BMW launches new ICON electric boat at Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival has seen the launch of the new ICON electric boat. Created by BMW in collaboration with boat builder, Tyde, the new boat is designed to take green marine mobility to the next level...

At 43ft 2in with a beam of 14ft 10in, the ICON is certainly a sizeable platform, but it uses hydrofoils to elevate the hull and to help reduce energy demands.

In this case, that energy is supplied by six 42kWh batteries from the BMW i3. Coupled with a pair of 100 kW electric motors, that ought to deliver a claimed range of more than 50 nautical miles at 24 knots and a maximum speed of 30 knots.

BMW electric boat: living space

As you might expect, Tyde is claiming “silent cruising without vibrations, jolts or wave impact” but what really hits home about the new BMW boat is its internal design.

The body of the watercraft comprises a flat hull with a prism-like deck shape and a full-beam space toward the stern. That’s all wrapped in an elevated “origami” superstructure, built from glass for extraordinary all-round views and easy standing headroom.

While privacy doesn’t seem to be a strength, style certainly is. In addition to its prismatic windows and roof surfaces, the body that supports the glass walls uses a two-tone turquoise colour scheme that is inspired by the colours of the sea.

BMW-style helm station

The helm station looks equally well considered. Centrally located with a dash arrangement very much in the modern BMW style, all functions are combined into a single 32-inch touchscreen display.

Again, that digital interface has the look and feel of the BMW iDrive operating system. And in addition to essential functions like range information and weather reports, the lights and ambient temperature can also be arranged by voice control.

ICON party zone

Designed as “a social meeting place” the ICON features artfully designed furniture, formed from metal sheets with a grainy surface to help reflect sunlight onto the floor “like waves on the sea”. 

The 360° rotating seats can be easily arranged for sociable gatherings and the tablet infotainment system enables you to organise your tunes from anywhere on the boat.

That music is delivered via a Dolby Atmos system and apparently, Hollywood composer, Hans Zimmer, is the man behind the ICON’s exclusive on board soundtrack.

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According to its builders, the job of the new BMW-inspired ICON electric boat is now to “inspire CO2 -free mobility at sea – without environmental pollution, without noise, but with maximum comfort”.

It’s likely that its style and deck layout will split opinion. But as a zero-emissions day boating platform with premium automotive credibility, the new ICON electric boat is going to be very tough to ignore.