The concept goal for Freepower®, a boat run solely by solar energy, is to reduce use of fossil fuel and fight poverty on earth.
Photographer: Paul Hultsbo
The autonomous idea
The autonomous idea is about freedom. Freedom to go whenever and wherever without fuel stops that creates unwanted detours. Freedom to harvest the energy around us!
To achieve autonomous operation every part in the powertrain is balanced to work seamlessly together. Every part, from solar panel down to propeller pitch, has carefully been chosen to match the surrounding parts in the system with the philosophy of keep it simple and minimalistic. This guarantees a robust system and high efficiency.
The system control app monitor battery status. It gets information about incoming charging power from solar panels and consumed power to the electric outboard engine. By overlay these parameters the app compute net balance in battery. This is shown in Ecobalance view and help user to drive with minimal energy consumption.
At sea on Bohus coast in Sweden with the family & Freepower ® Solar Boat prototype.
Engine run by solar energy
Say goodbye to range anxiety! With the sun as primary source of power there are unlimited clean resources - all for free!
Photovoltaic panels are clean, silent, reliable and works without moving parts. They produce electric energy, the most noble energy of all, at all times during daylight. Today’s panels have an efficiency of approximately 20% so there is a huge potential in efficiency in the years to come.
The system can be delivered with 1-4 batteries that will give 1-4h range at top speed (6kt) without help from solar charging. At cruising speed (5kt) range will be doubled, still without solar panel charging.
During daytime when solar panels add power, range can be much longer. If user go by Ecobalance batteries last all day long so range is highly up to each user’s individual driving pattern.
Hull design - form follows function
A lot of effort has been put in to streamline hull shape optimized for minimum wet surface at cruising speed. Industrial designer has worked close together with naval architect to come up with a hull that have both high performance and a nice aesthetic expression. We are working together with the design agency Pivot, Norway.
Aluminum is used throughout the design as it is highly recyclable, lightweight and at the same time a durable material.
Dashboard control in an app
Instead of traditional meters, monitoring of all systems are done by an app for tablets and phones. It’s simple to control the boat; the driver only needs to focus on steering wheel, throttle and the app. The app shows all needed information to driver in real-time. This gives the user freedom to do other things - like enjoy the ride?
To help user drive economic the app has an Ecobalance view where user can adjust throttle to follow net zero battery usage.
In future release it will be integrated in sea chart with possibility to compute the trip.
The app has different modes depending on user profile e.g. possibility to pay-to-use suitable for rental business models.
Circle of life
To make real impact for the environment it’s not good enough to just look at the parts when in use of product. We have always in mind and look for the part’s total life cycle. Therefore we have chosen aluminum as hull material. We are working on a battery recycling program with the battery producer and use as few parts as possible to reduce carbon footprint as much as possible.
We believe in protecting the circle of life – we just borrow the earth from next generation so we should leave it in better condition than when we accessed it!