Within their Glass Cockpit, Volvo Penta are developing an electric driver interface to ease the shift into electric boating. It’s designed to make the electric boating experience as easy as possible.
Volvo Penta is definitly spot on when talking of (at least) two topics: easy boating and electric propulsion. Combining the two topics takes them to a further step: an electric driver interface developed with new boating behaviors in mind, in order to be as simple and intuitive as possible.
It all started on a catamaran
The interface was first installed onboard the catamaran with electric saildrive introduced in Cannes 2019. From that moment, Volvo Penta received feedback from more than 100 stakeholders who tested it, and the first feedback was that the driver interface is even more important for electric driving than it is for traditional engine driving.
Later, a group of OEMs, captains, partners, and dealers gathered at La Rochelle, France to participate in a hands-on workshop onboard the electric catamaran. The team worked closely with Volvo’s UX team to try and test the prototype user interface in a real-life context.
Electric drivelines are very different from combustion engines: they don’t behave in the same way when the gear is engaged, there’s no sound or vibrations, so other sources of information become important to the driver. Another big difference is that instead of measuring fuel consumption boaters need to know about battery range and charging capabilities.
The Volvo Penta electric driver interface will support boaters in making accurate decisions during the usage of the boat. This will include functionality to monitor maneuvering as well as energy balance for the battery. All energy consumers connected to the battery as well as all energy contributors need to be considered to assist the user in making decisions on routes and boat usage.
The hands-on testing enabled the Volvo Penta team to better understand what features are crucial to the electric onboard experience, and we’ll see quite soon the result of this process.