This is BMW’s boat (13.5 meters, electric). It’s called Icon

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BMW's electric boat with foils. The Icon
The Icon, BMW’s electric boat with foils.

We are in Cannes, but the occasion is not the Yachting Festival but the universally known Film Festival. While everyone had their eyes on the red carpet, in the waters in front of the Palais des Festivals, BMW launched The Icon, the new 13-meter foil-equipped, twin-engine boat. A peculiar and futuristic boat, which will probably turn the noses of motor boating purists (and others), but hides elements of note. The first among them? It is not a prototype, but a product ready for serial production!

bmw boat

The first point to be made is that on this hull BMW is not only the supplier of the high-voltage batteries (under the BMW i brand), but also signs off on the design with the work of the creatives at Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW Group. Development and construction were entrusted to Tyde Shipyard, a young company founded by Christoph Ballin, co-founder and former CEO of Torqeedo, and Tobias Hoffritz.

BMW’s boat

If you are familiar with boats like the
Candela C-8
or the
Navier 30
, this new design from BMW seems to go in that direction, but with some important differences. The first is the size: 13.5 meters is a lot for such a boat. Candela, which, as of now, is the most industrially initiated on electric boats with foils for recreational use goes up to 8 meters with the C-8 mentioned earlier, while Navier has a single 9-meter model.

BMW Icon

Then there is the issue of design, which is certainly different from anything we are used to with this large enclosed cabin that resembles an arrowhead. The basic philosophy, however, is the same. Use the
foils (click here to learn what they are)
, appendages with which to lift the hull out of the water, dim the friction of the boat and thus consume less.

The point is to increase battery life by using less energy at the same speed. What does it mean? Trivially having more range and not being constrained to sail at 6 knots as happens with some boats launched in recent times. Everything, clearly, depends on the needs that each of us has when we surf. Similarly, in low or zero wave conditions, there is less impact on foils and thus more comfort on board.

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BMW boat electric motors

Going more practical, this boat harnesses a pair of 100 kW electric motors using the 240 kWh of energy provided by six BMW i3 batteries. The range in this way, reaches over 50 nautical miles (about 92 km). The cruising speed on the foils is reported to be around 24 knots, while the maximum speed is estimated to be around 30 knots.

To govern it, instead of the traditional instrumentation, there is a 32-inch touchscreen display in the dashboard with 6k resolution and the appearance of the BMW iDrive control/operation system. How much autonomy do you have? Just ask the car with voice commands designed for this and other functions.

Aboard the BMW boat

Inside feels like a living room, a lounge on the water with a high-tech dashboard and an XL platform aft. The hull is effectively flat with a central supporting element for the transparent superstructure and has a maximum beam of 4.5 meters. This creates a very spacious entrance into the living room dominated on the sides by large windows. LED light strips on the bow and stern and charging connection points create a luminous effect, as does furniture upholstery designed to reflect sunlight onto the floor.

One curiosity is related to audio. No, let’s not talk about the Dolby Atmos system, which is already nontrivial. The audio for the on-board functions was created by none other than composer Hans Zimmer, who also has two Academy Awards in his palmarés.

BMW electric boat interior and dashboard
BMW electric boat interior and dashboard

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