While electricity is gaining ground in the automotive industry and has established itself as a replacement for the combustion engine, plug-in technology has yet to establish itself on the high seas. As in the early days of electric cars, the lack of charging infrastructure and the comparatively low cruising speeds required to conserve energy have slowed the uptake of electric boats – not to mention range anxiety, which takes on a whole new meaning when you’re out at sea with an empty battery and 50 nautical miles (57 miles) from the nearest charging station.

But despite the slow start, the tide is turning. The smooth and almost silent electric drives that are increasingly being used in motorboats are opening up a new, cleaner dimension to life on the water. With the entry of electric car manufacturers such as Polestar, Swedish electric boat manufacturer Candela and brand new companies coming to the fore, there are a variety of options to consider when thinking about a new boat.

X Shore 1

X Shore 1, from €99,000 © X Shore

With a competitive price starting at €99,000, the X Shore 1 is one of the most affordable options in the world of electric boats. “We need to make electric boats competitive with fossil fuel boats to accelerate the transition,” says Jenny Keisu, CEO of X Shore. Founded in 2016, the Scandinavian company hopes to attract a new generation of boat owners by offering fossil fuel-free boats at an affordable price.

The X Shore 1 has a modern, minimalist hull design and is powered by a 125 kW electric drive that takes the boat to a top speed of 30 knots (34 mph) and a cruising speed of 20 knots (23 mph). The range is 50 nautical miles (57 miles), albeit at low speeds, and the boat can be recharged from 20 to 80 percent in 90 minutes when connected to a 22 kW charger, or in just 50 minutes with a fast 45 kW charger. With a length of 6.5 meters, the X Shore 1 weighs less than two tons in open or closed configuration.

Candela C-8

Candela C-8, €330,000

The innovative Swedish boat builder Candela sets itself apart from the competition with its foiling boats that “fly” over the water and aims to prove that electric boats can be both fast and fun. The C-8, which will be launched in 2022, has been powered by a 69 kWh battery from Swedish electric transportation specialist Polestar since the beginning of this year.

With a length of 8.5 m and a price tag of €330,000, the C-8 achieves a top speed of 30 knots (34 mph) and a range of 57 nautical miles (65 miles), earning it the title of the electric boat with the longest range on the market. And thanks to the reduced water friction when foiling, the C-8 consumes 80 percent less energy than conventional boats of the same size. With room for two adults and two children, the C-8 is a family-friendly cruiser and the first boat to offer DC charging – just like Polestar’s popular Model 2. It’s available as an open top, T-top or hardtop cruiser. A limited “Polestar Edition” in Polestar’s characteristic light gray, with upholstery inspired by car seats and gold-colored wings (from €400,000) has just been released.

Say Carbon Yachts 29 E

Say Carbon Yachts 29 E, $520,000

The electric version of the 29 from German boat builder Say Carbon, known for lightweight, ultra-fast sports boats, puts speed and style at the forefront. Made from carbon fiber, the 29 E is powered by a 360 kW gyro electric motor and a 126 kWh battery and weighs just 1.38 tons.

Despite a slow start, the tide is turning for electric boats

The self-proclaimed fastest electric boat in the world under 33 feet with a top speed of 45 knots (52 mph) does come at the expense of range in favor of speed, but the 29 E has a range of 25 nautical miles (29 miles) at 22 knots (25 mph). With a price tag of $520,000, the 29 is far from the most cost-effective or economical way to get around on the water, but it will appeal to those who want to push the limits of performance.

Boesch 750 Portofino De Luxe

Boesch 750 Portofino De Luxe, from €480,000

With an esthetic that is in no way inferior to the timeless elegance of a Riva, the Swiss manufacturer Boesch, founded in 1910, – still produces its boats exclusively from wood in a lightweight mahogany laminate construction. As a reminiscence of the golden age of travel, the 750 Portofino has a spacious sun lounger in the stern, a retractable soft top and a windshield reminiscent of a car.

Apart from the two 50 kW Pictronic engines, which provide a top speed of 24 knots (28 mph) and a range of 14 nautical miles (16 miles), the Boesch is built much like an internal combustion engine boat, with a traditional mid-engine, straight shaft propeller and rudder steering. With a length of 7.5 m, the 750 can be used on lakes as well as on the sea and is also well suited as a ski boat thanks to its flat trim angle. With prices starting at € 480,000, the elegance of the Portofino has its price, especially when you consider its short range and running time.

Alfastreet Marine 28 Cabin

Alfastreet Marine 28 Cabin, from €165,900

Slovenian boat builder Alfastreet Marine offers its 28 Cabin as an all-electric cruise boat (from €165,900) alongside petrol and diesel-powered versions. The boat is best suited to slow river cruising and can reach a top speed of eight knots (9 mph) for around 10 hours or 50 nautical miles (57 miles) with one or two 10 kW pod-driven electric motors.

The 28 has a wider hull that stays firmly in the water instead of being raised on hydrofoils. This leaves more space in the forward area for a king-size bed and a small bathroom, which sets the 28 apart from many other day boats as it can also accommodate a couple on board overnight.

Upstairs there is seating for 12 people with a lunch table and benches. The highlight of the 28 is the hydraulic lifting roof, which allows it to be sealed against the elements at the touch of a button, eliminating the need for rain protection at the end of a day on the water.