That’s what two Dutch marine engineers have created in the form of the Czeers MK1 speedboat that runs solely on quiet, oil-free solar energy. The MK1 is the brainchild of Nils Beers and David Czap – two engineering students who blended their names and their talents to create the fastest environmentally sound speedboat on earth. One night at a local pub, the two began discussing the possibilities of a powerboat that was earth friendly. Scribbling furiously, the first rough sketch of the MK1 actually appeared on the back of a beer coaster. About one year later, in December 2007, the MK1 was unveiled at the 2008 Millionaire Fair in Moscow.
The vessel is as sleek as it is environmentally sound. Modeled after a Formula One racing car, the MK1 is 10-meters long, boasts a jet black carbon-fiber finish, offers 14 square meters of deck-mounted solar panels that propel an 80 kilowatt engine, and can zip along the water at speeds up to 55 kilometers per hour (about 30 knots). The Dutch duo didn’t scrimp on luxuries, either – the MK1 has a luxuriously-appointed leather interior designed by the same specialists that creates leather furnishings for the Dutch Royal family and an LCD touch-screen control panel that makes operating the boat as easy as punching up a pizza delivery on an iPhone.
With no oil and, consequently, no engine noise, the MK1 operates with the slice and power of a great white shark. Even better, the vessel recharges itself when you’re not using it – a big selling point to affluent boat enthusiasts who don’t want a high maintenance sea craft.
Although no self-described environmentalist, Beers says a green speedboat is simply an idea whose time has come. “I was given a BMW 760 to drive on the days preceding the Millionaire Fair,” he says. “That’s hardly a green car, but once you’re used to a fantastic car like that, you won’t go looking for a Toyota Prius.”
At $1.1 million per boat ($700,000 in euros), Beers and Czap realize that their desired demographic won’t be in their native Holland – not a exactly a hot-bed of speed boating. “Statistically speaking, there are only four private buyers for this boat in the whole of Holland,” says Beers. The pair are more bullish on finding wealthy buyers in warmer climes, like on the sun-drenched French Riviera and, ironically, among affluent, oil-rich buyers in the Middle East. The pair will make only between four to eight boars per year, Beers says.
So far, so good. “The boat is simply beautiful,” says one MK1 fan on an Internet speed-boating thread focusing on the MK1. “I love how they’ve replaced the timber decking with solar panels and the chromed trim for carbon fiber. Very well executed, Dutchies.”
If Beers and Czap can sell their full allotment of eight MK1’s annually, and word gets out in the eco-affluent community, then more buyers – and more powerboats – could show the world that engineering and eco-sensitivity can work.
By Brian OConnell