X Shore – Simply Electric
X Shore, the designer and producer of luxury electric speedboats, is on a mission to revolutionise the maritime industry with the power of silence.
X Shore, the forerunner in electric boating, is a young company but aiming high. Trademarked as X Shore globally in 1996 by one of Sweden’s best-known entrepreneurs, Konrad Bergström, it was only ten years later that the core business of the current company took shape, and the first working prototype of an electric boat was created.
Then, two years ago, Jenny Keisu joined the company as CEO and took the business to new heights. “I joined a large project and built a company out of it,” she says, noting that when she took over from Konrad in October 2019, the business was still in a design stage.
She affirms that sustainability has always been close to her heart. With a background in law, Jenny Keisu was a co-founder and partner of Summa Equity, a private equity firm that invests in companies in line with the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
“With Summa Equity we were pushing the whole industry towards sustainable operations. Eventually, the company was up and running and I felt I should focus my time and effort elsewhere, somewhere I could make a huge impact again, demonstrating that sustainability is the only way forward. When I met Konrad, I could clearly see that I could build a company out of his most amazing vision. And here are we, two years on, with a company that has gone through truly steep growth and is set to maintain that pace of development.”
So, what is so special about X Shore’s boat, which has already won multiple design awards including the prestigious German Innovation Award and is sold out before it is even produced?
Jenny Keisu emphasises that X Shore is founded on three pillars; design, sustainability and technology. “There are other electric boats on the market but they come with old-fashioned batteries, plastics and are not necessarily made in a sustainable manner.”
“We have a holistic perspective and three key objectives were clear from the beginning – first, to design a boat that fully blends in with nature, that means no emissions, no bright colours, no disturbance for wildlife; second, use sustainable materials based on the reuse, recycle, biodegradable principles with a high focus on modularity and third, to make the boat in a sustainable manner – no chemicals, no plastics. In summary, sustainability is in our DNA, it is the core of what we do.”
The outcome of this approach is the Eelex 8000, an electric boat sometimes called ‘the Tesla of the sea’. From its 100% electric motor to the low-impact materials the boat is built with, the Eelex 8000 is the embodiment of a more sustainable maritime tradition, with a minimal carbon footprint. The hull can be made out of flax fibre, recycled materials, and the deck is covered in cork that is superior in function and sustainability.
The boat is smart – in addition to a 24-inch display touchscreen, the software captures 150 data points every second, allowing for real-time analytics of battery and engine performance, including temperature, humidity, pressure, the craft’s location and its system status.
The Eelex 8000, now in series production, is the company’s first boat to be commercialised and is now available on three continents. In just two years, X Shore is already pushing the industry, as Jenny Keisu envisaged, ready to scale up.
In April 2021, X Shore announced a €15 million round of funding with the aim of building a second factory to enable increased production of its flagship model. At the new site in Nyköping, south of Stockholm, the plan is to build a sustainable and modern boat-manufacturing facility with significantly reduced industrial emissions and a more automated production line. The new facility will have a production capacity of 400 boats per year.
“The factory that we are now setting up will soon be the most modern and the most sustainable leisure boat factory in the world, demonstrating that we can make boats more cost-efficiently and more quickly than anyone else in a sustainable manner. Basically, showing how boating should be done in the future,” says Jenny Keisu.
The new factory space measures 15,000 m2 and will employ around 100 new staff when production begins towards the end of the year. It will provide much-needed space to allow X Shore to include a complete assembly line and to manufacture composite parts itself.
“We are now selling more boats that we can produce and the new factory will help us meet this increased demand,” says Jenny Keisu, affirming that even the current supply chain disruptions have not impacted the company’s performance and its plans.
Driving the future
“We have an amazing supply chain management team, so while we face the same challenges as everyone else, we don’t have any particular issue with delayed supplies. On balance, the Covid-19 pandemic has not had a detrimental effect on the business. During the lockdowns, everything moved online and we are really, really good online,” she says.
The company has been described as the Number One electric boat online, but what is more remarkable, as Number Two of all brands globally. “The shift to online has played to our advantage, and the focus on sustainability further increased during the pandemic.”
Jenny Keisu affirms that the company growth rate, skyrocketing over the last two years, is set to continue. “From one employee 2 years ago, we are a now a company of 80, to be increased to 200 next year. The development mirrors the demand and it looks like we are going to experience steep development for the coming years.”
“We are the largest player, we are years ahead of others but the demand is so big that there is room for everyone,” she reflects, emphasising that what has been achieved in such a short space of time would not have been possible without the company’s dedicated staff.
“I have the best team you can think of. We attract this best talent because we are a purpose-driven company. We want to change the way boating is done. We are driving the future of smart boats, dedicated to being part of the transition towards a greener world.”