Engineering
The Electric Cigarette
Long before electrification was all the craze, Cigarette’s Labs Program and Mercedes-AMG launched a secret project to investigate electric powered Cigarette boats using an adapted powertrain from the SLS Electric Drive. Cigarette’s relationship has always been as much about engineering and shared knowledge as it is about marketing, and this Labs project is a prime example of that.
The powertrain would come from the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive, the locally emission-free super sports car that featured advanced technology from the world of Formula 1. With the transfer of main components such as electric motors, power electronics, high voltage batteries, AMG Powertrain Controller (APC), and on board chargers, the most powerful electric speed boat was born: Cigarette, electrified by AMG.
Based on the proven Cigarette 38’ Top Gun hull design, this technology study re-defined how enthusiasts would perceive the future of high performance boating. Enormous thrust was added, thanks to 2,251 hp of pure electric power. Similar to today’s boats with combustion engines, the electrified Cigarette had two independent powertrains symmetrically mounted on the port and starboard side. Each of the two powertrains had 6 compact permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors with a maximum power of 185 hp (138 kW) and maximum torque of 184 ft-lb (250 Nm) each; so the boat was provided a combined maximum output of 2,251 hp (1,656 kW) and maximum torque of 2,213 ft-lb (3,000 Nm). At the time of this development, this was best in class for battery technology - and still impressive today!
The 6 electric motors were mounted side-by-side on the gearbox: 3 in front, 3 in the back, creating the double-star-arrangement. Each electric motor was powered by its own inverter. These power electronics are needed to convert the direct current from the high-voltage battery into the three-phase alternating current, which is required for the synchronous motors. The inverters are individually controlled by the high-performance AMG-Powertrain-Controller (APC). Each powertrain side used 6 high-voltage batteries, connected in parallel. With the electric connection in the Power Distribution Unit (PDU) an even energetic load distribution and symmetric discharge were guaranteed. The high-voltage battery in the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive boasted an energy content of 60 kWh. Cigarette and AMG multiplied this by four to 240 kWh! An electric load potential of 3,218 hp (2,400 kW) is provided at a weight of 4,833 lb (2,192 kg).
Of course Cigarette is all about the application and broader design merits. The purely electric driven system is ideally packaged for the integration of the high-performance, zero-emission technology: by way of example, the 12 electric motors and the two transmissions can be positioned as close to the back as possible and very low down in the boat. The same applies to the modular high-voltage battery. Advantages of this solution include the boat's low center of gravity and balanced weight distribution – ideal conditions for optimum handling.
Is Electric Drive ready for prime-time in a Cigarette? Not yet, but Cigarette will remain on the cutting edge of the latest technologies, and through our Labs program will continue to push boundaries. This technology study both showcases Cigarette’s ability to be a visionary in the potential future of high performance boating.