Delphia 11 first look: Beneteau Group’s vision of the future of electric boats

Delphia has launched its first all electric model, the Delphia 11, and announced that it will only build electric boats by 2024.

The Polish brand was bought by Beneteau Group in 2018 and is the first in the French giant’s stable to building 100% electric boats – by the middle of the decade it will make no ICE (internal combustion engine) models at all.

The range will eventually comprise seven boats ranging from 30-42ft (9-13m) including a three-model Delphia 10 series with design and naval architecture by Tony Castro and Vripack launching in September.

The recently launched Delphia 11 is the first model to have an all-electric version, powered by a single 56kw (equivalent to 80hp) Torqeedo Deep Blue 50i 1400 motor with either one or two 38kWh battery banks.

There are three different versions of the system depending on intended use: Life for lakes, Cruise for extended inland cruises, and Rapid, which adds a single 22kW fast charger to the mix.

All versions use identical battery packs, the same as those used in the BMW i3, though Cruise and Rapid have two of them to double the charge capacity.

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Boats fitted with the larger battery packs have a claimed range of 80km (43nm) or 10 hours at 4.3 knots, and will charge overnight via a standard 16A shore power connection. Using a rapid charger the batteries can be charged from 40-80% in three hours.

Working with Torqeedo and local authorities/marinas, Delphia is also planning to boost charging infrastructure as required, targeting the inland waterway networks of northern Europe where the electric boats are likely to prove most popular.

The brand intends to emulate Tesla by electrifying not only the boats but also the waterways in the same way that Tesla’s supercharger network transformed the access to charging stations for its car customers.

The sustainability efforts stretch further than the propulsion system, however, and include features such as solar panels to top-up the service batteries for the house supply, and upright windscreens, which deflect the sun’s rays more effectively, reducing interior heat build-up and the need for fans or air-conditioning to cool it.

Although the Delphia 11 was designed first and foremost to be an all-electric boat with the focus firmly on inland cruising, there are currently still three Yanmar four-cylinder diesel engine options on offer from 57-150hp.

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Both the Sedan and Flylounge variants have low air draughts for passing under bridges

It is available as both a Sedan and Flylounge model and there are three separate configurations for the lower deck with either one cabin and one head, two cabins and two heads or a charter-focussed version with three cabins and two bathrooms.

With the bridge restrictions of inland boating in mind, the air draught of the Sedan is just 9ft (2.75m) and thanks to a collapsible radar arch, backrests and helm station even the Flylounge’s maximum air draught is only 9ft 8in (2.95m).

The hull is a full displacement hard chine design by British designer Tony Castro, with an upright stem and full bow sections in a bid to balance generous interior volume with stable, efficient slow speed cruising.

Delphia brand director Martin Schemkes says: “We believe that deceleration is key to meaningful and relaxing cruises on inland waterways.

“That is how we give owners and their guests the possibility to enjoy moments of pleasure on boats designed with comfort, convenience and ease of living in mind where sustainable product solutions enable mindful harmony with nature and loved ones.”

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“This is exactly the kind of application where electric power makes perfect sense,” adds MBY editor Hugo Andreae.

Displacement hulls don’t need vast reserves of power and inland cruising will be even more pleasurable without the rumble of engines and smell of diesel fumes to spoil the moment.

“Once there’s a suitable network of fast chargers in place, this should actually be a better proposition than a diesel boat. All credit to Beneteau and Delphia for taking the initiative on this.”

You can read our test report of the electric and diesel Delphia 11 Sedan in the July 2022 issue of MBY, out June 2.