Sometimes a name can tell you everything you need to know about a superyacht. That’s certainly the case with Solar Express, at least.
The futuristic new concept, which was penned by Anthony Glasson of design studio M51, was inspired by steam trains like the one featured in the 2004 film The Polar Express. It is also covered end to end with solar panels for cleaner navigation. Hence the nickname pun.
Spanning a towering 427 feet, the Solar Express sports a sleek, locomotive-like silhouette and a huge spike at the bow that Glasson says is inspired by a “narwhal’s tusk.” Apart from that, the ship incorporates state-of-the-art naval architecture.
Glasson, who has spent more than a decade working as an engineer on superyachts up to 295 feet, centered the design on solar power. The foredeck, sundeck and stern are fitted with over 16,000 square feet of solar panels. All the energy extracted from the sun is then stored in large batteries and used to power the equipment on board the yacht. It is also used to power part of the hybrid propulsion system, consisting of two Azipods and electric generators.
To gain efficiency, the Solar Express is equipped with a lightweight aluminum hull. It also features lightweight luxury materials throughout. Less excess weight allows for more battery capacity, although the firm didn’t give any figures for speed or range.
With a volume of 5,260 GT, Solar Express has a relatively small interior for its class. She also has less glitzy amenities than some other superyachts of the same size. It was a necessary measure to ensure that there was enough space for the solar panels.
“The idea behind the concept was inspired by my many years of working as a crew member on large superyachts and witnessing the enormous power consumption firsthand,” Glasson said. Robb Report by email. “Solar Express is a (far from perfect) attempt to reduce fuel consumption over the lifetime of the yacht.”
Suffice it to say that Solar Express is still very luxurious. It is equipped with two sumptuous VIP cabins on the upper deck offering panoramic views, as well as a large 33-foot swimming pool and hot tub. You can also expect a sizable swim platform and accompanying tender.
Now show us a steam train that has it all.
Check out more photos below: