solar-boat-woodenAs Canadian-based Bear Mountain Boat Shop proved recently, solar energy can be used for more than just cars.

Owner Ted Moores worked together with designers Steve and Jonathan Killing in order to create one of the first solar-based, low-emission recreational cruisers in the world.

The boat (affectionately named “Sparks”) is a 30-foot long hybrid electric cruiser designed in a stylistically vintage manner.

Luxurious eco-cruiser
According to the Bear Mountain website: “This low impact, eco-friendly cruiser will accommodate a couple in simple-yet-luxurious comfort and safety during an inland voyage of several weeks.”

The cruiser’s design includes a specific hull shape that optimizes it for low speed, recreational boating. The hybrid electric/diesel/solar propulsion system was designed specifically for Sparks, and, according to the website: “It will provide multiple power options in an efficient, integrated system to drive the boat with an electric motor directly connected to the drive shaft.”

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Sparks is capable of reaching up to three knots on sustainable solar speed alone, though it can reach up to six knots if using battery and solar together.

Multiple power options
Boaters can switch between power options mid-cruise through a digital user interface at the boat’s controls. As Bear Mountain describes it, “for purely solar boating, the operator can match the motor power to the solar input and maintain the battery state-of-charge.”

Sparks’ eight solar modules charge the boat’s battery during any sunny weather, and the diesel generator can be used to create power whenever it is needed otherwise.

Overall, Sparks creates a fusion between modern technology and retro aesthetics. As Bear Mountain states, “it brings to mind an era when taking a journey was as enjoyable as arriving at the destination.”

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