Transferring technology and expertise from the road to the water, BMW is the driving force behind The Icon, the world’s first maritime luxury electric vehicle. It’s a visionary new concept — a new kind of pleasure craft that progressively blends the ideals of luxury and sustainable mobility. Electrified entirely by BMW batteries, it takes 10-12 seconds from startup to hovering about one meter above the water. Two propellers on the rear foil provide propulsion.
Walls of glass create sweeping vistas from the V-shaped interior space. Decked out with sofa seating, it gives the boat the appearance of a penthouse living room. “The Icon has a wealth of groundbreaking innovations on board that are suitable for anchoring climate-friendly mobility in the high-end segment,” says Dr. Christoph Ballin, the longstanding CEO of electric mobility pioneer Torqeedo. He, world-leading boat builder TYDE, and BMW partner Tobias Hoffritz of Second Sphere were instrumental in making BMW’s electric mobility on the water fit for everyday use. “The yacht is available as a series product, and the technology platform developed means the model range can easily be expanded.”
Thinking outside the box is nothing new for BMW (we’re looking at you, Neue Klasse and BMW i7 M70, leading the electric car charge with increased mileage range). “We have developed a new design approach for a watercraft that is not exposed to waves, but flies over the water with the help of foils,” said Tom Allemeier, Director of Design and Designworks. A stabilizing fin and two wings act like underwater wings, allowing the watercraft to hover over the water.
The architecture is supported by what is know as a center spline, a strut that extends centrally from the stern over the roof to the bow. “A ceiling-high panorama window forms the outer facade,” Allemeier adds. “This makes the view across the deck seem endless, merging with the water and the horizon.”
As Peter Dengler, head of The Icon project, points out, technical innovation was required in all segments: “Mobility on water is nearly ten times more energy-intensive than mobility on land.” To date, The Icon the closest comparable water vessel yet to luxury electric cars like the BMW i7 M70.
Based in Los Angeles, Vicki Arkoff is Editor at Large for Pursuitist and a founding editor for Holiday Goddess, the online destination for chic women travelers from the editors of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Conde Nast Traveler, and BBC. Her travel and lifestyle reports can also be been seen in Atlas Obscura, The Awesomer, DaySpa, The Chicago Tribune, CNN Travel, JustLuxe, Lonely Planet, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Toronto Star, WellSpa 360, WestJet Magazine, Where Traveler, Where Guestbook, Yahoo News, and dozens more. She's co-author of the bestselling Holiday Goddess books (HarperCollins and iTunes) including 'The Holiday Goddess Guide to Paris, London, New York, Rome,' a travel Top 10 staple. As editor, Vicki's other books include 'Sinatra' (DK), 'Inside Mad' (Time-Life) and 'Virgin Los Angeles' (Virgin Books). She is one of the Usual Gang of Idiots for MAD Magazine, an entertainment reporter (Daily Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, CREEM), and authorized biographer for pop culture icons from the Beach Boys to Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney to MC Hammer.