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World’s fastest electric boat races against a Tesla Model 3

How do you show off the speed of the world’s fastest electric boat? Race it against a Tesla Model 3, of course. That’s the stunt that the makers of the Candela Seven, a next-gen hydrofoil with a top speed of 30 knots, recently participated in for a German TV show called Auto-mobil.

“Candela Seven is the first electric boat that matches fossil fuel competitors when it comes to range and speed,” public relations manager Mikael Mahlberg told Digital Trends. “In all other areas, such as seakeeping in rough waves, cost of driving, and maintenance burden, we’re far superior. It’s simply a game-changer for marine transport.”

The race took place between Cologne and Düsseldorf, two cities that are connected by the Rhine River. In the end, the contest between the two vehicles was impressively close — although the Tesla did manage to win. You can check it out by watching it on the VOX TV homepage (skip to the third part if you want to see only the Tesla vs. Candela race, although be aware that it’s, unsurprisingly, German language.)

To be clear, this wasn’t totally an apples-for-apples comparison. A Tesla Model 3’s top speed is 155 miles per hour, which makes it more than 4x the speed of the Candela Seven. But like those YouTube videos showing parkour practitioners racing subway trains, this is more about who can travel a certain distance more quickly. It was also to show that electric high-speed ferries can be a viable alternative to traveling on the world-famous Autobahn, which has to contend with traffic.

Candela 1

“Since our boat doesn’t make any wakes, you can go fast even in no-wake zones,” Mahlberg continued. “On the Rhine, we could basically go full speed from city center to city center. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range is the world’s most efficient electric car, so we thought that would be a great match for the world’s most energy-efficient boat.”

The Candela Seven is an impressive creation

Racing gimmicks aside, though, the Candela Seven is an impressive creation. The use of hydrofoils under the hull helps the Seven to skirt above the surface of the water. This reduces friction by 80%, and gives a range of 92km (57 miles), which is around three times the range of conventional electric boats.

The Candela Seven is in serial production. It can seat up to five people, and costs around $240,000. “We’ve built 16 boats so far, half of which are running in Sweden and the rest mostly to Silicon Valley,” Mahlberg said. “It’s become a bit of an ‘it-boat’ over there, among software entrepreneurs, actually.”

Considering that audience, showing off its prowess against the Tesla Model 3 probably makes a whole lot of sense!

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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