Aug. 12 - A new hybrid-powered cruiser is turning heads as the world of luxury watercraft follows the automotive industry's lead in offering customers the opportunity to go green. The Greenline 40 uses a panel of solar powered batteries that can run the electric motor up to 20 nautical miles fuel free. Rob Muir reports.
Boat builders are following in the wake of the auto industry. Hybrid vessels like the Greenline 40, a highlight of this year's Sydney International Boat show, are becoming increasingly popular as well-heeled consumers seek out luxury at lower cost. The Greenline 40 runs on electricity provided by solar-powered batteries, and a conventional deisel powerered engine as backup. Brand manager Mark Andrews says the boat is designed for savvy buyers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRAND MANAGER OF GREENLINE, MARK ANDREWS SAYING:"If you look at the car industry you'll see more and more hybrid cars on the market. We believe at Greenline that that's exactly what's going to happen with cruisers. The price of fuel and diesel, particularly on the water is going up and up, and most people now see the main cost of buying a boat and running a boat is the fuel, with our hybrid cruisers that alleviates one of those problems." The vessel's roof-mounted solar panels keep the electric motor running at a speed of up to six knots over 20 nautical miles. A boost from the deisel engine takes it to 20 knots. The boat's hull is designed for hydrodynamic efficiency allowing for further fuel savings. Greenline is also trying to attract buyers with what it believes is a a more restfull cruising experience. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRAND MANAGER OF GREENLINE, MARK ANDREWS SAYING:"Being on the Greeline Cruisers under electric power is similar to being on a yacht. You don't hear any engine noise of course and all you can hear is the sound of water going past the hull." Sydney businessman, John Fleming was impressed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN FLEMING SAYING:"We went for a run on a 33, a demo run and just loved the boat, it's a lovely boat. It's finished properly, it's got the right appointments, ample power, comfortable. And, the 40 now we are looking at a 40 footer instead of a 33-footer, it's just more of all that. There's heaps of room, nicely finished, just a nice boat." A nice boat with aprice to match. The Greenline Hybrid 40 starts at around 500, 000 dollars.