Foiled again: Candela raises another $20 million to set course for the future of ferries
swedish company Candela will launch its 30-passenger commercial hydrofoil shuttle, the P-12, this summer — the ship he believes will change the course of motorized shipping. After its C-7 and C-8 recreational cruisers, Candela has already made waves with its drive to move to fossil-free waterways.
“We are now in the process of finalizing development and putting this ferry into production, which we believe will be a game-changer in public transport,” said Gustav Hasselskog, Founder and CEO of Candela.
The company raised 210 million SEK (about $20 million). The investment is co-led by EQT Ventures and investor duo Joel Eklund (Fosielund Holding AB) and Svante Nilo Bengtsson (Marknadspotential AB), with participation from Ocean Zero LLC, among others. This follows its $24 million round last year.
The P-12 is an electric-powered hydrofoil that efficiently hovers above the surface of the water on computer-guided underwater wings. It has a range of up to 60 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 27 knots. The P-12’s electric power makes the P-12 cleaner and greener than traditional diesel engines, which also makes it cheaper to operate. Candela estimates that the P-12 consumes 80% less energy than a traditional ship.
“It’s a very good thing for the environment; in total, the shipping industry accounts for about 3% of total carbon emissions,” says Hasselskog. However, in addition to the benefits of electrical power, the P-12 is designed for low maintenance and low maintenance costs.
“We use a type of dry drain that requires little maintenance; we developed this pod motor, which has no gears, oil or anything, it’s just underwater motors,” says Hasselskog.
If the choice to make a passenger vessel with a maximum capacity of 30 people seems a bit unusual, it is because it is designed for coastal, archipelago or lake transport, and the way people actually use river transport in these geographies.
“It looks the same in Oslo, Stockholm, New York and everywhere: most of these boats typically carry 300 passengers. But when you study the optimal boat size – especially in Stockholm, Istanbul and San Francisco – you conclude that this is not the optimal boat size. Seat utilization is generally very low. In Stockholm, it’s 5% over the year,” explains Hasselskog. “When you only have 30 passengers, you don’t need more than one staff member on board; otherwise, you need three staff members. If you put it all together you get a really good cost equation and that’s why we went with this format. Operators typically save around 40% compared to large traditional diesel installations. »
By moving to smaller craft, they can be deployed in more flexible ways, such as operating on demand rather than on a fixed schedule and moving to more remote locations. The company says this has a huge benefit for operators, in the form of profitability.
Candela is looking to take advantage of this flexible approach to transport and is currently developing its own software to enable real-time fleet routing. He is also very excited about the benefits the P-12 can bring to passengers.
“The first one we are going to put in water is for the city of Stockholm. He will run from a suburb outside the city towards the center. If you take this route today by bus and metro, or by the current boat, it takes 50 minutes. We can do it in 25 minutes,” says Hasselskog. “The reason being that we don’t create a wake, so we have permission to go faster. If we can reduce commuter travel time, that makes a huge difference. »
For Candela and Hasselskog, the future looks like large fleets of small craft that can move faster to more distant locations, with greater flexibility. He may be starting in Stockholm, but he estimates the market to be €15 billion in size and has global appeal.
“The next step for us here is to… take a place like Stockholm, where there are, say, 35 big ferries today. We will replace them with 120 of ours,” says Hasselskog. And from there: “C t is a global business that we envision and so far we are in dialogue with hundreds of customers.They are spread from Hong Kong to Sydney.There are many in the Gulf region,Europe and we have dialogues in Mexico, Belize, San Francisco, New York.
The company is betting that bigger isn’t always better, in hopes that smaller can mean faster, greener and more convenient.
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