Volkswagen Announces Solar-Powered Catamaran Collaboration With Silent-Yachts

What works on land might also work well on the water

A rendering of what the joint venture might look like.

The idea of an automaker applying what they’ve learned from automotive innovation to other facets of vehicular design isn’t necessarily surprising. Even so, it can be somewhat disorienting to learn that one of Volkswagen’s upcoming projects is a catamaran. And not just any catamaran — one that uses the sun as its fuel.

At Robb Report, Rachel Cormack has more details on this project — which finds Volkswagen, solar-powered boat maker Silent-Yachts and CUPRA (a Spanish marque owned by the Volkswagen Group) working together on an ambitious schedule. According to Volkwagen’s own description of the venture, which kicked off in 2019, their goal is “to put a ship with MEB propulsion on the water in the course of 2022.”

The MEB is Volkswagen’s “modular system for manufacturing electric vehicles.” Cormack writes that adding the MEB to catamarans can help make them slightly less expensive — though, given the size of the boats we’re talking about here, that’s somewhat relative.

The Silent Yacht 50 — a 50-foot-long catamaran, with design by CUPRA — is the initial end product of this collaboration, with a goal of producing 50 each year, plus more as needed. Volkswagen also plans to install components in other Silent-Yacht boats. It’s an unexpected partnership, but the more you read about it, the more it makes sense.

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