Author Topic: Electric Boats  (Read 1734 times)

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Electric Boats
« on: June 16, 2017, 09:54:04 AM »
Trolling motors have always been popular, but main drive using electric motors is actually an easy jump now.  Solar power has came down to the point where it's a viable alternative to gasoline power for consumer grade boats.  I invite people to look at gasoline to electric boat motor conversions. 

Pontoon boats are probably the most prevalent for the combination of solar and electric.  There are examples of high voltage systems from hybrid cars powering speed boats.  Small personal craft like kayaks can easy cruise at 4-5 knots using electric power.

On a similar vein I really enjoyed seeing hydrofoil technology being experimented with boats which requires far lower energy consumption to cruise.  (And contrary to what most people associate with hydrofoil technology, you don't need high speeds or fancy electronics to make it work.)  If someone could integrate hydrofoil technology into electric boats there is real potential for high endurance, especially if you could integrate solar into the equation.

I really see consumer grade boats being the low hanging fruit of alternative energy technology.  It's probably far more practical to convert most boats to electricity than cars at this point.  In fact, for smaller personal craft it's pretty much the only option for most people.

Are any forum members utilizing electricity as the primary power source for their boats?  Are any integrated with solar panels?  Please tell us if you are experienced doing electric boats.


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Re: Electric Boats
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 10:52:44 AM »

  I invite people to look at gasoline to electric boat motor conversions. 

I have. it's still horrendously expensive.  Here at least.

For what I can get a small diesel engine for, I'll put up with the noise. What am I saying??, I love the noise!  :0)

I am looking at doing a small River boat to use where I'll be going which has a river nearby and winding through the whole area.  You are allowed up to a 5HP motor here without having to have a license or the boat registered. Just bought an 8Hp China diesel so I'll make up some stickers with a big 5 on them and that will put off any inspectors.  Mate of mine has a 15 Hp Outboard with the 5Hp stickers on it and gets waterways inspectors stopping him every so often because the thing is traveling so fast.  He says he has a big prop on it and pretended to labor the thing when he takes off and hasn't had an issue.

Electric is still expensive when one considers batteries, controllers and the motor. Solar panels would be OK for A day Cruiser that sits most of the time as it would always be ready to go when you came to use it providing that isn't every day.  I suspect the range increase while motoring would be negligible because the panels are going to be at the wrong angle 99%  of the time and it's not like there is going to be room to put 5Kw of panels up there to compensate.

Still a thing for people with more disposable $$ than me I think.....  or just more into boats and electric power.


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Re: Electric Boats
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 03:38:58 PM »
check out  for electric outboards. I saw the 40 foot solar powered boat called the "RA" and at about 200 feet away it was making a totally annoying whine.  Don't know they could put up with it onboard. Tahr had two torqeedo motors.   I have a 1937 GarWood I converted to electric, blew up the 6cy just before a boat show and had to power it with something.

Mary B

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Re: Electric Boats
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 09:39:29 PM »
Electric wouldn't cut it on the river I fish. There are spots my 15hp outboard is wide open and my 14' fishing boat is barely creeping through the channel. When we go up to the island we each burn 15 gallons of gas...