Southampton manufacturer to power new electric commuter boat

Side profile of copper-coloured open boat on a lake with trees in the background on the rocky foreshore.

Southampton-based RAD Propulsion has been chosen to partner with custom naval architecture Stephens Waring Design, which is based in Maine, US, on an exclusive project to produce a new 26ft electric commuter boat launching in autumn 2024.

Stephens Waring’s client requires an electric powered vessel that has ‘plenty of utility, performance, and dependability’. Ease of operation is important as the boat will mainly be used in a remote lake situated in Maine, where it will be far from any marina or fuel dock. Designed with classic 1950s aesthetics, Isobel will be fitted with the compact RAD 40 drive.

“Stephens Waring came to us with this project looking for a drive and battery for an electric commuter boat, without compromising on performance, style or ease of operation,” explains Pete Byford, RAD CTO. “We are delighted to partner with them and Isobel is a beautiful boat that the RAD 40 compliments perfectly.”

As well as being quieter, more efficient, and requiring less maintenance than fossil fuel-powered systems, the RAD 40 drive is smaller than its conventional equivalent. It is designed so the motor doesn’t intrude into the vessel’s deck space and the outboard remains behind the transom when tilted up.

RAD Propulsion has recently secured £1m investment from Ocean Infinity as part of funding to facilitate the scale-up of its RAD 40 production.

The RAD 40 is said to have exceptional control and manoeuvrability, with full drive-by-wire controls and 180 degrees of steering available. Its lightweight and neat design makes installation simple without any external steering gear or connections.

Isobel comes with a RAD 55kWh battery pack that produces 350 volts, with a peak output of 330kW. The battery can be charged from 20 per cent charge to 80 per cent in under an hour.

Bob Stephens of Stephens Waring Design, says: “From our first interaction the RAD team have impressed us with their expert engineering knowledge and attention to detail. The RAD 40 with its standout design and superior operating features makes it the ideal choice for the high-spec Isobel. We are looking forward to getting testing underway to deliver the finished boat to our customer later this year and hope this will be the first of many projects with RAD.”

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