"Where electric cars have been a part of the streetscape for a long time, the boating market failed to pick up the pass and join the trend, until now." Dutch boat manufacturer Supiore may overstate the case a bit, but for every e-boat we saw at the boot Dusseldorf show last week, there was a fleet of liquid-fueled boats. Supiore's Uno is a stylish, solar-powered boat set to help redress the balance a bit.
Ordinarily, calling a boat stylish and eye-catching would be a matter of opinion, but we gathered a stack of evidence as we stood around patiently (somewhat) waiting for a clean photo opportunity. Nearly every single showgoer that walked by made an obligatory rubberneck, ogling the clean, stylish interior, safety cone-orange hull and glimmering solar panels. Even in a massive hall filled to the rafters with boat after boat, the Uno stood out.
As you can tell from the huge "100 percent electric" tattoo, Supiore is pretty proud of the fact that the Uno is all-electric. The 5.25-m (17-ft) vessel cruises the ocean, bay or lake for up to six hours per charge, thanks in part to the integrated solar array that pulls power from the beating sun above. The idea is that the cap'n and up to six friends enjoy a calm, steady float without worrying too much about rushing back to the dock to power up. The yacht's speed is electronically limited to 10 knots (18.5 km/h, 11.5 mph).
Sun soakers probably won't be able to resist the flirtations of the Uno's flat, smooth deck, and Supiore assures them they don't have to try – the solar panels have been designed to keep charging with only a minimal decrease in efficiency that will depend on the size of the sun soaker in question. In optimal conditions, the panels charge the battery at a rate of about five percent an hour. When the boat is plugged into an outlet, the recharge rate leaps to 20 percent/hour.
Behind the Uno's short glasshouse awaits an interior that is deceivingly simple. What appears to be a basic wood table is actually a multifunctional piece of equipment that houses a grill, sink with a retractable faucet, water tank and drink cooler. The owner and guests can relax, enjoy cold drinks and prepare a full dinner out on the water. An audio system with dual 75-watt speakers provides the soundtrack, while the LED lighting ensures the evening doesn't have to end at nightfall. Port and starboard stowage space provides room for storage.
Supiore explains that the Uno's unique shape is dictated by stability – because what good is a calm, quiet electric drive if the boat lurches violently like a bucking bull the whole trip? As far as construction, the boat has double-foam walls and an epoxy impregnated frame.
Supiore was handing out "world premiere" paperwork at the 2014 Dusseldorf boat show, but it looks like the Uno made an appearance or two prior to the show. We're guessing it drew its share of rubberneckers at those events, too.
Unfortunately, Supiore's materials do not list Uno pricing. The company did not respond to our pricing request prior to publication, but we will update if and when it does.