Fast 'n' mean or slow 'n' green: Code X's solar-hybrid yacht
By Loz Blain
June 30, 2009
Code X's solar hybrid yacht is a study in extremes that lets you choose whether you're going to be an environmentally conscious Dr. Jekyll or a petrol-headed Mr. Hyde on the water. If you need to impress your greenie friends, you can cruise along at a fairly sedate 9 knots using a fully solar electric drive. But when it's time to get a boogie on, you can fire a gushing stream of fossil fuel into the twin Ilmor Marine V-10 Formula One engines and unleash 1420 raging ponies upon your unsuspecting marine environment.
The Code X yacht is an effort to deliver the best of both worlds. The manufacturer recognizes that the majority of the time many yacht owners spend on the water is spent in luxury cruise mode, and the fully solar electric powertrain is an effort to deliver peaceful, quiet and classy transport at low speeds.
Two electric engines draw power from the bank of lithium-ion batteries that are charged through the large solar panels that extend along the front of the boat - and this is good enough for a gentle nine knot cruise.
But its spaceship-sleek looks flag the Code X as a kickass performance vehicle above all else, and here it certainly doesn't fail to deliver. The engine specialists at Ilmor made a name for themselves producing fire-breathing race engines for Formula One and MotoGP teams, and the Code X yacht has two of the company's 710 hp Formula One engines bolted in for when it's time to party. Wind these babies open to full throttle and you will skim the waves at 90 knots.
The hilariously detailed CGI and photoshopping used in the promo photos in our gallery would suggest that the Swiss company doesn't have a prototype or production boat sailing yet - but Code X says it's ready and happy to divulge pricing to serious buyers. Two F1 motors, a complete solar-electric powertrain and a luxury yacht... I can see the price tag for this one sporting a few zeros.