Building on an already prominent industry legacy in the electric space, Danish outfit RAND Boats recently unveiled their latest model, the Escape30. This impressive vessel not only provides users with a complete and unadulterated feeling of freedom, it does so in a smart and sustainable way.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to sit down with company CEO, Carl Rand to discuss this truly impressive model, dissecting the all new Escape30 both inside and out.
What were you aiming to achieve with the Escape 30 when looking at previous models from RAND?
I think what is important to know about RAND is that we are not a traditional boatbuilder. We don’t design boats to fit into a certain market segment or price group, instead we try to structure our model range to fit a particular experience. We don’t intend to do a 20-foot bowrider, a 25-foot bowrider and a 30-foot bowrider. Our focus as a builder is to embody a particular experience in the very best way possible without too many compromises, and we name our boats around this experience ideology too.
That is how we are trying to differentiate ourselves from other brands. A lot of brands are trying to check too many boxes with just one boat. The end product then becomes a multifunctional but generic boat that is, in most cases, only half good in my opinion.
At RAND we try to design with a braver approach and aim to just do one purpose really well. With the Escape30 we are trying to embody that perfect feeling of escape and partnering that with absolute luxury. We also decided to limit the size of the vessel to ensure it was manageable for one skipper, meaning then it is not difficult for users to get going and get out there. We then also tried to decide what kind of comforts, experiences and functionalities could be partnered with this idea to provide a truly well-rounded product.
This is the approach we take with the whole RAND model line-up, and more specifically the Escape30 aims to provide users with that ultimate feeling of escaping onboard.
Just for context, how long has RAND been an established brand?
We began introducing electric, sustainable motorboats to market eight years ago, trying to open people’s eyes to the world of electric. I think we were among the very first brands to really give it a go – if you discount the very traditional electric attempts of the 1950s – and we’ve been ahead of the curve ever since.
What were the key considerations throughout the design process? Obviously, you said you tend to focus on more of an experience, but what was that experience you were trying to create?
I think all the parameters are closely intertwined. We wanted to provide boaters with that ultimate feeling of liberation, but of course in a way that is as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and also functional and accessible. Our idea with Escape30 was to stick to a smaller size, unlike similar offerings from competitor brands, diminishing the barriers with nature that some of these larger vessels can often present. We felt it important to stick to a 30-foot size in order to maintain the sporty feel, and that central feeling of liberation.
So, trying to maintain these properties and still create something that feels open and spacious was really the main challenge for us.
What would you say makes the Escape 30 “Intelligent” as stated on your website?
The Escape30 is one of the boats in our range which runs our revolutionary connected boating HMI. The boat itself is connected through the cloud to everything, meaning that it can analyse and monitor its own parameters and limits and notifies a user when something is off. For example, if the bilge pump is running in the middle of the night in the marina when you’re at home, you will be notified.
On the other hand, it could also be dubbed “intelligent” in the way that we’ve developed different drive modes onboard – the Escape30 is essentially equipped with an advanced autopilot. The boat knows what type of trip you are going on and adjusts through modes accordingly. If your cruising, maxing out, or even skiing, the boat is able to automatically adjust parameters according to the situation. The Escape30 proved to be very good at this, pre-setting and adjusting parameters according to the activity you wish to do. This is all designed into the dual Navico entertainment system, and we worked closely with the team who develop similar types of HMI for Volvo cars. It really is next level ingenuity. Of course, it isn’t an AI and it isn’t fully thinking, and we don’t believe it should be; we do not want to take away from the user experience. Instead, the addition of this smart technology is enabling for the user, enhancing the natural experience that the Escape30 already provides and removing any worries you might have before, during or after the journey.
This, in my opinion, is what makes the Escape30 truly intelligent. Having cruised in bigger boats, it is very easy to get lost in the menu tabs, the massive command boards, and the expansive control systems, having to be relatively well educated in the boats workings to know exactly what is going on. We really tried to limit this in the Escape30’s systems, aiming to make it smart and user friendly for all.
What are your favourite features on the Escape 30? And how would you say it’s an improvement from previous RAND iterations?
We did a lot of testing with the Escape30, and this really formed the backbone of the project in terms of efficiency, handling, and stability. With many of our previous iterations you could say that our vessels were more comfortable in protected waters, however with the Escape30, of course being also of an all-new size, seems to handle almost any open water scenario.
When we tested in the Mediterranean, I was honestly surprised at how the Escape30 handled huge, choppy waves, yet we also managed to maintain an incredibly low planning threshold and incredibly low consumption. The Escape30 is incredibly efficient in motion and very stable at rest, making it the perfect platform for leisure.
The battery life on the Escape 30 is also very impressive because it carries a significantly larger battery than most other vessels on the market. I believe the Escape30 has the biggest battery of any boat out there at 230kWh – that’s the equivalent of three Teslas!
I also really love the hardtop, T-top, dome roof on the Escape. I haven’t seen anything quite like it on a boat before, providing the perfect balance between that feeling of being close to nature but also feeling protected from it. It really sets the tone for the entire boat, and this, coupled with the spacious feel of the boat, leads users to believe that they are on a boat much larger in size.
What would you say makes the Escape 30 uniquely RAND? How does it represent your brand to the fullest?
I feel it is potentially the combination of a number of factors seeming to work together in perfect harmony. The Escape30 is beautifully designed, it performs well underway and is equipped with the functionality and technology needed to enhance user experience.
This perfect storm certainly makes for a very well-rounded product, something which is central to our Danish design tradition.
When we create products, we create them to feel enabling and natural, I think that is where some go wrong. When there is no balance or coherence between the individual elements of the boat, suddenly you lose the feeling of natural order. Everything must work together, from ergonomics, to function, to layout, to the feeling, the design, the emotion, the passion, and the technology. And I think that this is the essence of RAND. We successfully achieve this subtle balance that just makes boating feel right, and this is also why we design with experience in mind.
The visualisation of simplicity, balance and harmony are what I believe make this vessel so uniquely RAND.
Who would you say the Escape 30 is designed for? Obviously, you said you approach your projects to design around an experience, but who would you say the Escape 30 is designed for?
Well, we have determined our demographic by studying our sales thus far. The Escape30 is one of the fasting selling boats we have ever built, and it is now sold out for over two years I believe. So, we can see trends.
Many of our boats are sold through dealerships, but we do have some direct clients and surprisingly they are all of a very similar profile. Usually they are 40- to 45-year-old, with a family, kids and importantly a longing for the outdoors. They understand the importance of social experiences on the water both for themselves and their children. They understand that the ability to Escape will not only improve their life, but also provide them with a comfortable and spacious place to relax and unwind at sea, the natural benefits of the outdoors seemingly central to their purchasing mindset.
How would you say the Escape 30 could be suited to the Australian market?
Well, I lived in Australia, so I am quite familiar with the market and the climate. I am well aware that there is a huge boating scene in Australia, and I think the Escape30 would be very well suited to the Australian boating population, particularly with such an excellent climate all year round!
The benefits of really getting out there and getting connected to nature will provide you with truly wonderful experiences, whether in protected waters or on the open seas. The Escape30 is truly a quality ocean going vessel that I think will solve problems for a lot of Australian boaters.
To the best of my knowledge Australian’s are relatively modest boaters and tend not to opt for the flashy vessels that you may perhaps see in other places across the world. I think the Escape30 fits perfectly into the size range and amenity needs that most Australian boating enthusiasts would prefer. Overall, I would say it’s an excellent match!
The Escape30 is a truly impressive powerboat and the careful considerations taken by the design team throughout the design process can certainly be seen in the final product.
Not only is the boat itself exquisitely designed visually, the team at RAND have also taken into account important aspects of functionality, harnessing the latest technology to deliver a well-rounded, complete, and modern powerboat for the modern market.
As RAND continue to pave the way in the electric powerboating space, I took this opportunity to discuss the future of electric boating with the company’s CEO, and it would seem that a totally electric future may not be as far away as we think.
Stay tuned to powerboat.com.au for more from Carl Rand and the future of electric boating. More to come!