We met with Lanéva Boats, a leader in the electric boat industry. Founded three years ago in Monaco, the start-up is currently launching a 100% electric dayboat, designed entirely out of sustainable material.

On 26 April 2019, Lanéva Boats unveiled its first smart boat at Monaco’s Yacht Club, in the presence of Prince Albert. Since then, Monaco’s first 100% electric boat has been the talk of the town and has been viewed or tried  “about 300 times,” says founder and CEO of Lanéva Boats, François Richard. Even in 2020, the future is still optimistic: the start-up took the Covid-19 market slump as an occasion to work on its golden child.  Both the boat’s power and its battery duration have been improved.

Saying that we are a Monegasque company makes quite the impression in the yachting industry”

François Richard

7,90 meters in length and 2,5 meters in width, Lanéva’s dayboat can welcome up to eight people. Thanks to two axial flux engines and a battery pack, the boat can reach 30 knots and travel up to 45 nautical miles without being charged. On a powerful plug, the batteries reach a full charge in 3h30.

“Finding a balance between performance and sustainability, that’s our DNA in a nutshell. It’s not just about being fully electric, we want to go beyond,” says François Richard. You will only find natural materials in Lanéva’s dayboat: linen and cork, but also bio-based wood and top-of-the-range leather which is 100% recyclable.  The company’s eco-friendliness even earned Lanéva Boats the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label.

From individual clients to the hotel industry

Before Coronavirus, Lanéva Boats sold to individual clients, but also to the hotel industry. Of course, the pandemic had its say in the matter. “Before lockdown, a hotel had asked us to build a 12-meter long version of the boat, but plans were halted by Covid-19. Things are complicated, we’ve been told that investments are currently frozen,” explains François Richard.

Since then, the start-up has focused exclusively on its individual customers. “We’re very popular in Switzerland, in Italy and in Germany because clients are much more attentive to sustainability and to electric mobility,” explains Mr. Richard.  Lanéva also plans to enter the yachting industry. The start-up wants to market the boat as a yacht tender. “The dayboat can be plugged to the yacht to be charged and can also be used in diesel-free areas,” he explains.

Adapting, that’s the key word

Like any other business, Lanéva Boats was not spared by Coronavirus shockwaces. The first setback came with pandemic-related event cancellations. No boat shows means less visibility for the start-up, and fewer clients. Many uncertainties lie ahead, but François Richard doesn’t lose hope. “We already have a list of potential partners. We will find ways of adapting and target inner-circles to find new customers,” he says.

The Brittany-native is a man of unfaltering optimism. “We’ll see what happens during the next few months, but I’ve noticed that since the beginning of the pandemic, people have become more in tune with sustainable technologies,” he says. And when we mention the future of eco-yachting, his optimism remains the same. He insists that yachting company are changing their mindset.  “Sustainability is now the term on everyone’s lips,” he says.

Has the time come for a sustainable yachting industry?

Even if businesses are working on developing more sustainable propulsion systems (hydrogen-based, hybrid…), it is difficult at the moment to imagine fully electric yachts and super-yachts. The limit is both technical and financial. “The yacht tender is a door into the industry. A client can own a normal yacht as well as a sustainable tender boat,” explains François Richard. Who knows, Lanéva Boats might well be a trendsetter.