Millikan M9 is the electric catamaran with unlimited range

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Millikan Boats M9
Millikan Boats M9

Millikan Boats is a French shipyard that has focused on developing a catamaran that can run exclusively on solar power. The first prototype of the Millikan M9 (5.78 x 3.39 m)-that is the name of the vessel-will see the water during the summer of 2024, with commercialization taking place at a later date. This is what it looks like.

Electric motors and virtual anchor

First, Millikan Boats engineers looked for a partner who could provide electric motors to propel their boat, finding it in French manufacturer BlueNav. Once they figured out how to equip the M9 with BlueNav’s retractable electric motors, Millikan focused on the boat’s design, trying to figure out how to place-in harmony with the boat’s lines and in a strategic manner-the solar panels useful for powering the motors. Think engines can also be used as a kind of “virtual anchor.” Taking advantage of GPS and a system connected to the engines, the boat will receive small pushes to maintain the position set by the owner, without the need for fixed anchors, with very low power consumption. Obviously, this is a system suitable only under favorable weather and sea traffic conditions.

Millikan Boats M9 - The Stern Area
Millikan Boats M9 – The Stern Area

The M9 catamaran is equipped with two 15 kW motors, comparable to a 50-hp engine, while the solar panel system powering them has an output of more than 6 kWp. Due to the special arrangement of the panels, which have a “double face” in the side areas, it is also possible to use the glare of sunlight on the sea to produce electricity. For this reason, side panels produce 20 percent more energy than traditional, i.e., “single-sided” central panels.

Autonomy

On board the M9 are. two 16 kWh batteries each, similar to those of plug-in hybrid cars, which keep the weight of the vessel low (less than 2.5 tons) and can be a complementary energy source to solar panels to-for example-have a boost in velocity up to 12 knots.

Solar Panels
Millikan Boats M9 – Fully Open Solar Panels

According to the manufacturer, the Millikan M9 catamaran would be capable of smoothly covering a day – of sunshine – sailing, even 10-11 hours. Cruising at 6 knots the range is virtually unlimited if the right weather conditions are available, while at a cruising speed of 9 knots you have about 3 hours of range.

Millikan M9 – Interior

A cabin was obtained inside each of the two hulls, in addition to the central cabin between the two hulls. The one in the left hull is a double cabin with a 200 x 110 cm bed, while in the other we find a similar cabin and a bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. Between the two hulls, the side panels fold down, effectively closing off the central area and creating another cabin-or common space-with about 12 square meters of floor space. Here in fact is the table, which if necessary can be closed to create a double bed(200 x 140 cm) while also taking advantage of the approximately 2 meters of height. The kitchen is outside and has a refrigerator, electric stove and sink. Of interest among the various configurations is one that provides a total of 7 bunks throughout the boat.

bow view
Millikan Boats M9 – Seen from the bow

On deck we find a fairly spacious cockpit aft, with two bathing platforms, and a forward area equipped with sundecks and lounging areas, while the pilot’s station is positioned about centrally amidships. The design of the boat was developed by Normandy firm Vincent Lebailly Yacht Design, while Chantier Naval de la Passagère, a shipyard based in St Malo and headed by Julien Reemers, was chosen for construction.

Millikan M9 – Data Sheet

Millikan Boats M9 - Deck Layout
Millikan Boats M9 – Deck Layout
Length Over All (with side panels open) 5.78 m (9.51)
Width Out All 3.39 m
Fishing (empty) 0.44 m
Weight 2.5 t
Motorization 2x 16.9 KW
Battery capacity 32 kWh
Fuel/Water Tank Capacity 80 l / 80 l
Sleeping places Max 7
Bathrooms 1
Contact Millikan Boats

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