X Shore CEO René Hansen talks electric market and scaling up

X Shore CEO Rene Hansen man standing in front of boat bow

X Shore’s recently appointed CEO René Hansen on steering electric boating towards a greener future

The past two years have shaped a transformative narrative for the Swedish all-electric boat manufacturer X Shore. Notable milestones include introducing the competitively priced X Shore 1 model, securing funding rounds, and, most recently, targeting the commercial sector with the X Shore Pro. This year, Norwegian-born René Hansen succeeded Jenny Keisu as X Shore CEO and is now helming the company’s journey.

He brings experience from various sustainability and technology sectors, where he excelled as being the ‘bridge between brand logic and brand magic.’

New management

X Shore Pro
X Shore Pro

It’s early days, a handful of months into his tenure, but Hansen is confident in the road ahead and how his ethos aligns with X Shore. 

“Sustainability and technology have always been at the core and for me, X Shore is more of a technology company. What really spoke to me was how [X Shore] is the only assembly line producer of sustainable boats worldwide. Having recognised the negative impacts of leisure boating on the oceans, I wanted to be part of a transformative force driving positive change,” Hansen says. 

Over the past few years, there has been a surge in consciousness toward more sustainable boating solutions; in turn, this has propelled the growth and adoption of electric boating. Hansen recognises this momentum: “We have a lot of early adaptors, similar to Tesla. Our consumer group is wide, and a lot of interest comes from the children of parents. The younger generation does not want combustion boats; they are focused on being at one with nature, and an electric boat is a whole different experience. They value technological advancements, and when we run focus groups with [younger consumers], they always favour seamless technology integration.”

X Shore 1

As a result, beyond sustainability, X Shore’s focus extends to enhancing the user experience through technology. This integration is also seen as improving boating accessibility. “We want to attract new consumers who may have previously felt boating wasn’t for them because of the service hassle of owning one, which has now been removed with electric,” Hansen says.

“While sustainability is the focus, it is also about the technology and the functional design. We are improving the user experience and how the boat is used. We see ourselves as more of an adventure brand to help users be at one with nature. This is why we build in a modular format so owners can turn the boat into many things depending on their requirements.” 

Adapting to electric boat markets

Boats on production line in factory
X Shore factory

Other applications have also come to the fore since the launch of the X Shore Pro. The company launched the model into the workboat and transportation sector, however the reality has garnered interest from individuals and clients looking for a more utilitarian or adventure style boat. “We thought demand for the X Shore Pro would be mainly from municipalities and other organisations such as nature tourism and diving,” says Hansen, “but we have found that people think it’s a cool looking, sporty boat, and this has developed into opening up an SUV-style market that we didn’t anticipate. We have a lot of interest, so we need to build that into our commercial plan, which wasn’t thought about initially.”

In-house technological advancements are helping X Shore work to reduce the barriers to entry. Hansen explains: “Everyone else is a boating company, we are a technology company focussing on sustainable and beautiful boat design. We are the best sustainable option.

“You cannot just take what the car industry has and put it into a boat, [but] we understand how to connect this technology so it works on boats.”

Regulation is on the horizon and will begin to infiltrate the market. Players like X Shore are witnessing these changes and have therefore shifted focus to the regions that are leading legislative movements. 

“We are already seeing increasing legislation for the bigger combustion boats in the Norwegian fjords, and several lakes in Germany, Turkey, Austria and Italy have followed. This will trickle down to smaller boats,” comments Hansen.

Ahead of the anticipated regulatory changes, X Shore has positioned itself with a model for potential expansion. Hansen explains: “Right now, we are the only company that can produce at a sustainable scale in an assembly line and will be able to deliver on-demand when the bigger shifts come.”

Scaling and structure 

Scaling up a startup is a process and one that X Shore is in the midst of. Looking ahead, the team says it will continue to build robust commercial strategies that underline the company’s commitment to being a catalyst for sustainable, electric boating. 

“When you are a startup, everyone goes in different directions. I am moving this energy into clearer roles and responsibilities and empowering people to be much more effective,” Hansen says.

The new CEO is optimistic about the future and concludes: “The future is about professionalising, fine tuning an assembly line blueprint production that we can set up anywhere, and continuing to work on our commercial strategy. 

“We will enhance our relationships with dealers and focus our energies on legislation and the behavioural transformation happening.”

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