Hydrofoiling: tapping into unforeseen speed and mobility

Sustainability is the aim and hydrofoils are reducing the impact of mobility, showing promise for applications in the future e-mobility ecosystem

Does hydrofoil come under the emobility bracket? Well, it’s powered by electricity, reducing the impact on the environment, and encourages greater access to transport in underserved areas and beyond—with that said, our guess is yes.

When you say it out loud “battery power is better than engine power” it sounds crazy, yet the phrase is most certainly true in the case of environmental impact. Long gone are the days of the fossil-fuel-powered projectile of boats and in comes the serenity and peaceful, non-impactful use of electricity to power even the most substantial of watercraft. 

But the marine industry is no stranger to electric propulsion, and has in fact been in the works since well into the 1800s. Developing sustainable, powerful boats brings a whole new level of ingenuity to the transport sector, and one particular form of motion is created by hydrofoiling. 

It’s widely applied to boats as more electric models make the grade, but what exactly are the benefits that put hydrofoil technology under the nose of marine engineers? 

From a sustainability perspective, hydrofoil systems create minimal impact in the water. Compromising on wing-like or stilt-like blades, beneath the craft, and smaller propellers, this type of system reduces the surface contact of a boat—less surface area, less resistance. Such a system is why the likes of Candela was able to reduce a 50-minute drive across a Swedish archipelago to a 25-minute boat ride through Scandinavian waters. 

Leveraging these kinds of solutions could prove influential in the modern mobility landscape, particularly in coastal regions or areas where it’s possible to travel ‘as the crow flies’. 

Intuitive propulsion with a minimal impact

Hydrofoils have been used in a variety of applications, demonstrating that they are flexible to applications in consumer and commercial products. From passenger transports vessels to recreational functions, hydrofoils not only prove sustainable, but scalable. 

To reduce the impact of power boats on waterways, hydrofoils reduce the scale of the propulsion system required, which in turn limits the force imposed on the water. As they push the watercraft up, the board or ship clears the surface and avoids creating more motion in the water, which, in coastal areas, can minimise erosion to coastlines and noise impacts on nearby populations as well as habitats in the ocean.

What are the use cases for hydrofoils?

Aside from their intuitive designs and uniquely aesthetic characteristics, hydrofoils prove practical in enabling electrified transportation at sea, but also retaining tranquillity in line with the silence of battery-powered motors. We see more applications for hydrofoils as they make their way into the leisure craft sector, but all manage to transport passengers through newly accessible routes worldwide. 

Leveraging boats in a more sustainable way will reduce the dependence on cars and serve as further means of electrified transport in years to come. But for now, excitement builds as the full potential of hydrofoil technology is to be showcased at the UIM E1 Series World Championship, and the likes of boat makers build sustainable partnerships to deliver boats to more customers. 

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