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Sports & Recreation / November 24, 2020

Electric boat popularity is soaring!

Picture yourself on a beautiful, sleek water sport boat; the wind in your hair, and no gas or diesel smell anywhere. The only thing you hear is the soothing wake against the hull. That is the joy of an electric boat and electric boat popularity is soaring.

With the ongoing popularity of electric vehicles – cars, vans, buses, and motorcycles, the evolution only makes sense to see an increase in technology that takes the boating industry electric. This is an exciting time in the world of pleasure craft, and making your next motor or boat purchase electric will come with so many benefits.

Are electric boats in the near future?

Like electric automobiles, the current initial price for electrical-powered outboards or a fully electric boat is two to three times what a conventional unit costs. But as technology develops for better motors and batteries, that cost will come down. Also, it’s a bit more complicated to add electric (water and electricity don’t always go together) to boats in relation to distance, performance, and weight. But battery technology is changing rapidly and many of the challenges of electric boating will be overcome within a very short period of time.

There are already several major players in the pleasure craft EV space. Companies such as Brunswick Corporation – well known for the Mercury, Lund, Boston Whaler, and Bayliner brands. – are creating entire divisions to increase the electrification of their boat brands. [https://www.brunswick.com/news/press-releases/detail/537/brunswick-corporation-expands-capability-in-electrification]. Canadian company, Vision Marine Technologies is expanding its Canadian operations and doubling the size of its production plant in Boisbriand, Quebec. Volvo Penta, along with their auto division is eyeing the future without combustion engines in their lineup. Penta is set to introduce all-electric in 2021. Nautique has one of the best looking and performing boats on the water – geared specifically to the watersport enthusiast. And for a cool €5 million, you can get a solar-powered, 80-foot Silent yacht.

It won’t be long before electric boating is the new normal, and the longer-range future will be boats that exist completely off the grid: running on solar, wind, and regenerated power.

Benefits of electric boats

Although price and range anxiety are two of the bigger obstacles to purchasing an electric boat, both of these obstacles will be obsolete within the next few years. The many and growing benefits are a no brainer for the future of pleasure craft.

  • Electric engines produce more torque, and can now match the output of an internal combustion engine. This is great for watersports and transport.
  • Electric motors are highly efficient converting about 98% of stored energy into power (compared to about 35% for fuel-burning).
  • Less noise and exhaust make for a much more pleasant experience.
  • Less moving parts make it easier to maintain.
  • Environmental benefits are vast – no emissions into the air or waterways.
  • No oil or gas consumption or costs.
  • Almost maintenance-free – making it easier to own and maintain (especially if you are not a “bob the builder” type of boat owner).
  • Will open up availability to use in waterways where gas and diesel engines are banned.
  • Quieter on lakes for people living or vacationing in cottages.
  • Insurance costs are not greater for an electric boat.

We foresee the emergence of electrification in the pleasure craft boating industry to be on par with the popularity of electric cars. From our perspective, there is only an upside. Now if only we can figure out a way to keep plastics and human waste out of our waterways!

Fun Fact: Electric outboard motors have been around since about 1870, even longer than electric cars!

References

Multi sport electric boat: Nautique

Kelowna, BC based:  Templar

Pure Watercraft, a Seattle-based maker of electric outboards.

Torqueedo Electric Motor

Hydrofoil Jet Ski

 

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