First announced in concept form in June 2022, the P-12 employs computer-guided hydrofoils to elevate its hull above water friction. When foilborne at speeds over 18 knots, the Candela P-12 consumes 80 percent less energy than traditional high-speed vessels. This innovation addresses the primary challenges that have hindered the widespread adoption of electric, fast vessels to date: limited range and slow speeds due to the excessive energy consumption of conventional hulls.
During its first flights, Candela P-12 confirmed its top speed of 30 knots, a record for electric passenger vessels. With a range of up to 50 nautical miles, it is also the first electric ship with the practical endurance to cover most coastal transport needs.
Tests also confirmed the minimal wake, which opens up for exemptions from speed limits, as the P-12 will neither erode coastlines nor damage docks and moored ships, even at full speed.
Maritime transport represents 3 percent of global CO2 emissions, a figure projected to grow to 13 percent in the coming decades if no action is taken. High hopes are therefore placed on electric vessels, with the market for electric ships estimated to hit $31.48 billion by 2034.
Electric vessel adoption currently is extremely low, even on urban and coastal waterways, due to their high cost and limited performance.
Alongside its range and speed, the P-12 has been engineered to offer similar or lower initial investment costs for operators while boosting profits compared to traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vessels.
Priced at 1.7 million euros, the 30-seat Shuttle variant of the P-12 matches the cost of similar-sized ICE vessels and is priced significantly lower than other electric options. This is possible thanks to its hydrofoil efficiency, which enables an extended range from a modest 252 kWh battery. Combined with a streamlined serial production, this leads to industry-low overall unit costs.
“With the P-12, we're not just offering a faster, more comfortable electric alternative to fossil fuel-powered vessels” said Erik Eklund, Candela’s Director for Commercial Vessels. “We enable operators to make the switch to sustainable vessels that are cost-effective and profitable, a crucial step towards clean oceans and lakes.”
Once in service, operators can expect reduced 'fuel' costs by up to 90 percent compared to diesel vessels. The C-POD motors require minimal servicing, and the vessel is designed for single crew operation, which further slashes costs.
In total, the P-12 is expected to cut costs per passenger kilometer by up to 50 percent, achieving a similar operational per-passenger economy as a hybrid electric bus.
Candela's engineers have reimagined every element of vessel design, from maintenance to docking, aiming to provide a superior experience. The vessel has an extendable, automatic bow ramp, adjustable for docking at varying quay heights from 0.3 to 1.8 metres, enabling the P-12 to serve a multitude of routes globally without the need for dock alterations.
Each stop's turnaround time is under 2 minutes, courtesy of the C-POD motors' thrust vectoring for nimble maneuvering - even allowing the vessel to move sideways when required.
Once flying, the digital flight control system compensates for waves, side wind, and current by adjusting the hydrofoils' angle of attack 100 times per second, providing a smooth ride free from sea sickness-inducing pitching and slamming. This system, reminiscent of technology found in modern jet fighters, has been developed by Candela's engineers since 2016 and fine-tuned in the company's leisure vessels, the C-7 and C-8.
The P-12 is a versatile platform designed to accommodate an array of use cases and clients, from public transport to bespoke private shuttles. It is available in three variants: the P-12 Shuttle, P-12 Business, and P-12 Voyager.
The Shuttle configuration seats 30 passengers and sets the benchmark for sustainable commuting with the lowest operational costs in the industry. Allocated space for bicycles (along with strollers and wheelchairs) encourages the integration of cycling with public transport.
The Business version features a premium interior with seating for 12 to 20 passengers (and plenty of suitcases), and the highly adaptable Voyager version offers customers flexibility in interior design, catering to both private leisure and commercial clients.
In a pilot, the Candela P-12 Shuttle is set to join Stockholm's public transport network in 2024, reducing the Ekerö suburb-city center commute from 55 to 25 minutes, surpassing cars, buses, and current diesel ferries in speed. This is possible by obtaining an exemption from the city center's speed limits, thanks to the vessel's minimal wake.
In Stockholm, as in many waterfront cities, waterborne traffic has been dwindling as buses and cars provide quicker and more affordable transport. The P-12 aims to reverse this trend.
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