(CNN) — That Venice is in danger is undeniable. Whether it is ultimately salvageable is up for debate.
Now, one company thinks they can make a difference in a floating, sinking city – with “flying” boats.
Swedish company Candela thinks its electric boat could help fight “moto ondosso” – the damaging phenomenon of waves crashing against buildings and sidewalks as boats are driven around the city.
Candela’s boats aim to do just that. The Candela C-8 and P-8 Voyager are the first no-wake, high-speed foiling cruisers. And while the C-8 is a classic boat, the P-8 Voyager is designed to be able to carry passengers — as a taxi or shuttle boat, sparking ideas that it could be adopted on a larger scale around town.
Boats ride on hydrofoils to glide on water.
Designed by aeronautical and drone engineers, the boat generates a wake of just 5 centimeters (2 inches) when “flying” at 30 knots — about the same amount as a hand-built gondola, and the waves can pound the foundations of a city. Not likely.
Meanwhile, the larger 30-seater P-12, announced in June 2022, promises to be the first “flying” ferry — with a range of up to 60 nautical miles and 60 km/h (37 mph). Which manufacturers say can beat rush-hour traffic on routes with optional on-wheels.
The 2022 launch follows Candela’s first boat, the Pilot C-7, which debuted in 2019. Unlike other boats, it lacks an enclosed cabin, making it a more pleasant summer boat.
Electric dreams — and nightmares
Electric cars may be popular for some time, but electric boats are difficult to ride. The drag of water on a boat’s hull, combined with the weight of the batteries needed to power it, is a double whammy for boats, meaning most have to compromise speed or distance.
According to Candela, a 100kWh capacity battery pack in a regular ship can only manage 30 nautical miles at 20 knots. But lifting the hull out of the water solves the drag problem. The bots have an efficiency of 400%, and can cruise for 150 minutes before needing to recharge, the company says.
Candela’s “flying” boats were the brainchild of founder Gustav Hasselskog, who noticed that his quick ice cream runs during vacations in Swedish lakes cost about 10 times the price of his family’s gas.
He calculated that conventional boats use about 15 times more energy than cars, at a steady rate of 20 knots — making them problematic to power with batteries. Instead, he thought about taking boats out of the water, on hydrofoils, making them “fly,” and employed aviation and drone engineers to make them a reality.
Quiet boats connect riders with nature.
“Flying in complete silence, without any slamming and basically for free — it’s just an amazing experience. Once you try the Candela, it will be hard to go back to traditional powerboats”, Hasselskog said in a statement about the C-. 8.
“Venice, which depends on motorboats but also suffers from their impact, is the perfect place to show how Candela’s craft can contribute to a better world, while offering new levels of performance.”
A boat begins its journey like any other, but — like an airplane — it begins to accelerate as it speeds up. The foils are also retractable, which means the boat is not at risk of marine growth, which could otherwise make them furrow.
“Boats with that type of hull don’t produce a big ondoso when using their foils, but the foils are only activated at a certain speed, which seems high for the lagoon context at the moment,” he told CNN.
“It’s definitely not the right concept for Vaporetto [waterbus] in the Grand Canal or in cargo boats.”
However, he thought that boats might be possible outside the city center, such as on the way to the airport, further north in the lagoon, or connecting Venice to islands such as Burano and Palestrina.
Candela waterbuses can work for longer trips around the lagoon.
However, he warned that it could be difficult to maneuver the boat at high speeds around slow traffic, and said that the city’s transport needs to be reconsidered before decisions are made.
“It would be interesting to do some experiments [with Candela]But before this possibility is introduced on a large scale, all lagoon water dynamics should be reconsidered,” he said.
“It is crucial firstly to accelerate the transition to electric propulsion of all boats in the lagoon as far as possible, secondly, to enforce compliance with speed limits through existing technologies that can identify the type of boat, and thirdly, possibly, to adapt speed limits. For type.”
Meanwhile, as Venice waits, Stockholm rises. The regional government has conducted trials of the P-12 ferry, with the aim of eventually operating a fleet of flying ferries using the boat on a tourist route from the city center to the suburbs of Accra. The boats will run at an increased frequency to make up for their smaller size. The boat will go into production in the fall of 2022, with trials starting in the first half of 2023.