Just an overexertion of the designers or a serious alternative for sustainable locomotion on the water? At the 76th Cannes Film Festival, BMW presents the electric boat The Icon – a wave lounge well worth seeing.
BMW has been enthusiastic about boating for many years. But instead of Sailing Cup or Oracle Racing, this time it’s about an unusual motor yacht with a purely electric drive. The electric boat The Icon, a joint development by BMW and boat builder Tyde, presents itself as a glass panorama lounge on a sleek hull. At higher speeds, the 13 meter electric yacht rises out of the water like a hydrofoil or foiling board, reducing drag. The drive is provided by two 100 kW / 136 hp electric motors, which are supplied with energy by an enlarged battery pack from the BMW i3, which has now been discontinued. The 240 kWh battery capacity not only ensures a range of 50 nautical miles / almost 100 kilometers, but also a cruising speed of 24 knots. The maximum speed of 30 knots / 55 km/h is made possible by the foiling technique, in which the hull rises out of the water and glides along almost silently without waves. The underwater wings (hydrofoils) reduce the energy requirement by up to 80 percent compared to a conventional fuselage.
However, the electric icon boat with its lightweight structure does not only want to cause a stir when driving fast, but also in the harbour. The floor plan of the boat appears in the form of a primate, which means that the stern area is an impressive 4.50 meters wide. The unusual design with large window areas ensures that the interior is flooded with light, which is underlined by the panorama windows in the roof. Visitors enter the water lounge from aft via the sundeck and large glass doors. The Icon was designed by the BMW subsidiary Designworks with offices in Los Angeles, Munich and Shanghai. Inside there are exclusive pieces of furniture made of sheet metal and a luxurious carpet. The individual armchairs can be rotated 360 degrees as desired, while the individual functions of the boat are controlled via a tablet infotainment system. At the central helm, the icon boat offers real BMW genes. Instead of familiar nautical instruments, the cockpit with its 32-inch touchscreen with 6k resolution and iDrive is reminiscent of one from a BMW car. Functions such as range or weather reports can be called up by voice.
Unlike other collaborations between car manufacturers and boat builders, The Icon is not a design study, but a platform model that can be variably adapted to customer requirements – with a purely electric drive. If the whirring sound of the electric motors and the rushing of the waves at sea are not enough, you only have to turn up the Dolby sound system and enjoy the Atmos sound. Special requests – welcome!
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.