X Shore, the electric boat that wants to be the Tesla of the sea - ESP - Expansión

The Swedish Konrad Bergström wants to be like Elon Musk. Build X Shore electric boats that reach a speed of 40 knots without noise or smoke. From 300,000 euros.

The prow of the "Eelex 8000" breaks the waves rhythmically while at the end of the bay the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca is majestically outlined . In front of a conventional boat, where the noise of the engine and the smell of fuel prevent to enjoy the promenade in optimal conditions, aboard this exclusive electric boat it is possible to listen to the silence during a smoke-free journey. An ecological navigation that surely appreciates the marine fauna.

"Welcome to the Tesla del mar!" , greets the captain of the Eelex, Konrad Bergström (Vaksala, Sweden, April 28, 1971), an affable fellow of almost two meters, a Viking and soul of a surfer. He is the founder and CEO of the startup X Shore , manufacturer of 100% electric boats that began its journey in 2016. With a clear inspiration in Tesla cars, it has been proposed to revolutionize the nautical industry in the long term. "We are building more ethical ways to cross our seas," says this tech entrepreneur, for whom "the future of mobility is electrical".

The Eelex 6.500 and Eelex 8.000 models (6.5 and 8 meters in length) are distinguished from the competition by their top speed and great autonomy. "Most electric boats in the market barely reach six knots of speed (11 km / h) and have a range of about 20 minutes, whereas the Eelex can reach a maximum speed of 40 knots (74 km / h), although a cruise of 25 knots (46 km / h) is recommended to be able to navigate for more than two hours on a single load ", explains our host, dressed in a black T-shirt where the corporate slogan" Power of silence ".

Sailing is cheaper

In addition to respecting the environment, Bergström has the economic advantages of an electric propulsion boat : "Its maintenance is minimal, and the cost of piloting it is 10 times less than that of a fossil fuel." To travel 100 nautical miles, For example, a conventional one spends 60 liters of fuel, around 120 euros, while charging the Eelex battery goes for around 12 euros ". The company guarantees 5,000 loads , "and in any port it is easier to find a plug than a fuel refueling" reassures the skeptical CEO of X Shore.

The Eelex has twice the power of a Tesla, about 120 kilowatts , because water offers greater resistance. And this is where hydrodynamic engineering comes into play. "Thanks to an exceptional partner such as Rolls Royce , an optimal combination of hull, shaft, propeller and rudder has been achieved," the captain reports. The lightweight fiberglass hull features a mechanism that sucks air from the sides, creating a layer of bubbles that reduces friction and energy consumption.

With clean, simple and functional lines, the stern is open to facilitate loading and the interior is modular, which allows seats to be added in different positions by means of a rail system. "It is even possible to install a barbecue on board." Being a customizable boat , no two are the same. The customer can choose the cover in cork, teak or aluminum; 90 or 120 kilowatt batteries; outdoor cabin or deck ... The customization can be done online and the delivery time is 10 weeks.

The price of this electric gem is around 300,000 euros . "Our medium-term goal is to build a more affordable boat, optimizing manufacturing and materials, Tesla cars started selling for about $ 150,000 and today you get them for 30,000.When we have the optimal technology, the prices will be below the $ 100,000, "calculates Bergström.

Currently there are 12 ships under construction and the company plans to dispatch from 45 to 60 units by 2020, to reach 200 by 2021. Among the clientele there are "owners looking for a next-generation auxiliary ship to differentiate themselves from their colleagues; of maritime transport, coastal cities concerned about the pollution of their waters and luxury resorts that prefer to offer a sustainable means to transfer their customers, "explains the sales manager.

Captain "surrealist"

Konrad Bergström is an entrepreneur with a spark. Son of an engineer who was a professor of mathematics and a director of theater and dance, he considers himself "a product of all that": creative with a rational point. I ask him about his way of handling business and he responds with an anecdote from Dalí : "Once, the artist wanted to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower with a giraffe and the authorities called him crazy. , for not having built a suitable elevator for his giraffe to enter. " So, do you like the impossible? "My thoughts tend to be a bit surreal, although I have my feet on the ground," the businessman, father of three children and involved in various environmental protection NGOs , answered .

A fan of surfing (he has ridden the best waves in Costa Rica, Hawaii, California and Malibu), at age 16 he traveled to New Zealand with the idea of ​​becoming a professional windsurfer and setting up a board store. In the 90s he launched the Quiksilver brand in Sweden, and over time he acquired the exclusive distribution for all of Scandinavia. From there he went on to work for the Swedish fashion firm WeSC, where he became head of marketing and sales. The culture of these surfer firms led him to organize large wakeboarding events (water skiing on board). "It was a fun time, but I do not miss it, I prefer to surf the future," says the serial entrepreneur. It would soon be on the rise of technological innovation: in 2008, he co-founded Zound Industries, under whose umbrella are the Marshall loudspeaker brand and the Urbanears wireless headphones . Konrad has just sold 3.5% of the shares he still owned in the company, from which he was dismissed in 2018 "for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information to third parties," according to an official note from the company.

Accustomed to success, the Swedish entrepreneur has also known failure. "I filed for bankruptcy in 2004. I was a millionaire and the next day I got up with a debt of half a million euros," he recalls without distress. And he's not afraid to ruin himself again? "Of course, any new project involves a risk, but since I embarked on X Shore I feel like I'm on the right track, as a brand, it's important to inspire other sectors," says the captain, who drives an Audi on the ground. 100% electric e-tron .

Before saying goodbye, I ask him what he felt when, in 2016, he put himself at the controls of the Electric Smogen 8000 , the first X Shore prototype whose development gave rise to the Eelex models: "I did not cry, but I felt very happy. Four years of tests, I shouted: 'Wow, this works!' ", recalls with a gesture of a hardened Viking.

The design of the "Eelex" is inspired by an electric eel like those found in the Amazon or the Orinoco, described by Jules Verne as "a sight to be seen". Silent, with a sturdy head and an elongated tail, it can emit electric shocks of up to 850 volts. The bow is decorated with the head of the eel ("eel" in English) and was baptized by X Shore as "The power of silence". Designed by the tattooist William and sculpted by Johan Ferner Ström, it is made of bronze and turns green in contact with water and saltpeter.

Data sheet Eelex 6500 / Eelex 8000

Length . 6.5 / 8 m.

Weight. 1,800 / 2,200 kg.

Openwork 0.6 / 0.8 m.

Sleeve. 2.4 / 2.6 m

Load. 8 h. in 360 V, 12 h. at 220 V.

Maximum speed. 40 knots Cruising speed 25 knots in 2.5 h.

Autonomy. 100 nautical miles at moderate speeds.

Engine. "Eel" (eel) made in Switzerland; X Shore propulsion system with a Rolls-Royce propeller.

Design. From the hull, StenOrneblad; of the interior, NorraNorr.

Price. 300,000 euros.

Source: Expansión

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