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Volkswagen's EV platform will set sail to help create solar-electric boats

Who would've guessed this kind of cooperation would form in the EV era?

VW/Silent Yacht future vessel
A German carmaker wants to get into the boat business.
Volkswagen

Cars aren't meant for the water, but Volkswagen's electric vehicle platform apparently is. On Tuesday, the German automaker announced cooperation with Silent Yachts, an Austrian company responsible for manufacturing solar-electric catamarans. It already has a handful of catamarans and yachts on sale today that produce zero emissions, but Volkswagen thinks it has a lot to contribute to a project like this.

First and foremost, the automaker said its batteries used with its EV platform, called MEB, come from renewable energy, which further benefits Silent Yachts' carbon footprint. VW also said the MEB platform can provide a number of benefits to a future solar-electric boat in the way of fewer vibrations, greater efficiency and more power for those who want to take to the seas. In a grander scheme, VW says it believes expanding into the industry will help it provide a greater impact on reducing emissions. Exposure and revenue are other obvious benefits.

The German automaker and Austrian yacht builder won't just stick VW's electric powertrain in its vessels. VW said it brought Seat's Cupra subbrand on board to design a new yacht for the company. Sketches show what direction the boat's taking right now with lots of input from the performance-oriented Cupra division. It won't be a sketch for long, though, because the automaker said it plans to put a boat based on this concept in the water next year. Then, it will take four years to develop a production model with plans to build at least 50 of them per year to start. Demand will determine whether Silent Yachts will build more of them. While development occurs, additional VW EV parts will make their way to the Austrian company's vessels.

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