Swedish shipping company X Shore establishes logistics base in Sarasota
You may have seen a 26-foot, olive-colored minimalist boat sailing the waters of Sarasota Bay. Or maybe you saw it at full speed, 35 knots, which equates to around 40 mph.
X Shore – nicknamed “the Tesla of the sea” – made its debut in Sarasota.
Swedish entrepreneur Konrad Bergström deposited and founded X Shore in the world in 1996. In 2012 he started working on the manufacture of an electric boat, eventually finishing the first working prototype in 2016. After reconfigurations, the company launched Eelex 8000 in September 2020 and has turned heads ever since.
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The company is still quite small, with less than 60 full-time employees and only four employees in the United States. All manufacturing is still done in Stockholm, with a new factory just south of its original location in Sweden to increase productivity.
Last year, X Shore made just over 70 boats, but is expected to produce 400 once the new factory opens. The new plant will create between 150 and 250 jobs. Currently, most of the employees in Sweden are engineers.
X Shore is also looking to expand into parts of the United States for manufacturing, but the company has yet to decide where. If the company opens manufacturing in Sarasota, where its logistics are based, it expects about 200 new jobs to be created here as well.
Sarasota has a close relationship with boat manufacturing. Companies like Yellowfin, Genmar Holdings, Chris-Craft Corp. and Wellcraft all have roots here whether or not those companies have remained. With logistics from X Shore based in the region, this could help revive the local boat building industry.
“In terms of software, our company is special,” said software engineer Philip Ericsson. “The majority of our employees are engineers, software, electricians, and mechanics, and we build everything ourselves. We do all the coding.”
“A sustainable model”
The boat comes with a 25 inch touchscreen powered by Garmin with software designed by engineers at X Shore. Engineers have also created a Garmin MARQ smartwatch and mobile app that allows boaters to have a remote boat key on their wrist. It also acts as a man overboard warning system.
The app works as a remote control and assistant that continuously processes and reports incoming data such as boat speed, state of charge, available range, etc. The system has live updates to keep the functionality of the boat up to date.
Similar to Tesla cars, the Eelex 8000 will benefit from another high-tech over-the-air software update – auto docking.
X Shore prides itself on its products on three pillars: sustainability, design and technology.
“Sustainability hasn’t been a conversation in the boating industry,” said Will Greene, director of US operations for X Shore. “Historically, you know it’s not a really clean industry. So what we’re focusing on is a sustainable model for both the manufacturer and the end-user experience.”
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Like the auto industry, boating is moving towards more sustainable options.
Most boats have gasoline engines which produce carbon monoxide. When carbon monoxide is emitted into the atmosphere, it impacts the amount of greenhouse gases, which may be linked to climate change and global warming.
Boats can also leak fuel into the water, which can cause a series of problems such as increased concentrations of pollutants in aquatic organisms and sediments, increased erosion rates, and increased nutrients, resulting in increased algae – or red tide.
X Shore’s all-electric boat cuts fuel completely with its two 60kWh lithium-ion batteries, making it essentially silent when in operation. If you use direct current to direct current, the batteries can be fully charged in two and a half hours.
Cutting fuel also saves money. Another pleasure craft of its size would cost on average at least $ 500 to refuel. According to X Shore, his boat only uses $ 10 to $ 20 of electricity each time to fully power the boat at a domestic dock.
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“Minimize the impact on the environment”
X Shore’s model of sustainability isn’t just about how we feed it. The materials used in the construction of the boat are also durable.
Recreational boats typically use aluminum or fiberglass reinforced with wood and other materials. The Eelex 8000 bridge is made of cork, a durable and low-maintenance material.
“The cool thing about cork is that it doesn’t rot,” Greene said. “It doesn’t mold. It’s not slippery like a fiberglass deck would be. Plus, it doesn’t have the same type of maintenance that a teak deck might have.”
This type of luxury boat comes at a price, however. The Eelex 8000 starts at $ 329,000 – and that’s just for an empty ship. Seats or a table? It is in addition. But, that’s what X Shore is aiming for: a customizable vessel tailored to the specific desires and needs of the user.
This quiet, fuel-free, 100% electric boat is proof that Tesla’s clean, energy-efficient practice can be transferred to waterboats, which is especially important in areas like Sarasota.
“We are really proud of the design,” said Greene. “It’s a pretty amazing boat. There’s really no noise, so we’re just trying to minimize the impact on the environment.”