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Erio Matteri, born in 1950, since childhood the fragrances of wood, the passion for manual work and the art of creating unique models, handed down by his grandfather Enrico and relived in his father Amos.
In the ’60s, when he was around 10 years old, he went every day after school to the boatyard. it was there where he witnessed the creation of a typical boat of Lake Como, called Lancia, built by his grandfather for a client from Milan.
however, what called his attention was that this boat, used at the time for fishing, was driven by a small electric motor.
A childhood memory that allowed Erio to transform what was a child’s dream into a great project, which would certainly never have believed could become a real environmental need.
As the owner of the shipyard since 1979, Erio, powering them with small electric propellers instead of the classic petrol outboard engines.
Later in the late ’80s, now become one of the best restorers and builder of wooden boats, he ventured into the construction of a motor called “The Spirit of Volta”, 10 meters long and equipped with a hull designed to minimize the wavy way.
However, the innovation was hidden in its mode of operation: it was in fact equipped with an electric motor powered by batteries.
This was the project, started in 1989, responding to a new and innovative design of ecological craft, perfectly integrated in every type of natural habitat; among the main objectives of this project there was in fact the intent to propose a new ecological concept of the boat.
The construction of “The Spirit of Volta” was completed in 1990 and can now boast of cruises with on board characters such as Prince Albert of Monaco during the various nautical events in the Principality as well as Bill Gates, at the launch of the windows ’95 version at Villa D’Este (Cernobbio – Como).
When the project began, the interlocutors to develop the electric propulsion were: Ansaldo Industria Group, Bicocca Technological Incubators and “Magneti Marelli today Exide”.
Reaching these partners, working together, exposing the product throughout Europe, (Montecarlo, Paris, Lugano, Mendrisio (in collaboration with MES and VEL) and other small squares sensitive to high technology), involving magazines also at international level, in particular the AFBE (Assciation Francaise pour le Bateau Electrique), attending meetings, conventions and meetings to promote the idea of an electric boat was a demanding and very expensive job that allowed the shipyard to make space in the world of new technologies. These events, in which a small Lario shipyard proudly represented “Italian technology”, meant a lot in the history of the shipyard, but the project to build an electric-powered boat was an entrepreneurial idea too “advanced” compared to the needs of the market.
Too far ahead of the technologies available and applicable to small pleasure boats; too far ahead of the real state of the art of applicative research; especially too far ahead of the market that, only now, begins to incorporate the idea of an electric propulsion applied to the pleasure craft.
Erio Matteri was also contacted in 1999 by Prof. Dr. Ing. Gaston Maggetto of Brussels, who died prematurely, for advice on the possible application of electric motor-hydrogen combustion cells, in collaboration with Associations such as Citelec (Brussels) , Ecocats (UK), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electronique et de Radioéletricité de Bordeaux, ZEVCO (Cm Italy) ZeTek Power Ple (UK); there were numerous meetings at the site of the shipyard and in Brussels, but Erio Matteri showed his disappointment on the feasibility of this project, remaining anchored to its concept of electric propulsion, considering today the only solution actually working and applicable to pleasure, being the hydrogen charge still in the experimental phase.
However, the Matteri technology has not only been limited to the use of the electric but also to the application of solar panels to different prototypes; on the contrary, with a model specifically designed for “solar” navigation, all the competitions at the European level of the category were won in the years from 2004 to 2006.
From that day, between moments of euphoria and deep disappointments has come to today, with concrete proposals and tangible achievements, reliable and fully functional: it is possible to affirm with pride that from Erio Matteri the electric boat is not a project but a reality available to all budgets .
The historical evolution of quality continues to revive today as one hundred and sixty years ago, between different ranges of products that have allowed the installation of electric technology on the different lines of boats produced by the Matteri shipyard: in fact, Zeb® – Zero Emission Boats was born in those years .
It was also founded by Paola Matteri (wife of Erio), the AIBE®: Italian Electric Boats Association.
The hull models supplied with electric propulsion, however, have increasingly required the development, over the years, of new design and construction techniques, with particular regard to the positioning of the accumulators, so as not to jeopardize the liveability of the boat in addition to its buoyancy.
Among the most popular models there is the Gozzo 700, a boat built in GRP and completely finished in teak, which can carry up to eight people and has an enviable autonomy from any other hull.
Another important challenge was the application of a hybrid engine, operating both with electric propulsion and diesel engine, designed for specific needs of a clientele who,
although it was sensitive to the environment, it had not yet fully developed the benefits of purely ecological navigation; requirement dictated also by the lack in the port areas of control units for recharging the batteries.
Needs fully understood and understood by Erio Matteri who have allowed him to introduce numerous models of boats built on the market from the 90’s, with new and advanced technologies.
The challenge with the public sector that faced the Matteri shipyard was the design and construction of a zero emission catamaran, commissioned by the Adda nature park, capable of carrying up to 60 people.
The hull, composed of two “boots”, was built for vacuum composite weight requirements, and has a superstructure in naval aluminum, therefore very light; need dictated by the need to have a minimum draft due to the shallow waters.
The engine is composed of two electric motors of 10 kW each, cooled by water, and the number of batteries used allow the catamaran to reach a speed, at full load, of 8 knots with a range of about 6 hours.
The electronics for the management, presents characteristics that for maximum efficiency needs must know how to facilitate the counter-current navigation;
“Addarella” has in fact the functionality required for excursions, sightseeing trips and transportation of people in natural parks, river areas, lakes and allows you to be able to admire the natural beauty and enjoy the quiet thanks to zero emission technology, free of polluting substances, mechanical noises and waves with a characteristic that arouses great admiration: the daily consumption does not exceed that of a hair dryer used for two and a half hours.
The latest born to our family is “Noah’s Ark”, a very ambitious project conceived and realized by Erio Matteri, always with Zeb® technology built using the best technologies currently on the market.
The model is similar to a steamboat from the early 1900s, has a length of FT m 10.00 m width 2.20 – with a capacity of about 12-15 people. The boat reaches a maximum speed of 9 knots while at cruising speed of 6 knots can boast up to 12 hours of autonomy.
A combination of tradition, prestige and innovation that from the 80s to today has reached levels of advanced technology with the greatest successes; in fact, the vaporetto is one of the few ZEB® boats that can be launched on the market because it reflects any navigation requirement.
On this hull we can install traditional batteries, thus containing the costs, because, thanks to the particular shape of the hull, you can load up to 22 q of batteries.
Paradoxical is that to navigate today, with zero environmental impact, it is necessary to take a cue from the past; in fact, the problem that arises today with the electric is the same that was proposed a hundred years ago with thermal engines.
A great achievement achieved by the Matteri shipyard after years of making ZEB® boats, always reflecting the particular needs of the clients.
We have created, built, invented, improved “concept boat”, placed on the nightstand stacks of magazines that speak enthusiastically about us; we started a pioneering ecological path in total solitude (with total expenses charged to us) when there was still no separate waste collection and Lake Como was considered a natural landfill.
Amos Matteri was the first boy in the world to ski towed by an electric-powered boat: Goal achieved!