Discover Weenav: new solution for hybrid and electric marine engine


What is a hybrid marine engine? Let’s see its advantages and how to choose the right one

As the world continues to move toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, the marine industry is no exception. One of the most significant advances in this field is the development of hybrid marine engines. These engines combine traditional fossil fuel power with electric propulsion, resulting in reduced emissions and increased efficiency.

The start-up Weenav was founded in April 2022 by three co-founders, Anthony Tartare, 25, Kevin Capendu, 26, and Antoine Bouchez, also 25, all from the Hauts-de-France region. Two are engineers specializing in smart electric vehicles and one in information and communication technology.

Together, they have embarked on an exciting venture in mobility and new technologies: inspired by their studies they formed Weenav, with the goal of bringing their expertise in electric vehicles to the marine industry, which lags somewhat behind the land-based sector. The idea began to take shape in October 2021.

The three co-founders, have seen their project soar, especially in the Lille metropolitan area. By participating in various incubation and acceleration programs, we have been able to develop our concept, our network and our future ambitions.

Anthony Tartare, Kevin Capendu, and Antoine Bouchez, founders of Weenav

What is a hybrid marine engine and how does it work?
A hybrid marine engine is a propulsion system that combines two types of power: traditional fossil fuel and electric.

The engine operates using both sources of energy, which are managed by an intelligent control system that automatically switches between them depending on the vessel’s speed and power demands.

  • During low-speed operations or when idling, the electric motor takes over, allowing for silent and emission-free navigation.
  • In contrast, when high power is required, such as during acceleration or navigating through rough seas, the combustion engine kicks in.

This combination of power sources results in a more efficient and environmentally friendly propulsion system, with reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

The benefits of installing a Weenav on a boat

Weenav’s goal is to power boats with 100% electric or hybrid models, focusing on high-power and customized designs. It adapt to all types of vessels, primarily targeting the B2B market, with a focus on vessels over 8 m in length, such as passenger vessels, service vessels, shuttles, barges, and some fishing vessels.

The system is versatile and can be adapted to different types of boats, as demonstrated by the prototype: a 6.5-m boat from 1992, originally equipped with a 175-horsepower outboard motor and a 100-liter fuel tank, which Weenav transformed into a 100% electric model with an equivalent 100-hp (73kW) electric motor and a 53-kWh battery pack.

Retrofitting a vessel with a hybrid marine engine offers numerous benefits.

  1. The most significant advantage is the significant reduction in emissions, which can help vessels comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
  2. The electric motor’s ability to operate quietly and smoothly also improves onboard comfort and reduces noise pollution.
  3. Additionally, the fuel efficiency gains from hybrid propulsion can result in substantial cost savings over time.
  4. Retrofitting a vessel with a hybrid marine engine also increases its resale value and can improve its marketability.
  5. Finally, by adopting more sustainable practices, vessel owners can demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility, enhancing their reputation and potentially attracting new customers.
How to choose the right marine engine for your vessel

Choosing the right hybrid marine engine for your vessel requires careful consideration of several factors.

One of the most crucial considerations is the vessel’s size and weight, as this will determine the power requirements of the engine.

The type of operation the vessel will undertake is another important factor, as different hybrid marine engines are designed for specific types of navigation, such as coastal or offshore operations.

The cost of the engine and installation, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses, should also be taken into account.

Finally, it is essential to consider the reputation and track record of the manufacturer and supplier, ensuring that they can provide reliable support and after-sales service.

By carefully considering these factors, vessel owners can select the right hybrid marine engine for their vessel and enjoy its benefits for years to come.

Weenav can apply this transformation to both outboard and inboard boats, thus equipping both new and old boats through a process known as retrofitting.

This practice has numerous economic and ecological advantages, particularly as it preserves the hull and existing arrangements of the boat. The system includes a motor, a converter, a battery, an onboard charger compatible with aquatic charging stations, and a Garmin system for energy management and boat control.

All these components communicate in real time, allowing for the visualization of boat data on a dedicated control screen.

The complete process spans about 10 months:

  • It begins with an initial phase, during the first few weeks, dedicated to a detailed study of the boat.
  • This step is followed by a phase of homologation and validation of essential standards such as buoyancy and stability.
  • Subsequently, there is a phase dedicated to the study of financing and the search for potential subsidies for the clients.
  • Once these steps are completed, Weenav proceeds to the demonstration of the motorization (in the case of a retrofit), in collaboration with partner BoatNgo.
  • The final step is the installation of the system, which will have been rigorously tested and validated in our premises.

Tests on the prototype showed an autonomy ranging from one hour at 25 knots to 10-12 hours at 5 knots. Charging this model can take from 9 hours in standard charging to 1 hour and 30 minutes in rapid charging. The company has also secured a location at the Port Vauban in Antibes to conduct tests and demonstrations with prospects.

In parallel, Weenav is incubated by the European Space Agency to develop WeeSafe, an application offering several features such as mapping of charging stations, an automatic return system to the nearest station in case of low autonomy (Safe Return to Base), and intelligent routing based on satellite data.
This application, beneficial for both electric and thermal boats, aims to reduce fuel consumption by up to 30%. The first version of WeeSafe is already in place, and improved versions are planned for 2024.