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Meet Vessev and its ultra-efficient electric hydrofoil boat designed for smooth tourist rides

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A new all-electric maritime specialist called Vessev has come out of stealth mode with an exciting new vessel called the VS—9. The electric hydrofoil boat offers a state-of-the-art design that delivers incredible efficiency, providing future tourists with a smooth and quiet ride as Vessev looks to commercialize into larger vessels that can transport 100 passengers at a time.

Vessev, formerly known as Seachange, is a young, eco-friendly boat builder founded a few years ago by two bright minds with backgrounds in innovation, including a tenure at Apple. The company was founded in Auckland, New Zealand, where it currently operates and is conducting sea trials of its flagship vessel—an electric hydrofoil boat called the VS—9.

Designed for commercial operations and tourism, this electric hydrofoil “flies” above the water, offering a new futuristic option in sea travel that will soon be used as a passenger ferry thanks to NetZero Maritime – the green technology team at Fullers360 – New Zealand’s largest ferry operator, who has already signed on to help commercialize the hydrofoil technology.

But that’s not all. Vessev may be young, but it has a clear vision for the future of clean maritime transport, and the VS—9 is merely its starting point for larger electric hydrofoil boats and more scaled deployments. Per Vessev co-founder and CEO Eric Laakmann:

We are in the earliest stage of a global transition to sustainable energy use. Our partnership with NetZero Maritime is one of the most powerful in the world in accelerating the adoption of new technologies. There are 33 million vessels in the world today with sustainable vessels representing the smallest fraction. Through significant enhancements in efficiency, hydrofoiling will play a key role in this once-in-a-generation shift.

Vessev’s entry into cleaning up and potentially revolutionizing the maritime segment begins with the VS—9 electric hydrofoil, which has made its public debut and will soon be certified for commercial operations overseas. Have a look.

Vessev looks to expand to larger electric hydrofoil boats

The maritime developer shared details of its flagship electric hydrofoil boat this week as it came out of stealth mode with some impressive in-house technology, encouraging performance specs, and a detailed plan for its expansion into commercial ferry operations and beyond.

The VS—9 was designed using the same state-of-the-art foiling technology used in the America’s Cup (the oldest international competition still operating in any sport) to maximize efficiency and range by foiling above the water. Vessev shared that its electric hydrofoil boat technology reduces energy consumption by up to 95%.

This technique not only enables the vessel to travel farther on a charge due to less impact from waves and wake but also delivers a smoother ride for passengers. Add the quietness of an all-electric motor, and you get a new breed of boat that feels like the ideal way to travel across water.

The new electric hydrofoil boat offers room for ten passengers and can travel at a service speed of 25 knots (~29 mph). The VS—9 has a range of 50 nautical miles (57 miles/92.6km) and can recharge its batteries at any marina plug. If that area happens to have a DC fast charger, Vessev says the VS—9 can recoup 0.8 nautical miles of range per minute.

The VS—9 is undergoing sea trials out of Auckland, and its initial tests have been encouraging. Laakman explained:

We use techniques similar to America’s Cup vessels which provide very high control authority when compared to other systems. That means we can handle more wind and bigger seas. The system is more difficult to engineer up-front, but results in a very performant vessel that is both more capable and more efficient.

The VS—9 is so efficient that we are able to use very safe and longer-lasting battery technologies when compared to other vessels of this type.

To put it into perspective, the VS—9 is undergoing on-water testing with a petrol-powered chase boat following, doing the same motions and distance. At the end of each day, the cost of the petrol fueling the chase boat is 25 times the cost of the electricity used to charge the VS—9.

Vessev is seeking certification later this year, with commercial operations carried out by Fullers360 in New Zealand thereafter. In addition to the ten-passenger VS—9, Vessev shared that it is already working to scale its technology into larger electric hydrofoil boats, including a new 100-passenger vessel called the VS—18. According to the company, that hydrofoil will have “additional seakeeping capability and unlock even more opportunities.”

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