Jenny Keisu joined the electric boating company three years ago. Since then, she’s seen the organisation grow to 130 full-time employees — ”I’ve hired every single one of them” — plus consultants. And, ever since joining, X Shore has been working on the new, smaller model, X Shore 1.
— We’ve finally got to a position where we can reveal the vision from day 1, she explained after unveiling the new vessel during a live-streamed event in Stockholm. If you want to have zero-emission boating, you need to be able to offer the public an alternative to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) boats. Not just a much more expensive and premium version but something that is on par, that is as desirable, as powerful, as good, and with a better interface. And, of course, it needs to be at the same price. We’ve been working for three years on this.
X Shore 1 comes with smart technology and a clean design and starts at €99,000 (excl. VAT). It will be produced in the X Shore Industries 1 factory in Nyköping, Sweden, an hour and a half south of Stockholm.
— As far as we know it, it’s the most modern and sustainable boat factory. We’re building boats on an assembly line which is partly automated, so much more similar to how you build cars or trucks than how you build boats. When the factory is fully up to scale, we can produce a boat every third hour. We’re currently around just over two boats per week and next year, we’ll do two boats per day, so we’re ramping up super fast. We also manufacture clean without harming the environment and now moving to zero emission also in the supply chain, which is our big focus at the moment.
The car industry has transformed over the last few years. What does it take for the boating industry to do the same?
— If we look at the car industry, electrification has been ongoing there for ten years while we’re just in the beginning in the boating industry. However, we do have a few upsides. When the first cars got out, the infrastructure was very tricky. For instance, you didn’t have chargers all over the place. But when it comes to the water, we have electricity basically everywhere, in all the marinas and all the docks. They started electrifying ferries already back in the 70s so there is a lot of infrastructure already made in place which helps us a lot. And also, if you’ve already bought an electric car, you’ve already made the move to electric, so I think there is a situation where it might happen quicker for the boating industry. And we also have several regulations coming around the world since a leisure boat is emitting around four times as much CO2 as a car. And people ’need’ a car, people don’t necessarily need to be out waterskiing — that’s not a human right, says Keisu. She continues:
— You have very few large car brands. If you look at the boats, there are thousands of different boat brands and it’s quite often smaller family-owned businesses. If you have a large-scale factory — which you need to get down in price — you also need volumes to get to a price point which is affordable. And you need to create a boat that is viable in several different markets, which we have done now.
Your new factory can enable this new, cheaper boat — when you increase the volumes and produce more boats, you can lower the price point.
— Yes, this boat is priced at par with normal ICE boats and one of the main keys to getting to this affordable price is the economy to be able to scale, both in production and in the supply chain, to get better prices. We have a huge upside when it comes to efficiency in the factory, which will make us 400% more efficient only next year. But also, one of the main points to how we can get down in price is that this boat has the same performance as our latest ones but because it’s shorter and optimized in its design, we only need to have one battery to reach the same performance rather than two. And that is a huge cost and the biggest footprint in a boat, so that is a huge upside.
— Another upside is that the boat is now fully connected, making it very easy to co-own. You, as an owner, can always see where it is, whether it’s charged or not and you can use your smartwatch, iPhone, or whatever as a key. If we are to get to a situation where we have a planet that we can share, we need to reduce the materials that we are using and hence you should co-own boats, not having one that you’re using for two weeks on your vacation or only on your weekends. You can be several families or friends owning that boat together and co-share it, and then the price gets down even further if you’re splitting the ownership with friends.
I can assume that you’re fully focused on this launch, but can you share what else you have coming?
— We started by showing the Eelex 8000 which is absolutely as good or better than any other with a traditional combustion engine and has also been nominated for the Best European Power Boat of the Year. The next milestone was to get to an affordable boat that could compete with normalized e-boats. We have that here. The next focus is to launch a net zero boat by 2030, Keisu explains.
Very exciting. Tell us more!
— Yes, that is an ambitious target. We have products that are very sustainable but there is still some material on the boat, such as carbon fibre and parts of the batteries, that are not yet net zero. So, we are working with our suppliers to get to that. Some materials aren’t even out there, so we are partnering up with external companies, often Swedish ones, to get more sustainable materials. And we have a really good situation with our factory because that was built from the start to be net zero. And then we’re going for Scope 3 in the supply chain. Scope 1 and 2 are us and everything we do, and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Scope 3 is the real thing when we go after our suppliers, because if our boats should be net zero, then everything going into the boat should also be net zero. That is a huge and pretty ambitious target that we’re going for — and we need lots of help from lots of companies to get there.