The zero emissions boatbuilder looks to use the fresh round of funding to continue construction of the first hulls of its ZEN50 solar electric catamaran, of which additional preorders have now been secured.
Solar electric catamaran manufacturer ZEN Yachts has announced the closing of a Series A funding round totalling €5.5M ($5.86M). The sole investor in the round was Ocean Zero, LLC, who invest specifically in young companies working to decarbonize transportation across the planet’s oceans, rivers, and seas.
Ocean Zero’s operating partner is former Washington Post Magazine editor-in-chief Stephen Petranek. He is supported by managing partner Chris Anderson, curator of the TED conferences and the TED Countdown Initiative. Petranek spoke to the fund’s investment in ZEN’s electric yacht technology:
"Ocean Zero seeks visionaries who have a realistic shot at making a significant leap in scale and impact to change the overall emissions of CO2 and other pollutants incurred by sea shipping, ferries and recreational boats. Decarbonizing sea transport and recreational boating no longer requires a leap in imaginative engineering and science. It’s possible right now. And time is running out. Boats produce more atmospheric CO2 each year than all the airlines in the world. This is a massive problem that has solutions that can be adopted immediately. We need innovative companies like Zen Yachts to lead us into the new world of boat electrification."
The ZEN Yachts name stands for “Zero Emission Nautic Ltd. – an ocean-conscious boatbuilder founded as recently as 2021 that is headquartered in Spain. To help propel the popularity of zero-emission yachts and maximize their performance, the company has combined both wind sailing with electric propulsion.
Its voyage into the marine market begins with the ZEN50, a 50+ foot solar electric catamaran currently being built near Barcelona. The 12-passenger electric yacht features 2 x 50kW brushless DC motors, powered by a 160 kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack.
The main pack is supported by an entire rooftop of solar panels, offering a peak power of 17 kW, allowing the ZEN50 to cruise at 4.5-5 knots using the power of the sun alone or cruise at 7-9 knots using the electric motor and wingsail combined with the capability to reach a max speed of 14 knots. The Oceanswings wingsail comes from AYRO, making the ZEN yacht the first series production leisure craft to feature this fully-automated wingsail technology.
During the announcement, ZEN Yachts shared that it has garnered three additional pre-orders, meaning its first four solar electric catamaran reservations are spoken for. Looking ahead, ZEN Yachts intends to officially debut during the International Multihull Show at La Grande Motte in France in mid-April.