Martin, the founder

Hi, my name is Martin. I'm behind the electric boat Freepower, and this is the story of how the idea for the boat came about.

I have always been curious about technology. As a child, I was particularly interested in boats and the marine environment. I spent a lot of time building model boats and dreamed that one day I would be allowed to sail on the great oceans. 

Creating and thinking of new solutions has always been a driving force in me. I had mastered mechanics, so my university studies fell into electrical engineering, simply to teach me something new. 

My passion for boats took me in 2005 aboard the East Indian ship "Götheborg" which was ready for its maiden voyage to China in 2006. I mustered on, finally I was to sail the world's oceans! It was on this voyage that I became aware for the first time of the great plastic islands floating around the equator, and the discomfort of how we mistreat the world's oceans began to gnaw at me. A dream that one day I would find a solution to the problem began to grow inside of me. 

I emptied the account of my last savings and got myself a sailboat, Albin Express, to be able to enjoy the sea and the elements in my own waters of the Swedish west coast. There have been many voyages up the coast over the years.

I also started my own company with a friend, who aimed to optimize energy by offering LED lighting to the private and corporate market. I knew that LED lighting would become defacto someday, but 2007 turned out to be a little too early for us in the market and had to give up the investment.

The next career choice was as Project Engineer in the oil and gas industry. Here I used my knowledge in mechanics, electronics and experience from the maritime environment.

Svenska Ostindiska Companiet. Photo: Peder Jacobsson
Svenska Ostindiska Companiet. Photo: Peder Jacobsson

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Isabel and Martin in Freepower prototype in Gothenbourg archipelago
Isabel and Martin in Freepower prototype in Gothenbourg archipelago

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During the summer of 2009, while Isabel and I were sailing along the west coast of Sweden, the idea of building an autonomous electric boat was born. I saw the problems with the petrol engine that was noisy, smelled of exhaust fumes and had to be constantly refilled. It took away much of the joy of being at sea and to be one with the elements. I saw that an electric motor charged on energy from the sun would be able to solve these problems. 

At this time I worked in the oil and gas industry in Norway. We supplied power generators with diesel engines for diesel-electric propulsion for ships and floating oil platforms. After a few years in this industry, it became very clear to me that we face

the greatest threat to humanity in history. 

It ́s clear we need to act towards fossil fuels. In 2012, I became a father for the first time. Thoughts like "what world should we leave to our children?" kept coming up.

 

What should we answer our children when they ask "what did we do to improve the climate", even though we already knew? During paternity leave, I watched a documentary about Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. It changed my life, and my belief in myself and my ideas grew stronger. What he said made deep impact on me. No one can take this away, no matter how many times I encounter a "No-say". He said:

 

"Life can be so much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people who were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."

-Steve Jobs

After this, I decided to own all my knowledge and experience as an engineer for product development in renewable energy. I got the belief that the idea of the autonomous boat would be feasible and could help solve the problems of CO2, noise and emissions on our oceans. In the autumn of 2016, I started the company and the development of the electric boat Freepower Solar Boat saw the light of day.