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This electric ferry could open up new ways to travel

Candela has a new electric commuter boat

It's like the boat is hovering over the water. PHOTO FROM CANDELA

Metro Manila has a traffic problem. We all know that by now, even if some of us still don’t want to accept it. Building even more roads won’t help, but what if we could expand the public-transport offering to include waterways more?

While there are some ferries sailing up and down the Pasig River already, none of them do so with any meaningful haste because conventional fast ferries create large bow waves, making them unsuitable for use in confined waterways.

But what if there was a high-speed ferry that almost floats above the water? And what if it was also fully electric, and thereby environmentally friendly? Well, here it is.

The hydrofoil below creates lift similar to an airplane. IMAGES FROM CANDELA

Meet the Candela P-12 Shuttle, a fully electric hydrofoil from Sweden that aims to reinvent the way people commute. A hydrofoil is a boat with winglike foils mounted under the hull.

As the craft increases its speed, the hydrofoils lift it out of the water and reduce drag, which in turn increases possible speeds and almost eliminates bow waves.

The idea is nothing new, but creating a fully electric one like this isat least according to Candela, the company behind it.

There's even space inside for wheelchairs and bicycles. PHOTOS FROM CANDELA

The P-12 is the latest model by the firm, and its biggest one, too. In basic shuttle layout, it can accommodate up to 30 passengers and ferry them between 40 to 50 nautical miles at speeds of up to 25 knots (46km/h).

In theory, that means you could travel from Fort Santiago to the Guadalupe ferry terminal in just 20 minutes. Granted, it’s a big theory, but it’s good to dream.

Luckily, the inventors behind the P-12 are past the dreaming stage already, and are putting their machine to the test during a yearlong trial in Stockholm next year.

Imagine going island-hopping on this electric ferry. PHOTOS FROM CANDELA

Commuters will then be able to enjoy smooth sailings that require a mere 44kW of power, which is claimed to be 85% less energy than a conventional boat would need.

Booking in at €1,700,000 (P101,400,000), the P-12 isn’t exactly cheap, but the low running costs might still make it economically viable. Candela claims its sleek shuttle is 81% cheaper to run than a comparable diesel ferry, which might make it an interesting proposition for operators.

Around our shores, it might also be worth looking into for more than just Metro Manila. After all, the Philippines is comprised of over 7,000 islands, and connecting them with clean and fast electric ferries sounds like a great idea.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.