Volvo Penta's hybrid power system docks in the future

BACK IT UP: Volvo Penta shows off its self-docking system during the Gothenburg stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.
BACK IT UP: Volvo Penta shows off its self-docking system during the Gothenburg stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Penta has revealed plans to extend its ‘Easy Boating’ philosophy to make boating simple, enjoyable and accessible to more people by introducing new technologies.

Volvo Penta has unveiled a hybrid concept for its IPS propulsion system, allowing boats to operate in the low and zero-emissions range of the near future.

It follows Volvo Penta’s testing of its self-docking system during the Gothenburg stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race. In a live demonstration, a 68 foot boat fitted with the self-docking technology managed to manoeuvre into the tightest space between two of the Volvo Ocean Race 65 racing yachts.

The advanced self-docking solution is targeted for launch in 2020. The company has also revealed details of a hybrid-powered Inboard Performance System (IPS) concept. Designed to extend further IPS’s advantage, the hybrid variant will allow boats to operate in the low-and-zero emission zones that are expected to be introduced in the coming years.

The hybrid configuration will also bring additional benefits, including lower noise, vibrations and running costs.

The IPS hybrid system is planned initially for the 8 to 13 Litre engine range – suitable for powering vessels such as ferries, pilot and supply boats, as well as yachts. It uses proven hybrid technology, which Volvo Penta is now adapting and certifying for marine applications, using its extensive boat propulsion experience.

“A hybrid provides a flexible solution, one that maintains the high efficiency offered by the IPS system and adds the ability to run in zero emission environments,” says Niklas Thulin, Volvo Penta’s Director of Electromobility.

“With full torque from the electric motor available instantly, the boat will maintain the responsiveness and controllability that IPS is famous for in electric-only mode, as well as offering the ability to run at 10 to 12 knots.”

A clutch and electric motor are added between the engine and the IPS pod. The electric motor is supported by Li-ion battery packs that can be charged externally using AC or DC chargers; or recharged using the primary diesel engine.

Opening of the clutch allows the boat to run in electric-only mode, and with the clutch closed both diesel and electric power can be used in parallel. In terms of operation, the captain will use the familiar control interfaces of the IPS system, with the addition of new drive modes to choose from.

The modular nature of the battery packs allows customers to tailor the design and performance of both commercial and leisure boats. More battery capacity offers extended electric-only cruising, and – with frequent external charging – the use of smaller diesel engines and lower fuel costs. With the electric motor and batteries maintenance-free – and the diesel engine operating for fewer hours – the cost of servicing should also be lower.

The parallel hybrid IPS is still in in early stages of development, with the system being tested in Gothenburg, with a test boat planned to enter sea trials in early 2020.

The hybrid IPS will be available to commercial customers in 2021, followed by a leisure boat option soon after. Over time the company hopes this system will evolve into more hybrid technologies and all-electric drive variants.

Jack O’Rourke is a contributor to Ocean Media

EPIC JOURNEY: Dr Brazier, seen here leaving Sydney on March 24, has arrived in LA after having raised $16,500 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

EPIC JOURNEY: Dr Brazier, seen here leaving Sydney on March 24, has arrived in LA after having raised $16,500 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Solo sail

Dr Andrew Brazier, 27,  completed a solo voyage from Sydney to Los Angeles, raising $16,500 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Leaving Sydney on March 24, he arrived in America after 85 days on the Pacific Ocean, coinciding with NAIDOC celebrations.

An incredible feat, Andrew battled with a dislocated shoulder and several harsh ocean storms on his solo expedition. “There are many thanks involved in such a journey,” Brazier said after his journey. “But, in particular, thanks to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Your work is heroic.”

Dr Brazier has raised more than $16,500 that will support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which delivers essential resources to more than 250 remote and Indigenous communities in Australia.

In the hunt

Haines Hunter will showcase the latest offering in their R-Series, with the debut of the R700 at Sydney International Boat Show. The versatile R-Series is Haines Hunter’s most popular range. Built on the company’s Performance Deadrise Vee (PDV) hull, and featuring the company’s Structural Safety Matrix (SSM), the R700 is designed to handle whatever conditions comes its way.

The low-profile cabin in the R700 model allows great vision at the helm, without compromising valuable cockpit space, meaning it’s a serious inshore and offshore fishing boats. Also on display for the first time in Sydney will be the Southern Formula 21’ and 24’ on the Watersports Marine stand.