traunsee, a lake situated not too far from the shipyard. This initial run was a vital step in assessing the boat’s electric boat motor in performance, handling, and energy efficiency under real-world conditions.

Barely a year later, the prototype was put to the test on the much larger Lake Garda. This afforded the team the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the boat’s capabilities in more expansive and potentially challenging conditions, thereby pushing the boundaries of what this innovative electric boat could achieve, for both private owners and boat rental services.


Robust Infrastructure: Making Electric Boating Accessible

“The fast-charging function, including the charging station, played an essential role during the trials and test drives,” adds Kerner. “ADS-TEC was a great source of help with its ChargePost.”

The charging station, provided by the Nürtingen-based company in Baden-Württemberg, is reminiscent of an old-style phone booth due to its dimensions. However, the design is decidedly modern, with large, individually operated displays gracing the exterior. This novel aesthetic balance between old and new gives the station a unique character, making it both a functional technological marvel and an eye-catching architectural installation.


Porsche Electric Boat Charging Station

At the heart of the fast-charging station lies a robust rechargeable battery. This powerhouse is capable of being fed with a 22 kW connection, an option that remains readily available even at smaller ports.

“The switch to electric boats doesn’t stand a chance without a simple infrastructure,” explains Kerner. “They are really only used where internal combustion engines are banned. But a success story requires fascinating products and highly sophisticated processes. With around one million euros for six fast-charging stations like this one, which are easy to install, all of Lake Garda could be made accessible to electric boats. That is a reasonable investment, and it wouldn’t be much different for other lakes and coastal regions around the world.”

For flexible structuring of daytime boat trips, brief stops and fast charging with direct current are integral factors. The charging station is equipped for both of these scenarios, allowing for swift, efficient power-ups that take advantage of the station’s robust battery and forward-thinking design. AC charging is also accommodated, providing an additional layer of versatility to the already multifaceted station. As with any electric vehicle, the range is contingent on the speeds maintained.


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Optimizing Range and Speed: The Porsche Electric Boat Advantage

For instance, a sporty cruising speed of 40 km/h can be sustained for 60 minutes. However, if the boat is driven at top speed, the available range will be proportionately diminished. The station’s ability to meet varied charging needs reflects not only its innovative design but also its pivotal role in promoting sustainable marine travel.

“Even at the end of development, other manufacturers never achieve the sheer scale of engineering that Porsche started out with,” says Michael Frauscher with conviction. “And more importantly, our Frauscher × Porsche 850 Fantom Air is not an exhibition piece, but a series model approved to the highest standard for which orders can already be placed.”


An Excellent Choice For A Boat Rental Service

Rental boats come in all kinds, shapes and sizes, and to rent a boat, more and more customers are looking for services offering electric boat rental. Motorized small boats are increasingly moving to electric. For example, an electric pontoon boat is one option. An electric motor for a boat is the most sustainable and eco-friendly choice to rent a boat. An electric outboard boat motor is a popular option. Boat rental companies are encouraged to consider the Frauscher X Porsche 850 Fantom Air all-electric boat, to offer customers a premium experience.



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SOURCE | IMAGES: PORSCHE

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