Catalonia on course to build sustainable electric boats for the America's Cup

17 May 2024

The project entails the construction of six vessels that will sail during the America's Cup, showcasing Catalonia's technological prowess to the world and accelerating the decarbonization of the Catalan nautical sector.

This Friday, the Minister for Business and Labour and President of the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation (FBCN), Roger Torrent, presented in Palamós (Catalonia) the 'Decarbonization of Recreational Boats' project, aimed at promoting the electrification and decarbonization of the Catalan nautical sector, coinciding with the celebration of the America's Cup in Barcelona. Torrent unveiled the electric boat manufactured by the shipyard Zephyr Boats, the first of the projects aimed at driving innovation and technological development in the sector and its international positioning.

“Since it was announced that the America's Cup would be held in Barcelona, the government has been working to ensure that it has a socio-economic impact that goes far beyond the competition”

Roger Torrent, Minister for Business and Labour and President of the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation (FBCN)

The project, with a budget of 3 million euros, is being led by the FBCN, the Government via ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, and the Barcelona City Council, and also has counted on the collaboration of the Barcelona Nautical Cluster. Four Catalan shipyards will participate, constructing 6 electric boats of various sizes and characteristics, which will sail during the America's Cup in Barcelona starting this summer.

The Minister explained that “since it was announced that the America's Cup would be held in Barcelona, the government has been working to ensure that it has a socio-economic impact that goes far beyond the competition: we want it to leave a lasting mark and have an impact not only in Barcelona but throughout Catalonia”. Along these lines, he stated, “we have conveyed this vocation to reach through three axes: to promote innovative projects with industrial trajectory, to generate opportunities for the country's companies and to feed the growth of the nautical sector and the blue economy”. The event was also attended by Albert Castellanos, Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment; Lluís Puig, Mayor of Palamós; and Gemma Pagès, CEO of Zephyr Boats.

This project aims to boost the competitiveness of the Catalan nautical sector by taking on the challenge of decarbonization and strengthening technological development in companies in this field, whether in boat construction or in the manufacture of charging systems. The initiative began in 2023 by identifying the technological capabilities of Catalan shipyards in the field of electrification and selecting Electric Inside, Magonis Electric Boats, Marcelo Penna Yachts, and Zephyr Boats to participate in the project.

These six boats will be showcased and used by the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation during America's Cup, taking advantage of the world's spotlight on Barcelona to promote the initiative as a strategic action of the country while also putting Catalan-made boats center-stage.

A 100% made-in-Catalonia electric vessel

The boat built by the Empordà-based shipyard Zephyr Boats, named Zephyr 800 ECO, is a 100% electric launch, 8 meters long, equipped with outboard electric motors. With a capacity for 12 passengers, the vessel has been designed and developed from scratch to be electric, so its dimensions and space have been conceived to maximize the benefits of electric propulsion technology with a power range from 168 kW (230 HP) to 225 kW (300 HP). The launch can reach a maximum speed of 25 knots (46 km/h) and has a range of over 70 nautical miles (110 kilometers).

The America’s Cup legacy

The project presented this Friday is one of the actions aimed at ensuring the technological and industrial impact and legacy of the 37th America's Cup, kicking off in Barcelona this summer. In fact, last week saw the establishment of the Strategic Table for Nautical Decarbonization, the first public-private initiative aimed at promoting the use of new renewable fuels applied to boating and involving all stakeholders in the value chain.

In this vein, the Government – through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investmentsigned a collaboration agreement last summer with the America's Cup Event (ACE) to promote the use of green hydrogen in the Catalan nautical sector, as well as the development of the first America's Cup video game with Catalan suppliers, among others.

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