Volvo Penta and Groupe Beneteau rendering of electric powered concept boat in black and white

Volvo Penta has announced its first trial in the leisure segment. It’ll see a fully-integrated Volvo Penta hybrid electric system feature on a Groupe Beneteau concept boat. Volvo Penta is calling on the industry to actively collaborate in the concept development by providing feedback around the desired experience, boat and system design, and innovative features – all with sustainability as a key driver.

The helm-to-prop technology of the concept boat is based on the pilot project of a hybrid electric vessel for Hurtigruten Svalbard, which took to the waters in 2022. That’s been running near-silent tour experiences ever since. The new demo vessel will be stationed at Volvo Penta’s Krossholmen test facility (Sweden) and over the coming months media, customers, and dealers will be invited to get hands-on experience and look behind the scenes at the Gothenburg facility. This is the first time Volvo Penta has invited end users to its test facility at this concept stage.

The hybrid electric demo is not available for sale and this initiative will aim to discover what else customers would like to see: how they expect to spend their time on the water and what performance needs they have around automation, connectivity, and more. Ahead of a much broader launch of sustainable vessels, Volvo Penta and Groupe Beneteau will use the input from this process to support its product development, running as an additional workstream in the process.

“One of our core philosophies at Volvo Penta is ‘learning by doing’ and presenting this concept to customers at this early stage will help us in our efforts to transform boating for everyone,” says Johan Inden, president of marine business at Volvo Penta. “Feedback we get during this process will be incorporated into our ongoing development process. By running customer trials alongside product development, we will accelerate transformation in boating and ensure our finished products are market-ready. Groupe Beneteau is a great partner for this project, because the company’s vision is so forward-looking and it’s a globally recognised brand.”

Erik Stromberg, vice president of power and motor yacht products, Groupe Beneteau, says his company is excited about the potential new experiences.

“Our focus is always on enhancing the user experience, and this demo gives us a chance to shape a new customer experience directly with customers and dealers. We see hybrid propulsion as one of the keys to unlocking new ways of enjoying being on the water. This will be a much quieter experience that is more respectful of the marine world, with the potential to change the way we live and enjoy boating. Our roadmap includes the rapid introduction and commercialisation of hybrid models across several of our market segments. We will then leverage our advantages in terms of industrial scale, commitment to quality and customer-focused approach to bring it to the global market.”

A Jeanneau NC 37 model will be used for the purpose of the demo, equipped with a Volvo Penta twin D4-320 DPI Aquamatic hybrid-electric concept and updated technology including Volvo Penta’s full joystick docking system and the dynamic positioning system, which have been adapted to work in electric mode.

The demo between Volvo Penta and Groupe Beneteau will be available for dealers and end customers to test during Spring 2023.

In late December 2022, Beneteau premiered two new electric sailing yachts, the Oceanis 30.1 and the First 44, at Salon Nautic de Paris. The two are a testament to what Groupe Beneteau describes as its continued realisation of its sustainability strategy. That is looking at its manufacturing processes and product development with an eye toward carbon reduction and eco-friendliness.

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