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Cheoy Lee Serenity 83 - powered by a series hybrid drive system

May 13, 2010

Capt Richard Thiel, Editor-in-Chief of the Power and Motoryacht, writes about Cheoy Lee Serenity 83 and the future of hybrid power after interviewing Cheoy Lee president Mr B. Y. Lo...



… When Cheoy Lee launches its 83-foot Serenity (above) sometime in the next 12 to 18 months, she'll be powered by a series hybrid drive system the builder developed with the German electrical engineering firm Siemens. (In a series system there is no mechanical connection between the motor and the drive gear.) Its key components are a fully automatic switching system and a battery-genset package with enough capacity to allow a boat to go pretty much anywhere her owner wishes at a reasonable cruising speed. Siemens will provide basically the same switching system (and electric motors) it uses in its hybrid city busses, which will allow gensets to come on and go off line automatically, as required by load and the state of battery charge. Because the boat's gensets will not be mechanically connected to the drive system they can be soft-mounted and enclosed in acoustical enclosures, virtually eliminating sound and vibration. Indeed the entire system should be so quiet, smooth, and automated, only the captain will know whether the boat's running on batteries, gensets, or a combination of the two.

As to the batteries, the key is affordable capacity. Lithium-ion technology provides excellent capacity but at a hefty price. However, Cbeoy Lee president B. Y. Lo told me that he is anticipating a breakthrough in lead-acid battery technology that will soon make it competitive with lithium-ion on a cost-per-kilowatt-stored basis. What makes this so interesting is that Lo intends to offer his automated hybrid system, providing silent running, superior efficiency, low emissions, and range comparable to that achieved by conventional power, while adding no more than 15 percent to the boat's cost-possibly less. If Cheoy Lee can do that-and considering the yard's long experience building complex commercial vessels, there's good reason to believe it can-hybrid drive for boats may very soon be able to not only compete with conventional systems, but actually demonstrate clear superiority over them based on the criteria that matter most to boaters. In short, your next boat just may be a hybrid…

For more information on the topic, please visit or the magazine of January 2010 issue.  

January 2010 issue