The Coming New World of Electric Outboards
Consumer Caveat: We are seeing some pretty high horsepower equivalent numbers by some electrical systems makers, so it is wise for consumers to keep in mind this factor: 1.34102 – 1.34 for short. To find out what the continuous horsepower of an electric motor, multiply the kW rating by 1.34. For an example, a 100 kW electric motor has an output equivalent to 134 hp.
When marine electric motor makers quote numbers higher than this, they could likely be “peak” horsepower ratings, which typically can be sustained for only less than one minute. In a similar fashion, internal combustion outboard engines rated horsepower is actually, their “peak” horsepower at from 5000 to 6000 RPM, not what is produced at, say, 3500 RPM.
The sum and substance of all of this is that consumers should not compare the continuous horsepower ratings of electric motors to the stated horsepower of internal combustion engines.
Vision Marine Motors and Boat/Motor Packages
See BoatTEST’s ride on a pontoon boat powered by a 180-hp Vision Marine engine, plus an interview of the company founder and CEO Alex Mongeon.
Vision Marine Technologies (VMT) is a publicly-traded (Nasdag: VMAR) company founded some years ago by CEO Alex Mongeon in Quebec, Canada. Mongeon was in the electric boat manufacturing and rental business (in the same general category as Duffy), and so it was a natural for him to see the future of electric power for boats. VMT has been developing its engine for three years or so, and that is an example of the length of the gestation period for any outboard motor maker.
Its motors have been in beta testing for over two years, and the most spectacular demonstration of their power was performed last year. VMT’s 22’ Bruce runabout powered by two of its 180-hp outboard motors was clocked at 109 mph after a one mile run on Lake of the Ozarks last summer.
VMT has been working with Four Winns to create a 22’ (6.7 m) bowrider, powered exclusively by a 180-hp VMT electric system. It has been reported that VMT will get its first shipment of 120 Neogy batteries, assembled in France, this spring, half of a 240 battery order. Four Winns says the boat will be available for delivery in the summer of 2023.
In addition, VMT produces three of its own boat and engine packages for sedate cruising. https://visionmarinetechnologies.com/
The Candela C-Pod is a compact, streamlined electric system fitted into the pod of a hydrofoil on Candela boats. It has two electric motors and counter-rotating props, and the company says it produces 23 percent more range than conventional electric motors used in boats thus far. The system is rated at 50 kW and weighs only 110 lb (50 kg). It’s currently only sold as part of the Candela C-8 hydrofoil, which sells for around $318,000 USD including battery banks and controls.
Last year, BoatTEST toured the Candela factory and took a demo ride in its C-7 model which demonstrated the riding characteristics and speed of the all-electric propulsion system. This video explains the history of hydrofoils on boats as well as showing our Candela demo ride. For more information go to https://candela.com/
Elco, oldest name in electric boat motors, is still producing a variety of outboards from 5 to 50 hp equivalent suitable for fishing and utility boats as well as tenders and other small recreational boats.
They also make inboard electric motors designed to adapt to the motor mounts of many smaller inboards up to 200 hp. The 200-hp model is about $50,000 plus an added $14,000 for Victron AGM Deep Cycle battery bank. Its 50-hp engine sells factory-direct for $8,999, plus battery. https://www.elcomotoryachts.com.
Evoy Outboard Motors
Evoy, located in Floro, Norway, builds the most powerful inboard electric currently being demonstrated. A 300-hp Evoy powered an Axopar 25 at the Cannes boat show last September, and demonstration rides were given to one and all. The company says it will begin production later this year for consumers. The 300-hp motor will have a price of about $81,000 USD, we’re told.
The company also says it has a 400-hp outboard motor in development. Evoy power systems will have over-the-air software updates, system monitoring, and troubleshooting. The Evoy motors planned to be sold with sealed lithium-ion 63, 126 or 189 kWh battery packs. At this point, Evoy seems to be the leading high-horsepower/kW nascent outboard maker in Scandinavia, if not all of Europe. https://config.evoy.no.
Torqeedo Inboard and Outboard Motors
Torqeedo has been making inboard and outboard electric motors since 2010 and has a big head start on all of the recent start-ups the last few years. Torqeedos are the most widely distributed and sold electric outboards in the world. The company says that it has delivered over 100,000 units. Its outboards range from the tiny 1 hp kayak/canoe motor which weighs just over 19 lbs. (8.8 kgs.) to the 80-hp Deep Blue, weighing about 306 lbs. (139 kgs.).
The motors start at about $1500, and go up from there, with control systems and battery packs extra. It builds at least six inboard models ranging from 25 to 100 kW, plus a 25 kW saildrive.
In addition, it builds three pod drive systems ranging from 6-hp to 25-hp for both sailboats and powerboats. These systems can be both solar powered or hybrid powered, in addition from receiving charging from shore. It also makes its own battery systems in 24V, 48V and 360V models. Nautical Ventures and Mack Boring are among the brand’s major dealers in the U.S. https://www.torqeedo.com/us/en-us/products/outboards
ePropulsion Outboard and Inboard Motors
E-Propulsion makes lightweight outboard motors that it markets as being 3-hp (1kW), 6-hp (3 kW) and 9.9-hp (6 kW) electric outboards packaged with 48-volt lithium-ion batteries. They’re available in both tiller and remote control. The 6-hp equivalent model weighs 53.6 lbs. (24.3 kgs.) and is priced at $2,999 and the 9.9-hp equivalent weighs 79.4 lbs. (36 kgs.) and is priced at $3599.
They’re available in two shaft lengths. The E-40 lithium-ion battery is $1399, the E-175 battery $4399. They also make pod drives in models they designate as 3, 6 and 9.9 hp and have introduced lightweight, compact water-cooled inboard electric motors in 10, 20, 40 kW and 100 kW models. All are made in China and distributed world-wide. https://www.epropulsion.com.
Flux Marine Motors and Boat/Motor Packages
Flux Marine, located in Rhode Island, is projecting production of 15, 40, 70 and 100 hp equivalency electric motors later in 2023. The 70 will sell for about $12,000, the company says. It includes electric tilt and trim and a 3.3 kW charger standard and weighs just 140 lbs. (64 kgs.). The company’s 40 kWh battery adds $20,000 to the price. CEO Ben Sorkin says there will be a 5-year warranty, and distribution will begin this summer.
They are also offering boat/motor packages with a Flux RIB 13’ rigid hulled inflatable boat with a 5.75’ beam that comes with a 40-hp engine. It pushes the boat to a top speed of 26 mph and an estimated range of 30 miles (48 km). Pricing for the RIB starts at $35,000.
According to the company fiberglass 21.5’ (6.55 m) bowrider models will be available this summer powered by 70 and 100 continuous horsepower motors and sell for from $100,000 to $120,000. Flux Marine also plans this summer to offer a ”deluxe” 21’6” (6.55 m) RIB powered by 100-hp and 140-hp, continuous, selling for $150,000 and $180,000, respectively. https://www.fluxmarine.com.
Mercury Motor and Boat/Motor Package
The Mercury Avator 7.5e is Mercury Marine’s first step into electric motors and boats. Merc says the motor produces about 3.5 hp equivalency and will soon build at least four higher power electric outboards including a racing motor. The Avator includes a lithium-ion battery that easily slides out of the top of assembly. The motor itself weighs about 37 lbs. (16.7 kgs.), the battery about 15.4 lbs. (7 kgs).
Mercury is also packaging its outboard motors with a 13’ (3.96 m) rotomolded dinghy, that starts at $12.000. https://www.mercurymarine.com/en/us/land/mercury-avator-electric-outboards.
Pure Watercraft Motors and Boat/Motor Packages
The Pure Watercraft 25 kW electric motor looks a lot like the mid-section and lower-unit of a gas outboard, minus the powerhead. The company made waves last year in the industry when it said that GM was partnering with them and would invest $150 million in the company, although it was not clear if that was in cash or in kind.
It puts out power equivalent to a 50-hp internal combustion motor, according to the company. The motor weighs only 112 lbs, the single battery pack an added 118 lbs. The digital display shows all of the information you need on one screen: battery state of charge, speed of travel, and travel distance remaining based on current speed.
The unit is Bluetooth enabled so updates to the system happen automatically and performance characteristics can be remotely diagnosed, making the outboard smarter and more efficient. The units are not yet shipping, and its website says it is taking $100 deposits for preorders. It’s selling for $21,600 with a single battery pack or $30,600 with a double.
Pure Watercraft is also packaging its motors with boats, offering its outboard on three Highfield RIB models, its own twin-engine fiberglass pontoon boat, Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW aluminum bass boat, and a Still Water 25XL “coaching launch." https://www.purewatercraft.com
Yamaha’s Harmo transom-mount electric is a low-speed maneuvering system suitable for boats used on horsepower restricted or no-internal-combustion waters, but it’s likely to soon be joined by more robust and powerful units, says the company. Dozens of units have been in beta testing for two years or so.
“As battery technology/efficiency progresses, it will help expand all electric propulsion areas, including larger and higher-output marine products,” says Phillip Speligene, Yamaha’s product planning department manager.
Harmo employs a 15” diameter, four-blade aluminum impeller powered by a brushless 3.6-kW motor. It weighs 121 pounds and produces 225 static pounds of thrust, which is the equivalent of a 9.9-hp gasoline outboard. No price has been set at present, nor is available for shipping; www.yamahamarine.com.
Temo outboard motors are among the lightest, easy to carry, and the easiest to stow motors we’ve ever seen. It weighs less than 11 lb. (5 kg.). It has a 450 Watt motor producing 200W of propulsive power which can propel small tenders up to 3 knots, according to the maker. It is said to be able to propel boats up to 1,100 lb. (500kg.) with 2-3 people aboard.
Temo also produces a more powerful unit, the Temo 1000, which is also portable at 33 lb. (15 kg.) and can propel a boat with 6 people in it, says the maker. These units are in production and are being marketed in the U.S. by both Defender Industries and Nautical Ventures. https://www.nauticalventures.com/temofrance; https://defender.com/en_us/catalogsearch/result/?q=temo%20outboard&manufacturer=Temo
See BoatTEST Coverage of Electric Outboard Prototypes at the Amsterdam METS Trade Show 2021
See METS electric outboards, Part I…
See METS electric outboards, Part II…