Michael Frauscher describes the new, all-electric sports boat his company has developed with German carmaker Porsche as: “Not only the best electric boat, but simply the best boat I’ve ever driven.”
You can forgive his gushing enthusiasm. After all, the Austrian-based Frauscher Shipyards he co-owns with his brother Stefan has been handed the same state-of-the-art, electric-drive technology that Porsche will use in its crucially important Mecan EV due next year on a plate.
The electric powertrain will be the headline feature in the new Frauscher x Porsche 850 Fantom Air. While the name is a mouthful, the boat is a sleek, 28-foot, center-console that will have its global debut at next January’s international boat show in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Frauscher has already announced an initial “first edition” run of 25 examples, with pricing from €561,700 ($610, 000) and production at Frauscher’s Ohlsdorf factory in Austria, starting in early 2024.
“We feel very proud to work with the Porsche team as we recognize that this is one of the most experienced companies developing electric technologies. It means we’re now able to build the electric boat of our dreams,” said Frauscher.
The new boat is based on Frauscher’s existing 858 Fantom Air cruiser, typically powered by either a 350 hp or 430 hp Mercury MerCruiser gas V-8 coupled to a sterndrive.
The new eFantom trades V-8 power for the Macan’s 400 kW/544 hp electric motor, juiced by a 100 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted low in the center of the boat. The rear-positioned electric motor connects to the original sterndrive via a short shaft.
Frauscher says the Fantom’s original fiberglass hull had to be extensively modified to accommodate the battery pack, which now sits where the fuel tank would normally go. All the electric system controls are housed in a waterproof box beneath the sunpad, with the Porsche logo prominently displayed.
With the batteries fully charged, the new electric Fantom has a top speed governed to 53 mph, with 25 mph being the sweet spot. At this speed owners should get roughly 28 miles, or an hour of running, on a charge.
While that doesn’t sound too impressive, Frauscher reckons that with a mix of fast and slow travel, two-to-three hours of running would be possible. That’s actually a typical day on the water for most boats.
Courtesy of the Mecan’s 800-volt architecture, the battery pack can take 250 kW of current at a DC fast-charging station. That would take the battery from 10 to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Charging using a conventional AC socket would take considerably longer.
The automaker wanted to add a few design flourishes of its own to the boat. Its in-house boutique design office, Studio F.A. Porsche, came up with a unique instrument panel that include five 911-style hooded gages and modified a Porsche-badged Mecan steering wheel for more salty conditions.
The high-back seats feature embossed Porsche logos in the backrest, while there’s prominent Frauscher x Porsche badging on the hull sides near the stern. Naturally, you can have the boat painted and upholstered in any color the carmaker offers.
Porsche approached the shipyard in October 2021. “They were looking for a suitable boat builder that could work with them to take Porsche technology from the road to the water,” says Frauscher. “At the time we were looking for first-class technology to increase the performance of our electric boats. So, everything just fell in place.”
Michael Frauscher points out that electric power is nothing new for his family’s shipyard, which has been building battery-powered boats since 1955. It currently offers a line-up of five electric models ranging from 20 to 24 feet.
Frauscher’s plans include sales of the new eFantom in the U.S., though according to Miguel Maraña, vice president of sales at Miami-based Frauscher America, the first boats likely won’t arrive until 2025.
“People not only like the idea of a quiet, refined, zero-emission yet fast electric boat, they also like the idea of owning a Porsche boat,” says Maraña. “They want it to go with their 911, or maybe an electric Macan when it becomes available.”
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