Cheetah Marine has revealed what it believes to be the world's first EV-ready RIB, the Cheetah R630. This unique RIB comes with either a petrol or diesel outboard but can be converted by RS Electric Boats into a fully operational 100 per cent electric RIB at a later stage. This means, for those operators who aren't quite ready to go to zero emissions, it offers reduced emissions until owners are ready to fully upgrade.
The 6.3 metre R630 has been designed in conjunction with RS Electric Boats with efficiency in mind. It features a cathedral hull, pushing less water and getting on the plane effortlessly at lower speeds than a normal RIB of its size.
Cheetah Marine has combined its decades of experience building robust commercial catamarans on the Isle of Wight, UK, with the electric know-how of sister company RS Electric Boats (also part of RS Marine Group, delivering unparalleled performance in fully EV systems like the Pulse 63), to create this nimble RIB.
While the R630, with its easy manoeuvring and lightweight build, is expected to have a wide appeal, it's only the first in a new range of RIBs which Cheetah Marine will be bringing to market in the next few years.
When using non-electrical power, reduced emissions are possible because of the R630's super-efficient and unique hull form. It's comparatively very light (utilising GRP with additional lightweight technology used in the Pulse 63) which means a smaller engine can be fitted to gain the stunning performance expected from higher horsepower. It can achieve 25 knots with a 50hp outboard.
"A smaller engine means lower emissions," says Jon Partridge, RS Marine Group CEO. "The R630's been born out of the DNA of Cheetah Marine which is all about efficiency, working platforms, and using smaller engines which deliver performance and also offer fuel economy." He says that the R630 is probably the world's only 6m RIB with an option for a diesel outboard.
Cheetah Marine is particularly proud of the R630's completely flush, self-draining deck which offers unparalleled space aided by underdeck fuel storage. A bespoke deck design is available for end customers, with it laid out specifically for the owner's preferred use.
The R630 follows the launch of the Cheetah Adventure 720 Catamaran (at SIBS 2022), a low maintenance, all-purpose EV-ready workhorse. All Cheetah Marine's vessels are now EV-ready, even if a few customers still specify fossil-fuel power. The ability to retro-fit - with ease - is being hard wired into all designs.
"We're delivering on our strategy to provide EV-ready craft," says Jon Partridge. "The marine sector has definitely woken up to the fact that we need to make a decisive change, but we understand that some people are reluctant to fully commit to electric. We're committed to making EV-ready boats which can be easily upgraded when owners feel the time is right for them to make the switch.
“Battery development is now moving at a pace, and charging infrastructure is being embedded across many countries including the UK; so it won't be long until electric becomes the preferred choice for many. Until that time, we're doing all we can so that companies looking for new RIBs or catamarans can get one now and rest assured the electric conversion will be straightforward."