We were at Lago di Garda for the presentation of Frauscher’s model powered by the next generation Porsche Macan electric system
The captivating green hues of Lake Lago di Garda and the surrounding mountains are particularly stunning in early autumn when nature’s painter skillfully creates a ‘million’ different shades that shimmer in numerous tiny settlements. The lake’s surface ripples just enough to provide the perfect frame for the sophisticated lines of the Frauscher x Porsche eFantom, whose navigation in this natural spectacle resembles art in motion.
Although based on the successful Frauscher 858 Fantom Air, the eFantom is an entirely different beast featuring an electric powertrain from the future generation Porsche Macan.
Interestingly, this is not Porsche’s first venture onto the water. In 1959, the company introduced a marine engine, the type 729, based on the boxer engine from the Porsche 356. On the other hand, Frauscher’s connection with electric boats began four years earlier in 1955 when they presented their first wooden electric-powered boat.
Several decades later, sustainable mobility entered the world of yachting in the form of the Frauscher x Porsche eFantom, combining performance, comfort, and state-of-the-art technology. It’s true quiet luxury packaged in 8.67 meters of timeless design.
‘eFantom offers everything that Frauscher and Porsche products have always promised: outstanding performance and luxurious experiences, the highest quality, and exclusive design,’ said Detlev von Platen, member of Porsche’s Executive Board, while Michael Frauscher, managing director of Frauscher Shipyard, added, ‘At Frauscher, we’ve always sought cutting-edge technology to enhance the performance of our electric boats, and with this project, we’ve built the electric boat of our dreams.’
The demands placed on the engineers of both companies were quite challenging. The boat’s hull had to be completely reworked to accommodate a 100 kWh battery, which sits in place of the fuel tank. Just as with cars, it was crucial to find the optimal position for the battery to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. The sea presents greater challenges than the road, especially in terms of impact absorption, high temperature variations, humidity, and saltwater.
However, the main difference lies in the fact that an electric boat will operate at much higher power levels than a car for extended periods. Therefore, the cooling system for the powertrain and the battery had to be adapted to these new conditions.
Consequently, the electric motor’s power is limited to 400 kilowatts, but Frauscher and Porsche state in their technical specifications that the driver always has access to 170 kilowatts. Despite all these technical adjustments, the eFantom weighs the same as the version with conventional engines (2800 kilograms), which is the best testament to the technical teams who worked on the boat’s development.
Now, after the technical description, it’s time to step into the cockpit of the Frauscher x Porsche eFantom. A sloping windshield, an instrument panel with five analog gauges dominated by the tachometer, and a button ignition on the left side. You’re right; it all resembles a Porsche on the road. The three-spoke sports leather steering wheel and sports seats inspired by Stuttgart’s sports cars blend perfectly with the teakwood and chrome details. This is a boat designed for enjoying the waves.
We are in the cockpit of the first produced unit, and when you push the button to start, just like with electric cars, nothing happens. There is absolute silence, but the fun begins as soon as you touch the throttle. Unlike internal combustion engines, the electric motor provides you with all available power and torque immediately.
Porsche has also brought various driving modes (docking, range, sport, and sport plus) from their road models to the eFantom, giving you the feeling that this boat is an actor capable of a thousand different roles. While in range mode, you will enjoy elegant cruising, but switching to sport or sport plus using the steering-wheel-mounted rotary switch creates a sense of addiction.
The power and performance become the priority, and the eFantom transforms into a thoroughbred athlete capable of reaching a top speed of 46 knots (limited due to range and battery duration). It’s worth noting that you can change modes during the journey, and the boat and engine will readily respond to any request. What is most fascinating during the ride is the silence. The electric motor produces a sound similar to warp drive, and every acceleration or deceleration happens completely silently.
The hull hugs the water of the lake. The Frauscher x Porsche eFantom is not only stable but also easy to handle. You can perform a 360-degree turn at full speed with a huge smile on your face, and sudden changes in direction won’t throw the boat off balance. You will feel the same confidence when passing through waves. The conditions provided by the ferries sailing on Lake Garda served us well for this test, showing that with the eFantom, you’re almost unaware of the sea conditions or, in this case, the lake.
We couldn’t verify the range, but according to Frauscher and Porsche’s data, at the optimal cruising speed of 22 knots, you can cover a distance of approximately 28 nautical miles. According to factory measurements, in a mix that includes slow cruising, regular cruising, and fast cruising, you’ll need to recharge after 2 to 3 hours of driving.
Thanks to Porsche’s 800-volt technology, the eFantom can be charged with more than 250 kW of direct current at DC fast charging stations. In ideal conditions, the battery will charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, and you can also charge your boat with alternating current at conventional household and high-voltage outlets, as it comes with a standard 11 kW charger.
The Frauscher x Porsche eFantom, an elegant and luxurious day cruiser created in collaboration with one of the most esteemed car manufacturers, undoubtedly represents a fresh and intriguing direction in the world of yachting. The world premiere is scheduled for the next boot Düsseldorf, and the first units, which can be ordered in all Porsche colors, are expected in 2024.
Text Hrvoje Bulešić
Photos & video Frauscher/Porsche