For the past 46 years, BMW’s flagship has always been the 7-Series. Sure, various 8-Series coupes have come and gone, but the big sedan was always the move for big business people on the big go. However, there is a new flagship, and it’s a rather literal one. Say hello to THE ICON, an ultra-luxurious yacht built in collaboration with boat maker Tyde and powered solely by electricity.
Deep within the hull sit six i3 battery packs. Yes, that i3. Connected to a pair of 100 kW motors, the batteries make for a cruising range of 50 nautical miles, or about 62 non-nautical miles, at an operating speed of 24 knots. Top speed is a rather impressive 30 knots (55 km/h), not bad for a combustion-powered craft of this size, let alone an EV. Best of all, it’s not like total battery pack capacity is off the scale. With 240 kWh of energy on-board with a full charge, this thing’s battery pack isn’t worlds larger than the one in a GMC Hummer EV. A green yacht, who’d have thought?
So how does something this big using these battery packs move with this range and pace? The answer is hydrofoils. Instead of pushing its hull through the water, the ICON glides on submersed wings for improved speed and efficiency. Just like how drag is the big enemy of electric cars, drag is also the enemy for electric boats. After all, air and water are both fluids. This is similar in concept to what boatmaker Candela is doing.
The hydrofoil design also leads to great space aboard. BMW was able to keep the hull essentially flat, and offer a cabin width of 4.5 meters at the rear of the vessel. Speaking of size, THE ICON clocks in at just over 43 feet from stem to stern. It’s not exactly a superyacht, but it’s not a dinghy either.
Step inside, and you may notice that this ship features a variant of iDrive. A 32-inch 6K touchscreen display running a version of BMW’s Operating System 8 offers a familiar layout for owners of current BMWs, while the metallic control console certainly looks slick. While we’re on the subject of glass, the whole cabin is enclosed by massive glass panels, offering a truly expansive view out.
As for the rest of the cabin, it looks like an expensive lounge chock-full of cloth furniture, richly-textured carpet, and plenty of metal accents. THE ICON would make for a great Monaco gin palace, especially with the mirrored tables. Plus, it gets a thumping Dolby Atmos sound system, complete with propulsion noises by Hans Zimmer.
It’s also worth noting that THE ICON is truly gorgeous, a prismatic masterpiece with an excellent mixture of swooping and straight lines, blunt surfaces, and thoughtful materials. While the low-poly design trend hasn’t done BMW’s car range many favors, it really works in this more architectural context.
Best of all, BMW says that THE ICON isn’t just a concept. Sure, this one currently serves as a functional showpiece for the Cannes Film Festival, but this is a production-ready watercraft. I bet BMW would have an easy time selling this sort of vehicle. Between brand prestige, hydrofoil tech, and the novelty of electric propulsion, this is a yacht with a difference. I wonder if we’ll see it in the new BMW film?
(Photo credits: BMW)
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That’s one very nice GREENHOUSE. I can’t imagine how hot it would get on sunny day on the lake.
I know that when I think of boats, carpets and plush cloth seats are definitely at the top of my list.
This is the kind of beat Mercedes would normally cover. She hasn’t been around for a few days. I hope she’s OK.
I noticed that. Her last article was about attending the overland expo and doing some actual overlanding this week. I’m assuming she’s attending to that and will have lots of great stories when she returns
I think she’s currently in Hawaii for the Taco release and Highlander press drive.
Looks about as seaworthy as every other BMW I’ve seen.
But if you can afford something like this, have fun puttering around a mile or so from the marina.
On todays episode of BMW would literally do anything other than designing good looking cars….. I can’t imagine how much of a nightmare charging it will be and 50 miles is kind of laughable.
It has no head or galley, do you really want to spend more than 50 miles at a time on it away from a marina?
What a gorgeous colossal potential failure. I didnt see price but i am guess this is a quarter million dollar pontoon boat. Hey 3 I3 batteries are what $120,000? No beds, no cabin just an enclosed gorgeous covered sitting space but no tanning area. And sure when moving it raises the water line but you stop to let the kids swim? Well doggies you are just one fat kid doing a cannonball of flooding the below the water line battery chambers and finding out does sea water on a battery cause fire or an explosion? Either way everyone in the water but on the plus side once it sinks you have enough water to put it out FAILURE!
What’s the warranty on those batteries? – Asking for David Tracy.
I get a laugh out of how something like this is crafted to take you to pretty places with pretty views, yet it still needs a large screen TV. I guess it’s to keep the yute onboard from getting fidgety…
But did they extract them from the donor i3’s with a chainsaw? Everyone should know by now that’s the new industry standard process for removing EV batteries.
Hey a BMW without turn signals
eliminate redundancy > increase range!
Not so much yacht as world’s most expensive pontoon party boat.
And if they shift the batteries to one side, BMW can call it The Poseidon.
A.) needs more M-stripes nautical flags B.) Finally, My BMW can leave me stranded on both land and sea!
In profile, it resembles a hacksaw.
I’m expecting to see one of these tied up to a dock, with Mr Incredible & ElastiGirl slinking out the back while adjusting their outfits…
Erm, excuse me posh boat owning person, can you tell me where the bathroom is?
Anywhere you like – just walk to the edge of the deck
I am sorry i doubt that any of our betters would be caught pooping off the side of a boat. But oh the paparazzi would love it.
George Brett would, he’s relatively well-off
Except that there is no deck.
Couple things to keep in mind; energy storage in batteries is HEAVY compared to gasoline, and boats don’t have brakes; the water itself is a giant brake at al times. Cut throttle and boat stops almost immediately; this is why any electric boat that wants to have even mediocre performance is going to have hydrofoils; get the hull out of the water like you can with a lightweight gas boat, and suddenly it gets a lot more efficient (see: planing hulls). Thing is tho, hydro foils are a pain in the ass for most people, as it requires seriously deep water, and can easily be damaged.
As for this ‘boat’, it’s fucking stupid. No seriously. Imagine being on the water (reflective) on a sunny day, in a glass box (greenhouse). There is a constant yearning to put automotive styled enclosures on boats (glastron scimitar) and people who have no boating experience are always like YAYYYYYy but anyone who’s been around boats is scratching their head and wonder if people enjoy being in a convection oven.
Even boats with glass side windows, like an 80s bayliner capri with it’s automotive greenhouse-profiled side windows, is hot as F on a summer day because it blocks all the wind, and that’s with no roof or sun shade to trap all that heat.
So that means this thing must have air conditioning, which…. if you’ve ever tried to build an off grid system or a bus/rv/van with electric powered AC, oh man are you in for a rude awakening on how much power that requires.
TDLR: Boats have existed long before cars. When there’s a ‘stunning new shape’ on a boat that looks different than most boats you’ve ever seen before, it’s for a reason, and the reason is that it’s most likely a stupid idea.
All for more boat content on here tho! No speed limits, bikinis, boats are more fun than cars for the most part.
Also… 30 knots. lmfao. An aluminum boat with a 30hp outboard would be faster than this turd. If you guys need a boat expert to pick apart boat concepts on this site lmk.
I kept waiting for them to mention solar panels on the roof. Six i3 battery packs can’t possibly be enough, and the roof has plenty of space… Why wouldn’t there be anything up there to charge them?
I have a big hatred/slight fear or boats with roofs that aren’t ferry sized. Add a glass enclosure and you are simply making a glass ocean coffin, so in 50 years divers and tourists can see your skeleton picked clean by all the fishes.
Would the boat need A/C though? Its floating in a giant sink of probably cold water. A heat exchanger would probably do the trick.
Is this for real???
Oh my, my single firing neuron went directly to the gutter on what I would do on this pontoon.
After paying out royalties, will it pay for itself?
On the bright buy it zero down low payments as possible insurance will pay for the boat when it sinks