While Johnny Depp was triumphing at the Cannes Film Festival in May, a gentle revolution was taking place on the water at the other end of the movie palace, which is now being repeated for the general public at the Cannes Yachting Festival.
At the Jetée Albert Edouard, where the superyachts are parked, BMW invited international guests to a preview of a special event in spring. Jens Thiemer, Head of Brand at BMW, Holger Hampf, Head of Designworks, and Christoph Ballin, CEO of the newly founded Starnberg boat builder Tyde, presented a completely different world premiere against the backdrop of Cannes: it’s not a movie, but a new generation of boating.
Three partners take off
BMW, Designworks and Tyde have jointly created a product that is intended to take boating to a new, airy level: low-energy, efficient, electric and on foils.
BMW, Designworks and Tyde have jointly created a new concept of boating © Kerstin Zillmer
In his introduction, Jens Thiemer said that BMW wanted to continue electrification on the water and had developed this innovative concept for this purpose. The car manufacturer has been cooperating with Torqeedo since 2017, when the BMWi battery for the first generation of fully electric cars was integrated into the Torqeedo system.
When you say Torqeedo, you quickly think of Christoph Ballin: 18 years ago, he founded the start-up Torqeedo as a pioneer of electric boating on the water. Now Ballin, who left Torqeedo three years ago, wants to consistently take the next step with Tyde and lift the electric boat out of the water with hydrofoils. “Only on foils does an energy-efficient concept have a future on the water,” says Ballin.
“What has long been a reality for racing yachts in sailing has not yet found an equivalent in the motorboat segment over 30 feet, because the displacement consumes too much energy,” he says. As CEO of Tyde, he now wants to close this gap together with BMW and Designworks. He wants to show the boat industry what is possible in terms of sustainability: Icon saves 80 percent energy compared to a conventional model.
Foiling goes better with music
Another icon also made an appearance at the presentation: Hans Zimmer, world-famous film composer, was invited to the event as a special guest. He provides the perfect soundtrack on the Icon. The integrated Dolby Atmos system on board plays the composition written by Zimmer as the boat rises from the water, filling the room.
Hans Zimmer designed the sound to take off © Kerstin Zillmer
And then the time has come. Behind the lighthouse at the harbor entrance, the Icon glides towards the tense crowd. The bow is pointed like an arrow, the extremely flat hull fully glazed, the stern wide, the design futuristic. The supporting strut, which runs from the bow to the open stern like a backbone, gives the ship a sense of lightness. The floor-to-ceiling windows all around make the Icon appear light and permeable.
The icon appears behind the lighthouse at the harbour entrance © Kerstin Zillmer
Maximum speed of 30 knots with the battery-electric drive © BMW
The Icon slides silently into the pits with its rear end © Kerstin Zillmer
It is 13.15 meters long and 4.50 meters wide at the stern. It reaches a top speed of 30 knots on foils with the battery-electric drive. Two 100 kW electric motors from Torqeedo convert 240 kWh of energy, stored in six BMW i3 batteries, into a remarkable range of more than 50 nautical miles.
Luxury is sustainable
The rear of the Icon slides silently into the box, revealing the interior. We enter the glass saloon via the open rear, which conveys a homely feeling with its soft-pile carpet, Alcantara-covered walls and velvety seats. The cool, iridescent turquoise and the reflective surfaces reinforce the feeling of being on the water. The view from the carpeted floor leads directly to the surface of the water.
View of the airy interior © Kerstin Zillmer
Sit at water level © Kerstin Zillmer
A space on the water that opens up the view © BMW
The interior is minimalist. Three armchairs, which can be rotated 360 degrees, and a sofa with a round table are scattered around the room. There is another one near the door, with the helmstand in the center. Nothing more. And no less, because each piece of furniture stands out for its beauty of form. The sensory experience in this space is different from that on pleasure craft. Calmer, clearer, more open and more luxurious. You want to linger, read, chat, have a drink.