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The Candela C-8 is the Future of Speedboats, Pleasurecraft, and Everything in Between

Swedish boat-maker Candela is changing the way we think about boating, and the things that emerge from its factory are the stuff of science fiction. If the Candela C-8 is a peek into the next generation of watercraft, there’s a lot to be excited about.

The Candela C-8 is a water-going EV with room for you and seven lucky passengers. Its 69-kilowatt-hour battery is good for a range of up to 57 nautical miles and a top speed of 27 knots. That isn’t fast, but Candela isn’t building a speedboat (yet). What is fast is the boat’s ability to recharge its battery. With a 135-kilowatt DC charger, you can get the battery from 10 to 80% in 35 minutes.

Electric power and a carbon fiber hull are cool, but what really makes the C-8 special is the way it moves. Once the boat is in open water, it can deploy two active foils from its hull. These underwater foils generate lift just like the wings on an airplane, hoisting the C-8’s hull above the waves for a silky smooth ride that’s more than four times as efficient as a typical hull. 

Anyone who’s been bounced out of their seat knows that horsepower usually isn’t what limits your speed in a boat—rough water is. In the C-8, waves up to 3 feet high might as well not exist.  

Hydrofoils have been around for ages, but they’ve never been a mainstream feature on consumer boats—partly because they’re inherently unstable. Candela pairs active foils in the back half of the vessel with active radar in the bow to detect and account for waves before they make contact. 

A computer called the Flight Controller uses input from the C-8’s GPS, gyroscope, and accelerometer to manage the boat’s roll, pitch, and height at a rate of 500 times per second. This system allows the C-8 to lean into turns just like an airplane or conventional boat. For passengers, that means you feel pressure pushing you down into your seat rather than sliding off it. In other words, Candela has created a seaworthy magic carpet. 

You can order the C-8 with an open top, T-top, hardtop, two-deck configurations, and limited color options. Candela just announced a collaboration with Swedish EV manufacturer Polestar to offer the C-8 Polestar Edition, trimmed with even more iconic Scandinavian style.

As with any EV, the biggest obstacle to ownership is charging availability. It’s safe to say that anyone who has $400,000 to drop on a recreational boat can afford to install a charger at their home, but keeping the battery topped off is going to be more challenging than finding gas or diesel on the water for quite some time. Fast charging helps, and the Candela C-8 recently set a world record for miles traveled by an electric boat (483) in 24 hours. 

Conventional boats aren’t going away anytime soon. Candela is showing us what the future could hold, though, and this technology is going to reshape the way boat makers think about speedboats, pleasurecraft, and commercial vessels. 

If the C-8 is any indicator, we have smooth sailing ahead of us. 

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