Toyota Motor Corporation has launched a new boat, the Ponam-28V, which will be sold through a network of 50 companies in Japan.
The Ponam-28V has been created as a commercial version of the Toyota-28 Concept, which was revealed in March at the Japan International Boat Show.
One of the three main features of the boat is its hull, made with a combination of carbon fiber, fiberglass and a little bit of aluminum. The company is calling it its next-generation Hybrid Hull, which it says offers significant improvements in materials, composition, and shape. Like the Toyota-28 Concept, the hull was manufactured by Yanmar.
“By combining [GFRP] with aluminum and carbon fibers, the Toyota Hybrid Hull achieves approximately seven times the rigidity of a standard FRP hull, while weighing roughly 10 percent less than a similarly-sized craft with an aluminum hull,” the company explains. In total, the boat weighs a little more than 8,000 pounds.
The company says mass production possible due to vacuum infusion molding, an FRP molding method that uses vacuum pressure to fill and impregnate molds with a resin. The company says that this is the first application of vacuum infusion molding in Japan. Toyota adds that the method also enables high-strength molding with improved material density.
“The Toyota Hybrid Hull design also enables the molding of complicated curved shapes, leading to improved maneuverability and also, makes large-scale production possible.”
In addition to its composite hull, the new boat also features a pilot support system that utilizes automotive-derived control technologies to automatically maintain the boat’s position and orientation when stopped.