The 5.8m boat is said to be the world’s first 100% electrically-powered production RHIB
The Pulse 58, a 5.8m Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB), was exhibited for the first time during this week’s Boot Düsseldorf. The boat is manufactured by RS Electric Boats, a newly formed division of long-established UK sailing dinghy builder, RS Sailing.
At first glance the Pulse looks like many other conventional medium-sized rigid inflatables, but a closer look reveals a stepped trihedral hull form by UK designer Jo Richards with a fine entry central hull and a unique shrouded swivelling propulsion system on the transom.
Jon Partridge, CEO Commercial for RS Sailing, told IBI: “The Pulse is the only boat of its type on the market with a fully integrated electric drive system in a RHIB. We have designed a boat with an efficient trihedral hull design for the different characteristics of an electric boat, where the weight of the batteries are in the centre of the boat without a heavy outboard motor on the transom.
“The drive system is something completely new. We have two electric motors driving the shrouded propulsion system that is ideal for a rescue boat or other uses where the propeller might be vulnerable in the water. The engine power is 50hp, which with a fully charged battery gives an endurance of two hours at 20 knots, in displacement hull mode of 6 knots the endurance is six to seven hours. The boat is RCD approved to carry 575kg (six people). The Pulse 58 is a utility RHIB which can be used for a variety of tasks such as a rescue boat, passenger boat, sailing coach boat and use in marinas.”
Talking about the project development and sustainability, Partridge said: “We have been researching the market for nearly three years in order to ascertain the best hull form for the boat. The trihedral hull shape gives very good efficiency at displacement speeds and for faster speeds the stepped hull allows the boat to get onto the plane quickly. The trihedral hull allows more space on the forward deck giving the impression of a larger boat.
“Being electric, the boat is very environmentally friendly and safe as there is no inflammable petrol on board. We have also focused on reducing the environmental aspect during manufacture using resin infusion for the mouldings and use of re-cycled materials wherever possible. All of the material used in manufacture, except for the high quality hypalon inflatable collar and some electronic components come from the UK.
“We will be producing a smaller 4.2m version of the Pulse in the near future as well as versions specifically for the superyacht tender market which will have more battery capacity,” added Partridge.
According to RS Electric Boats, the customer price for the Pulse 58 is expected to be just over £70,000 plus tax.
“Our market research has indicated that customers are prepared to pay some 40% more for an electrically powered RHIB than for a conventionally powered RHIB with outboard motor. We are confident on our pricing level,” said Partridge towards the end of the show.
The Pulse range of electric RHIBs is an interesting development for an increasingly environmentally conscious market.