Propulsion Systems for Monohull

The silence of an Oceanvolt electric propulsion is a skipper's dream.  Whether quietly maneuvering through a harbor or motor-sailing on low-wind days to create your own apparent wind, our electric solutions will enhance and extend your sailing enjoyment. 

Oceanvolt offers Hybrid or Electric systems as a power & propulsion option in partnership with many leading monohull boat builders - adding new partners continuously. We also offer repowering solutions for converting away from legacy diesel engines – removing the diesel engine, fuel tanks and exhaust system - cleaning up greasy, smelly engine compartments and freeing up both weight and space below deck.

Oceanvolt systems are scaled and configured to achieve maximum efficiency - taking into consideration boat length, beam and displacement as well as system weight and placement within the boat.  Range, beyond battery capacity, is extended through hydro generation while sailing above 6kn.  This can be complemented with either a portable AC generator or a DC generator (in larger boats or for long distance cruising).

All Oceanvolt systems are engineered to operate at 48 volts for passenger safety and ease of repair. Oceanvolt systems are extremely low maintenance and do not require winterizing (no annual engine maintenance/storage costs).

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Traditional Mallorcan Llaut

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OVNI 430

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Electric and Hybrid Propulsion for Sailboats

Practical sailor looks at the players in the developing field of electric auxiliary engines.

diesel electric sailboat

How soon will electric auxiliary propulsion be available to everyman? That depends on whom you ask. Opinions differ widely not just on what type of drive system might surge to the forefront, but even on whether the concept itself is viable. While a handful of companies forge ahead, notably Glacier Bay and Electric Marine Propulsion on this side of the Atlantic, some expected participants are waiting on the sidelines.

The Hybrid Lagoon 420

Photos courtesy of Manufacturers

One of the big issues that divides promoters and detractors alike is whether the appropriate way to go in a sailboat is with a pure diesel-electric drive train, with a hybrid electric drive with a diesel generator as back-up, or as a pure electric drive with regeneration capability. We’ll take a look at these and other options later in this article. For now, the short answer is that no single approach suits every sailor all the time.

Simply put, in the diesel-electric system, the electric motor runs only when the diesel-driven generator is running. Such arrangements have long been employed in railway locomotives, submarines, and commercial vessels of many types. In the hybrid system, a large bank of batteries provides the energy for the electric motor and the diesel generator recharges the batteries. On the face of it, the hybrid system offers a certain degree of redundancy in that, assuming the batteries are kept well charged, the boat has a measure of emergency power should the generator fail at an inopportune moment. The hybrid also is capable of recharging its batteries when sailing: Driven by the turning propeller, the motor becomes a generator.

Each of these approaches has its strengths and weaknesses, and while we’ll leave it to their developers to work out the technical issues, we would like to urge anyone contemplating installing an electric drive, or purchasing a boat that has one, to first look very closely at how they expect to use the boat. There’s more entrained in the choice than in picking a flavor at Baskin-Robbins. More on this later.

Among the electric drives currently available in one form or another, or as components, the big variable is operating voltage. Motors are available that run on 24, 36, 48, 72, and 144 volts, and, in the case of Glacier Bay’s diesel-electric system with Ossa Powerlite technology, 240-volt DC. Each supplier will discourse at length on the merits of their voltage choice, but an inconvenient fact haunts the entire field: High-voltage DC is deadly, potentially more so in some circumstances than AC.

While neither form of high-voltage is “safe,” we have a lot more experience with AC aboard recreational vessels than with high-voltage DC. An extensive body of knowledge exists on which to base AC installations so as to make them safe as well as reliable. High-voltage DC is used in a variety of marine and non-marine commercial applications, but these installations are well protected from access by untrained operators.

What voltage constitutes high voltage? That, again, depends on whom you talk to. The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), which sets voluntary standards for the marine industry, defines it as 50 volts and above. Prompted by rapid adoption of high-voltage services in small commercial craft and bigger yachts, though not specifically in propulsion systems, the ABYC is in the process of drawing up guidelines for voltages higher than the 48 volts covered by existing standards.

An absence of standards might not deter individuals from installing an electric drive, but it might impede widespread adoption of the technology. If a surveyor can’t state in an insurance survey that a boat is built according to ABYC standards, that could affect its insurability.

Jim Nolan, who manages the underwriting department for BoatUS, said the company has no clear cut guidance regarding insuring boats with electric propulsion. Each boat is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. A new boat with a factory-installed system would be a good deal easier to underwrite than a one-off or do-it-yourself project, especially in the absence of a standard practice. Lagoon Catamarans’ 72-volt-DC hybrid system, for instance, has qualified for the European standard (CE) certification on the strength of following industrial standards that apply to such applications as fork-lift trucks. Anyone contemplating an electric drive would be well advised to discuss it ahead of time with an insurer and even get a surveyor involved from the outset.

Because of the safety issues surrounding the voltages involved in electric propulsion, Fischer Panda has decided to limit its DC product line to boats weighing 10 tons or less. A company representative we spoke to said that while Fischer Panda currently sells DC generators up to 48 volts in the USA for marine use, it “won’t touch” high-voltage DC because it’s lethal.

A proposed collaboration with Catalina Yachts to fit a diesel-electric system in a Catalina-Morgan 440 never came to fruition due to budget constraints, according to Fischer Panda. But in Europe, Fischer Panda teamed up with Whisperprop to equip a Bavaria 49. (Beyond the fact that one of its boats was used, Bavaria Yachts was not involved in the project.) According to Fischer Panda, after evaluating the Bavaria project, the company decided that the diesel-electric AC system is a niche product that wouldn’t interest their prime market: original equipment builders.

“Although the AC system has some advantages in the improved response of the electric motors … and the quietness of the system, the desired fuel efficiency and weight savings were not evident,” Fischer Panda reported.

Fischer Panda considers the DC system to be more suitable for its North American customers. Although it’s limited in output due to its limited battery voltage of 48 volts, it is still able to power multihulls up to 10 tons.

Currently, much of the movement toward electric drives is taking place in the catamaran world. This makes sense when you consider that a single diesel generator can, in theory, provide all the boat’s electrical needs and also take the place of two diesel-propulsion engines. Taking the lead in the field, Lagoon Catamarans introduced in 2006 the Lagoon 420. Originally offered only as a hybrid, it now is also available in two diesel versions. Corsair Marine is building the Corsair 50 catamaran around the Glacier Bay diesel-electric drive, but the boat’s launch date—formerly set for this summer—has been postponed.

Dick Vermeulen, president of Maine Cat, tried the Glacier Bay system in a prototype power cat, but it failed to meet performance expectations, so production models will have conventional diesels. A number of other cat builders have announced hybrid or diesel-electric projects, but feedback on how they perform is scan’t.

So much for the mainstream—but backwater sailors will go their own way, as they always have. As more vendors and components enter the market, the options for do-it-yourselfers or custom-boat customers become broader and more attractive. However, before going ahead with an installation, make sure it’s appropriate to how you plan to use your boat, and even then be prepared to adapt the way you sail to take best advantage of the system’s characteristics. Here’s a rundown of the various types.

Electric Drive Only

Duffy Electric Boats has for years been building electric launches and lake boats that have the simple capability of puttering around in sheltered waters for a period of time determined by battery capacity and speed maintained. A battery charger powered by shore power charges the batteries overnight. Transferring that approach to a sailboat up to about 25 feet used for daysailing and kept near an electrical outlet shouldn’t be too difficult. It won’t offer the assurance of diesel when trying to get home against current or wind, but a proven 36- or 48-volt system will keep you out of uncharted standards territory.

For a bigger boat, more power, a greater range, or a combination of these requirements, it will be necessary to install a large battery bank and almost certainly will entail going to a higher voltage to keep the amps and the cabling needed to carry them manageable. The boat’s range under power will be limited by the weight of batteries, and while lighter lithium-based technology is on the horizon, for now the standard is lead/acid. The fast charging, but expensive pure lead thin plate (PLTP) Odyssey batteries have attracted particular interest among propulsion enthusiasts.

Electric Drive with Regeneration

Debut of the Electric Leopard

The next level up in complexity is a “reversible” system. When the boat is sailing, the propeller turns the motor, which then becomes a generator. The electricity it makes is used to recharge the batteries. The capability to regenerate extends the boat’s potential range, but the drag on the propeller slows the boat measurably. One hour of regen will not restore the power consumed by one hour of motoring, but if sailing time sufficiently exceeds motoring time, this arrangement offers considerable range.

A regenerating system does have the potential to overcharge the batteries once they become fully charged and the boat continues to sail fast. The solution is, ironically, to give the motor some “throttle,” which reduces the drag on the propeller and consequently the power output. This phenomenon gives rise to a new technique, that of “electro-sailing” in which sails and an electric motor complement each other. At present, the “throttle” must be adjusted by hand, but developers are working on automatic controls. Field trials of existing regen motors such as the Solomon systems suggest that a small regen motor’s ability to match the output of a much higher-rated diesel have been overstated.

Hybrid Electric Drive

A hybrid system adds to the mix an onboard generator, which is used primarily to maintain charge in the batteries, both those for the propulsion motor and for the house services. This arrangement extends the boat’s capability to lie for long periods at anchor, independent of shore power for electricity and without the need to go sailing for the sole purpose of charging the batteries. A hybrid can motor constantly, as long as there is fuel, but it cannot sustain full speed for long periods. This is because the generator is usually rated at a far lower horsepower than that required to drive the boat at full speed.

Diesel-Electric Drive

In a pure diesel-electric, the electric propulsion motor runs only when the generator is running. Storage batteries are not needed for propulsion purposes, and the generator is the source for all onboard electrical power needs. The rationale behind diesel electric lies in the relationship between a diesel engine’s rate of fuel consumption and the load it’s working under. It burns fuel more efficiently when heavily loaded than when lightly loaded. When the diesel engine is disconnected from the propeller, it can be controlled so that it is working in the upper range of its efficiency regardless of how fast the propeller is turning. Nigel Calder’s series of articles in Professional Boatbuilder magazine (www.boatbuilder.com) beginning with the June/July issue delves deeply into the efficiency discussion surrounding these engines. Systems on large vessels are built around multiple generators that switch on or off according to the power demands of the moment. Translating those efficiencies into a smaller boat scenario has proven to be challenging.

Hype vs. Experience

Maine Cat’s Vermeulen, on the company’s website, describes the sea trials he performed in the Maine Cat 45, a power catamaran. He began with a Glacier Bay diesel-electric system with two 25-kW generators, each weighing about 550 pounds.

“With both generators putting out their full power of 25 kW each … our top speed was a disappointing 8.4 knots, and the assumption that electric horsepower was somehow more powerful than conventionally produced horsepower was in serious doubt.”

He replaced the propellers with a pair with less pitch, which allowed the electric motors to reach their full rating of 1,100 rpm, but that only increased the speed to 9.1 knots.

“These are about the same speeds and fuel burns we get on our Maine Cat 41 sailing cat … powered by twin 29-horsepower 3YM30 Yanmar diesels with saildrives and two-bladed, folding propellers.” At the time he installed them, the 25-kW generators were the highest power available from Glacier Bay.

Lagoon’s Nick Harvey

Vermeulen replaced the diesel-electric system with twin 160-horsepower Volvo diesels. At 9.1 knots, they together burned 2.2 gallons per hour, considerably less than the 3 gallons per hour that the Glacier Bay system burned at the same speed. With the twin Volvos maxed out at 3,900 rpm, the boat made 24.5 knots.

Also among the unconvinced is Chris White, well-known designer of ocean-going catamarans. “To date, I’ve not seen any system that makes sense for a cruising boat,” he says, but he might change his mind, “if someone can show me by building one that delivers an advantage in performance, weight, or cost.”

White sees the current bubble of interest in diesel-electric drives as a fad. In the end, he says, you’re getting the horsepower the diesel creates at the crankshaft, which is basically the same whether it’s delivered to the prop via a conventional reduction gearbox or via a generator and an electric motor. Besides, he says, diesel engines and diesel fuel are understood and available anywhere in the world you might take a sailboat. Complex, electronically controlled electric motors are not.

White’s reservations notwithstanding, it’s in the world of catamarans that we’re seeing most of the applications. At first sight, it does seem logical that replacing three diesel engines—two propulsion and one generator—on a fully equipped cruising cat would result in fuel savings. Still, if the generator is big enough to drive the boat at cruising speed (which in a cat is expected to be in the vicinity of 10 knots) and run the air conditioning at the same time, it will be overkill for the times it’s only needed to operate the boat’s services. For this reason, commercial and military diesel-electric systems employ multiple generators that can be switched on and off according to the power demand of the moment.

Corsair Marine hopes that by installing a diesel-electric system in its 50-foot catamaran, it will be able to descend the weight spiral. Where a conventional installation would involve two 75-horsepower saildrives plus a 6-kW genset, it’s fitting a pair of 28-horsepower electric motors, one 25-kW generator, and a 40-amp, 230-volt battery bank. It expects to save about 700 pounds in equipment weight, some of it through the use of high-voltage, low-current systems, which will in turn reduce the rig requirement, thus the structural weight, and so on toward an estimated overall weight savings in the thousands of pounds.

Corsair’s David Renouf estimates that the boat will cruise at 8 knots and be capable of short bursts at 10. He admits that, until the first boat is launched, his information is “based on extrapolation, not proven numbers.” He says that some clients will add a second 25-kW genset to assure longer periods at 10 knots. Currently, the project is running behind schedule, with a launch scheduled before the end of the year.

Cost and Other Benefits

At the present time, there appears to be no reason to install any proprietary electric drive of any description in the expectation of bettering the economics of a standard diesel drive. The motors and their electronic controllers are sophisticated and expensive. A battery bank sufficient to provide a useful motoring range is a big investment in weight, space, and money. When you add a generator and its peripherals, the cost and weight take another upward leap.

Only the simplest system will begin to pay itself off in terms of fuel not burnt, and then only if the boat sees a great deal of use. A diesel-electric system designed to closely dovetail with the way you use the boat may prove to be more efficient over time than a conventional diesel installation, but until enough systems have been installed and used and data from that use compiled and compared, we can’t know that.

So why even consider going electric? Cleanliness and silence of operation are two qualities that make electric propulsion an attractive proposition for a sailboat, but in order to enjoy them, we have to accept the limitations they impose.

A hybrid or a diesel-electric system enables us to have a single fossil-fuel power source for both propulsion and onboard appliances, but whatever fuel we might save as a consequence of motoring more efficiently for a couple of hours will be inconsequential if we run the generator all night to power the air conditioning.


As we go to press, pickings are slim for sailors looking for an electric solution to the diesel problem. Suppliers of components are few, prices are high, and the feedback on long-term reliability is nonexistent. On top of all this is the elephant in the room: the unexplored safety ramifications that accompany high-voltage DC.

However, none of this should deter the dedicated tinkerer who has funds to match his curiosity and who can live within the parameters imposed by electric propulsion.

Practical Sailor encourages our readers to explore the technology, because ultimately, it is the experimenters who bring us the equipment we eventually come to take for granted.

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I have gotten excited about repowering my Freedom 30 with an electric motor. A fellow Freedom 30 owner completed his refit about 8 months ago and is very happy with the result, although he wishes he had gone with larger Lipo batteries. He chose a motor from electricyacht.com which sells a 10KW package (quietTorque 10) including motor, performance display, throttle and shaft coupler for $6K. Batteries and charger are extra. The motor does does feature a regen capability. Figure a $10K investment. Big bucks for sure but equivalent to a yard installed diesel repower. I would do the install myself.

I am not a cruiser but have done some lengthy passages from San Francisco to Hawaii. Ideal conditions for regen. I expec between regen and a hundred watts of solar, I could have kept the bank topped up the whole way down despite AP loads, etc. The way back? Not so much. Realistically you would need a small generator and a good stock of gas if you wanted to do much motoring, Having said that, one of the boats that sailed down there with me came home with an outboard as his aux power. I think he had ten gallons of gas.

But I am not planning ocean passages in future, I will be sailing the SF Bay and coastal cruising. When I think about eliminating the engine noise, engine maintenance, fuel tank and tank maintenance, diesel hoses, diesel smell, diesel soot, diesel leaks, r=two boxes of hoses and spares. oil changes, coolant changes, transport and disposal of all the waste to the local recycling facility, lugging fuel jugs down to the boat, storing fuel, filling fuel, buying fuel, worrying about spilling fuel. I mean it just goes on and on.

Frankly, I can’t wait. In terms of range, well, I plan to get a hefty battery bank but I also intend to become a better sailor. I’ll slow down and do more sailing. Gee wiz, what a concept. I’ll be more mindful of time and tide, I’ll take advantage of favorable currents and I’ll be ready to anchor and chill when they are not favorable.

Meanwhile, Elon and his competitors are improving battery technology rapidly. Couple of years from now maybe I double range. But, by then, I won’t be worrying about it because I will be a real sailor.

I look forward to reading an update on the state of electric sailboat propulsion 13 years later…

Most of the time we leave the dock, motor for under half a nautical mile to get out of tiny Wilmette harbor and get the sails up, turn off our much abused Yanmar 3GMF, sail around, turn on the engine, lower the sails, and travel another half a nautical mile back to the dock. Almost all at a very low RPM. But, on occasion we motor or motor sail long distances for hours on end, so a battery only system would not work. But how nice it would be if we had electric propulsion for getting in and out of the harbor.

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How hybrid sailing yachts finally became a feasible option

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  • May 17, 2019

They’ve been a long time coming, but marine hybrid propulsion systems are finally a working reality, as Sam Fortescue reports


The Bootswerft Heinrich-built 13m Yamila uses an Oceanvolt electric motor rather than a diesel engine. Photo: Peter Minder

Every sailor is familiar with the wet cough of the diesel engine, and the acrid smell of its exhaust. For some it’s the sign that an adventure is starting, for others it is the reassurance that all is well on board the boat. The traditional engine is perhaps your boat’s most important safety feature, but its days may be numbered.

The electric sailing revolution is coming – and though adoption in the marine sector is proving much slower than in the automotive world ashore, progress is being made.

The market is still relatively small. Clear market leader Torqeedo had sales of €25m last year, most of which was in ferries and compact outboards. It also offers a range of saildrive and pod drive motors for yachts displacing from 2 to 50 tonnes, or roughly 20-60ft LOA.

But sailors have been slow on the uptake, and for one good reason: if you’re planning to cross an ocean or take on tough conditions offshore, you rely on your engine to help you outrun danger or motor through the doldrums – sometimes for days at a time.


Oceanvolt AXC series is a modular shaft drive system (10kW to 40kW) that will fit in place of a tradition diesel engine

Even with the current crop of advanced lithium-ion boat batteries , the range of an electric system is measured in tens of miles, not hundreds. So a 35ft monohull with 10kWh of lithium battery (four units weighing 96kg in total) would have a range of just 24 nautical miles at 3.8 knots, or less than 16 nautical miles at full throttle.

Taking into account the incredible wastage of combustion engines, which dissipate more energy as heat and noise than they provide in propulsion, diesel is still ten times more energy dense than batteries.


Full-carbon luxury daysailer Yamila uses an Oceanvolt SD8 8kW electric saildrive system. Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

“When you look at bluewater cruisers, of course you will have a diesel,” says Torqeedo’s founder and CEO, Dr Christoph Ballin. “And it’s right that not many coastal sailors opt for pure electric.”

But that doesn’t mean that electric has no interest for cruising sailors – far from it. The more common route for ‘normal’ sailors will be to combine diesel and electric in a hybrid sailing system.

Under this model, the engine is replaced by an electric motor, hooked up to a bank of lithium batteries. This can be charged via hydrogeneration – when the speed under sail turns the propeller and puts charge back into the batteries – and solar or wind. But when extended periods under power are required a standalone DC generator, which can be installed anywhere on board, supplies the electricity.

This is the set-up recommended by Finland’s Oceanvolt, which has focused on the cruising sailing market with a range of shaft and sail drive motors from 3.7kW to 15kW (roughly 10hp to 45hp in diesel engine terms).

“In the case of the round-the-world cruiser, we recommend a hybrid system with a backup genset to support continuous drive when/if needed,” says Oceanvolt CEO Markus Mustelin. “A regenerating prop, which spins while sailing and recharges the batteries (sacrificing 0.2-0.4 of a knot, depending on the boat and conditions) makes it possible to be almost independent of the genset and use it only for backup.”

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This system has the advantage that the generator is only needed on longer passages, so the boat still manoeuvres silently in and out of ports and anchorages.

And a well-designed, correctly sized generator is much more efficient at turning diesel into electricity than an engine not originally designed for the job. Some sailors opt for an in-line hybrid system, like those offered by Hybrid-Marine, which bolts onto the existing diesel.

These are easier to retrofit, with many of the same characteristics as the full hybrid system, but there’s the disadvantage of still having an engine boxed away somewhere near the middle of the boat.


Electro magnetism

Until now, most business has been done through retrofitting existing yachts. But an increasing number of yacht builders are looking to include electric propulsion as original equipment. The world’s third largest boatbuilder, Hanse Yachts , is perhaps the most advanced – offering its entry-level Hanse 315 with an electric rudder-drive option.

The system takes up less space than the standard diesel, is much quieter and vibration- and emissions-free. But Hanse admits take up has been disappointing.

The technology has found more interest among lake sailors. Innovative young German brand Bente has been fitting Torqeedo motors to its successful 24ft model, originally designed for Germany’s ‘Green Lakes’.

Closer to home, dinghy specialist RS Sailing has decided to fit a retractable electric drive to its new RS21 keelboat. Already christened the ‘invisible gennaker’, the system is based on Torqeedo’s Travel 1003 outboard motor.

Bigger race boats have also been attracted by the lure of low-weight propulsion. Just look at Malizia , an IMOCA 60 being prepared for the 2020 Vendée Globe with a lightweight Torqeedo system.

“Emissions-free round the world under race conditions, while simultaneously producing your own energy, is a thoroughly inspirational concept,” said Malizia skipper Boris Herrmann.

Electric has also been successful at the luxury end of the market, where lithium-ion batteries account for a smaller share of the boat’s overall cost. A 50ft Privilege 5 catamaran and a carbon fibre Gunboat 60 have both been retrofitted with Torqeedo kit, while Oceanvolt appears on a Swan 57 and an all-carbon Agile 42.


Overview of the Torqeedo Deep Blue propulsion system installed in the Gunboat Moonwave

The Gunboat Moonwave has two 25kW Deep Blue saildrives both capable of regenerating under sail. There is still a generator on board to extend battery range offshore, but “they no longer use the generator – it’s just for emergency,” says Torqeedo’s Ballin.

Spirit Yachts is also designing electric propulsion into its Spirit 111  flagship, due for launch this summer. With four big 40kW lithium batteries aboard and a 100kW motor, the yacht will be able to operate silently for hours, although it also has 100kW of diesel generator capacity.

“The real focus is not the propulsion,” explains Spirit director Nigel Stuart, “but that everything works in harmony, from galley equipment and hot water to heating, air conditioning, hydraulics etc.” The British yard is also building a 65-footer using Oceanvolt hybrid technology and a new 44-footer that is pure electric.

With racing on one hand and high-end cruisers on the other, there is something of a gap in the middle. By Torqeedo’s own admission, the cruising sailor hasn’t been a big focus of the electric revolution, but all that is about to change. “We started a bit late with sailing,” Ballin admits, “but in the next five to eight years it will be addressed big time.”


Fully integrated electric drive system will power the new 111ft Spirit Yachts flagship

What does that really mean? Well, in the first instance, it means system integration. If that doesn’t sound revolutionary, then imagine a set-up on board where solar panels, hydrogenerators, batteries, generators and motors all worked seamlessly together to keep the yacht supplied with ample power around the clock. “That’s what people are willing to pay for: plenty of energy with heating or air-con through the night,” says Ballin.

The future of hybrid sailing

In the near future, Torqeedo is planning a new range-extending DC generator specifically for hybrid sailing boats. Its existing unit is built by WhisperPower and provides 25kW, which is too much power for boats using the pod drive system.

The genset will be designed to operate at optimum revolutions, while clever DC to DC conversion decouples the battery voltage from the charging voltage, for much greater efficiency.

With boats, just as with cars, the breakthrough that will make all the difference is around battery capacity. Until range under electric power can match that of diesel, there will be many sceptics. And that isn’t likely to happen for a decade or more, according to Ballin.

“Theoretically, they’ve tested batteries in labs that are ten times more efficient than lithium,” he explains. “And if that comes through, then gasoline is done. But we are trying to combine long-term vision with short-term mindset.”

In the meantime, the prevalent technology is based on lithium-manganese-cobalt, and a process of steady development is making this 5-8% better each year. For example, BMW has just announced its next generation i3 battery, used by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue system, will be able to hold 40kWh of power – an increase of 33% for the same size, weight and nearly the same cost.


Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 FP Pod Drive is suitable for small yachts up to 4 tonnes – a folding prop can also be fitted

The other area of development is around the propeller. Most cruising systems use a folding or feathering prop designed for diesel engines. But Torqeedo’s own research shows that the consistently high torque of an electric motor is best utilised by props with variable pitch.

And yet it is Oceanvolt that has addressed this issue specifically for electric motors with its Servo Prop system, which it claims to be 30% more efficient ahead, 100% better astern and 300% more efficient in regeneration mode.

Oceanvolt says that this prop can pump around 500W into the batteries at just 5 knots – the average pace of a 30ft monohull. At 6 knots that rises to around 800W, and at a very manageable 7 knots for a larger ocean cruiser you get 1.2kW.

“A new technology can rarely compete in price with an established one in its initial growth phase,” says Mustelin. “However, we have passed this and today electric systems are offered at a quite competitive price. When you add to that the fact the electric system is almost service free, the total cost of ownership is turning in favour of electric.”

So, you may not hear them approach, but expect to see more and more electric-powered boats on the water as the revolution continues.

A question of torque

A key part of the viability of electric propulsion rests on the notion that a smaller motor can achieve the same work as a bigger diesel. There are two elements to this. First, a diesel engine is not an efficient converter of chemical energy into thrust, creating a lot of heat and noise in the process. Second, the torque characteristics of electric are much better than diesel.

Mustelin says that Oceanvolt’s 10kW motor “easily outperforms” a 30hp diesel. “Typically, maximum boat speed will be somewhat lower (0.5kt-1.0kt) than with a comparable diesel engine, but at the same time the boat will maintain the speed better in heavy seas and headwind due to higher torque. Manoeuvrability is much better in confined marina spaces.”

That’s because combustion engines only reach peak power (and maximum torque) over a small range of speeds. Torque is a measure of turning power – at the propeller in the case of a boat.

A diesel engine develops optimum torque between 1,800-2,000rpm, while electric motors deliver it from 0 to around 2,000rpm. This allows electric motors to use higher efficiency propellers that are slimmer and more steeply pitched.


Engine-driven: The ‘alternator on steroids’

It has taken years of development and over $10m of funding, but renowned boat systems expert Nigel Calder has helped design an alternator so powerful that it eliminates the need for a generator on board.

Mounted on the engine, on the second alternator position, the Integrel can produce five to ten times more power. Sitting behind the system is at least 10kWh of lead acid batteries (lithium is also an option), and Victron chargers and inverters.

“If you crank the engine it’ll charge the batteries; if you’re running with the engine in neutral, it’ll know it’s in standalone generator mode and switch to that algorithm,” explains Calder. “It will likely be cheaper than a generator installation, and eliminates the issue of the through-hulls, the cooling circuits, the long running hours, the maintenance.”

The system allows you to run all sorts of creature comforts on board that would normally require a generator: from hot water on-demand to coffee makers and freezers. “We honestly believe that this system is going to supplant generators on almost all boats that currently have, or would like to have, a generator,” adds Calder.

With the engine in gear and at low revs, tests show how the Integrel can produce some 2kW of power without increasing fuel consumption or reducing speed – simply utilising the engine’s wasted capacity. This means it will work with the yacht’s existing engine – no need to overspec – and it has already been successfully installed on a new Southerly 480, a Malo 46 and a similar-sized Hallberg-Rassy.


Case study: Dufour 382 Alcyone

Built by Dufour in 2016, Alcyone was immediately retrofitted professionally with Oceanvolt’s SD15 saildrive motor, supplied by a 14kWh lithium battery bank. Owners Michael Melling and Diana Kolpak also specced an 8kWh DC generator for range extension. The fit out cost €30,600 for the motor and battery system, plus an additional €13,744 for the generator, and installation costs were around €8,000.

They charter the boat out near Vancouver, for exploring Desolation Sound and the surrounding area where silent, clean propulsion is a selling point. “Nothing spoils the joy of sailing – or a secluded anchorage – more than the noise and smell of diesel engines,” they explained. “Installing an Oceanvolt system in our new boat has freed us from that. It’s the way of the future.”

Charter manager Merion Martin said the conversion has also been popular with charter customers, adding: “The main advantage of the system is that it consistently uses around 40% less fuel than a standard diesel engine over the course of a week’s charter. But understanding the power management system takes a bit of getting used to, and the many components involved in the system can make troubleshooting a challenge.”

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Electric yacht: What are the options for going electric?

  • Will Bruton
  • July 17, 2020

The options for having an electric yacht or a hybrid-electric yacht are growing in popularity; we outline the current options for those making the switch

An Arcona 380z which has electric propulsion

The Arcona 380Z is a standard production yacht that has been adapted for electric propulsion. Note the increased solar panel surface area with soft panels bonded to the sails. Credit: Jukka Pakainen

A modern electric yacht can come in all shapes and sizes, from the latest high-tech speed boats with recently developed high-performance electric engines, to a traditional tender with an electric outboard on the back. Increasingly yachts are going electric too as electric engines become increasingly capable of propelling boats weighing several tonnes, and with the rigging for sails, at a reasonable speed for an acceptable length of time. 

Since the invention of the marinised engine , there has never been the capacity to store enough fuel to cover significant distances in boats that are smaller than a tanker, with fuel capacity always being the limiting factor. As such the best way to cover long distances on a boat fit for a small number of passengers was, and remains, wind power. 

For all the many green attributes that using the power of wind offers, there is no escaping that for most, fossil fuels still represent some part of sailing – whether that be a diesel engine to motor in light winds, onto and off a mooring , or to generate power for onboard electronic systems. Even a small tender used to go from ship-to-shore is often fitted with an outboard motor.

Recent advances in electric power, however, have started to make electric propulsion a reasonable alternative to fossil fuel power. Range will always be an issue but that has long been true of a traditional diesel engine. Improvements in lithuim-ion battery performance is, and likely will continue to, increase range every year. 

diesel electric sailboat

Spirit Yachts 44e – the ‘e’ stands for electric

Additionally electric power and batteries offer the bonus of being able to be recharged via solar panels , a wind turbine or hydroelectric power – via a hydrogenerator mounted on the stern of a boat sailing. 

At first glance the electric yacht market could appear in its infancy, but like every revolution, the will of the people is driving forward technology that only a few years ago was seen as the stuff of fantasy.

The market has responded to demand, and battery and motor technology has come on leaps and bounds, driven in part by the rapid development of electric cars.

It may not be commonplace yet, but electric yachting is here, even available ‘off the shelf’, so is it time to get onboard?

Spirit 111 launch

The Spirit 111 is a bold hybrid yacht, promising 30 miles motoring under electric power alone. Credit: Ian Roman/Waterline Media

A cutting edge electric yacht

Like Formula One, it’s the cutting edge of electric yachting that trickles down into mainstream production in no time at all.

For Spirit Yachts, a builder defined by a unique blend of traditional and state-of-the-art, electric yachting has been driven by demanding clients that want their yachts to be at the cutting edge.

Spirit Yachts have now produced a number of projects aimed at the all electric luxury yacht market including the Spirit 44e electric yacht and a recent project, the Spirit 111, had all the hallmarks of a superyacht project and the team had to earn their keep delivering to brief.

Managing Director Nigel Stuart explained how it works.

‘The 111 combines several cutting-edge technologies to deliver a something that’s never really been done before. A lithium-ion powered electric drive system can be charged by hydrogenation and also two high-wattage diesel generators.

‘Each generator is 22kw, meaning they can pack a lot of power into the system in a short period of time, they don’t need to run for long to fully recharge.

‘The prop is both a means of drive and power generation, so no separate hydrogenerator is needed. She will be capable of motoring under electric alone for more than 30 miles.

‘When you take on a project that’s electric, it makes you think hard about efficiency so the air conditioning, water heaters and everything in the galley has also been carefully selected to use less power.

‘For her owner there is very little compromise and some major advantages.’

Whilst it’s a long way from the average cruising yacht, the trickle-down effect of projects like the Spirit 111 can’t be underestimated.

A Contessa 32 which has electric propulsion

Calypso , a Contessa 32, was the yard’s first foray into electric-powered yachts. Credit: Jeremy Rogers

Traditional electric yacht

Jeremy Rogers’ yard in Lymington is the birthplace of the iconic Contessa designs and a veritable temple to long keeled , traditional craft.

Less well known is the yard’s interest in electric auxiliary engines, something they have been involved in for more than 10 years.

Their first project, the refit of a Contessa 32 called Calypso, was an experiment by the Rogers family to see what was possible.

‘ Calypso was a test bed in the technology’s infancy,’ explains Kit Rogers of this early electric boat.

‘Inevitably, we didn’t get it all right, but we learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of electric yachting. The end result was a hybrid. The more we did, the more interesting the project became.

‘It’s not just the obvious, silent peaceful propulsion; it’s also the things you take for granted about a cruising boat. For example, no gas, we didn’t need it because we had electric power.

The yard has also worked on an electric folkboat conversion for a foreign customer.

‘The client, first and foremost, loves to sail. He sees the electric as an auxiliary option, along with the rowing and is excited to own a boat that’s quietly different.

‘He’s looking for a more connected experience and an electric boat helps him achieve it. When you’ve been motoring in and out of marinas under chugging diesel engines for years, the electric motor is something of a revelation.

Arcona 380Z has solar panels to help generation in this electric boat

Arcona has installed solar sails on its latest 380Z electric yacht

Off-the-shelf electric yacht

Perhaps the biggest indication of the future of the electric boat is the willingness of production and semi-production builders to pin their flags to the mast and embrace it.

One of the first was Hanse, who developed a version of their 315 utilising a Torquedo electric pod system.

Providing around the same amount of power as a 10 horsepower diesel, a 4.4kWh lithium ion battery pack powers the system.

Arcona, Dufour, Elan and Delphia also have electric boat models and are each taking their own direction on entering the market.

Arcona’s 380Z (the ‘Z’ stands for ‘zero emission’) fully electric boat has solar panel covered sails, capitalising on the large surface area to top up batteries under sail.

In the multihull market, there is even more scope for solar, wind and hydrogenation due to the horizontal surface area available for solar charging.

What are the options for an electric yacht?

Pure electric.

Purely electric systems can be broadly divided into two categories, high and low voltage.

The latter is the simplest option in terms of how it works and requires less specialist knowledge to install.

Kit Rogers installed a 48v Ocean Volt system in his latest project and remarked on the experience.

‘The advantage of the low voltage system is its inherent lack of complexity. Whilst we’ve coupled it with lithium ion battery technology, it can also be wired up to conventional lead acid batteries. There are pros and cons to both. What surprises everyone is the size, it’s a tiny motor and is surrounded by lots of space where the engine would normally sit.’

High voltage systems are more advanced, and utilising lithium-ion technology, their capacity is improving year on year.

For larger yachts this is generally seen as a better option.

A partnership between BMW and Torqueedo has led to the development of the Deep Blue 315v high voltage battery.

Effectively the same unit as found in the BMWi3 electric cars now often seen on the high street, the system produces a lot of power and is being used on the Spirit 111 project as well as catamarans.

Electric hybrid

One big barrier to entry exists for most potential electric yacht buyers – range.

Even the most advanced set-ups are limited to a maximum of a few hours motoring at cruising speed.

‘The electric motors excel at two things in particular,’ explained Kit Rogers.

‘The first is as auxiliary power for getting in and out of marinas. The second is engaged at low power to very efficiently motor-sail in light airs. If you want to do more than that, at present, you need to add a way of packing in the charge into the battery quickly whilst at sea; which means a generator’ .

As with electric cars and as enthusiasm builds for the technology, a hybrid option, pairing a generator with an electric drive system, is already proving popular and is probably the most practical option for those planning to cruise any distance.

Using a large generator, charge can be quickly put into the system when needed.

Once under sail, the yacht’s propeller becomes a hydro generator, meaning that diesel power is not needed day-to-day.

Solar can also be used to add additional charging capacity.

‘When a fully integrated electric hybrid system is incorporated into a cruising yacht from the outset, its possibilities really become clear,’ explains John Arnold, UK manager at Torqeedo.

‘Sailing for days on end with no engine noise is entirely possible. There are other less obvious benefits too. Electric drives have no long rotating shaft, so can be used as pod drives as well, meaning the boat is far more manoeuvrable than even a yacht equipped with bow and stern thrusters.’

Spirit Yachts' 44e electric boat

Spirit Yachts 44e

How much does it cost to convert a yacht to electric power?

The technology exists, but anyone seriously considering going electric will want to crunch the numbers.

In the case of taking out a traditional inboard diesel and replacing it with an electric system, it’s relatively easy to work this out.

However, unless you include an auxiliary generator, you will be limited to battery range alone.

For this reason, we’ve done a like for like comparison for a 35ft yacht engine refit, including the cost of a generator to make the system a practical hybrid.

Unsurprisingly, at the moment, there’s a big difference in cost, but at between three to six times the cost, it is gradually coming into the realms of possibility, and prices should continue to drop as technology develops and evolves.

Ocean Volt SD10 Motor system (including batteries, charger and 6kw generator): £30,825.16

Beta Marine Beta 20hp Marine Diesel: £4,100

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The Promises and Pitfalls of an All-Electric Yacht

  • By Tim Murphy
  • Updated: November 8, 2021

Arcona 435Z

This past October, I saw one of the most interesting exhibits in more than 500 new cruising sailboats I’ve reviewed over two decades. It was the Arcona 435Z, built in Sweden and introduced by Graham Balch of Green Yachts in San Francisco. Balch describes his business as “a new brokerage dedicated to the electric revolution on the water,” and it was the “Z” in the boat’s name, which stands for “zero emissions,” that made this boat so interesting. This was the first electric propulsion system—not hybrid but all-electric —I’d ever seen on a cruising sailboat.

Electric propulsion isn’t new. Since 1879, electric motors have propelled boats; a fleet of some four-dozen electric launches transported visitors around the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago. But cruising sailboats are not launches, and the open sea is not a protected canal. When we’re using cruising boats as they’re meant to be used, they seldom end their day plugged into a shore-power outlet. Cruising boats comprise many devices —stove, refrigerator, freezer, windlass, winches, autopilot, radar, lights—whose power typically comes from a tank of fossil fuel. And today’s cruising sailors are accustomed to using diesel auxiliary power to motor through lulls or punch into headwinds and seas.

Starting about 15 years ago, we saw a wave of diesel-electric and hybrid propulsion systems on production and custom cruising boats ( see “Perpetuated Motion,” CW , March 2005 ). Both of those systems ultimately start with an onboard internal-combustion engine. A diesel-electric propulsion system relies on a running genset to directly power the electric motor that turns the propeller. A hybrid system relies on batteries to power the electric motor, plus an internal-combustion genset to recharge the batteries. One of the promises of a hybrid system is the ability to regenerate electrical power. Regeneration means using boatspeed under sail to turn the propeller, whose spinning shaft sends electrons from the electric motor back through an electronic controller to recharge the batteries. In such a system, the boat’s propeller is both an electrical load (when running under power) and a charging source (when sailing in regeneration mode).

The Arcona 435Z was different from both of these systems: It incorporates no onboard fossil-fuel engine at all. Instead, it has a bank of lithium batteries, several solar panels, and a proprietary propulsion leg that looks like a saildrive. “This boat,” Balch said, “has the very first production unit in the world of Oceanvolt’s newest electric propulsion system, called the ServoProp.”

lithium-ion batteries

For our sea trial, Balch was joined by Derek Rupe, CEO of Oceanvolt USA. “If you can sail the boat and you have some solar, you can go anywhere in the world, and you can make all your power underway while you go,” Rupe said. When we spoke in October 2020, he touted three high-profile sailors who were using the Oceanvolt electric propulsion system: Alex Thomson, for his Hugo Boss Open 60 Vendée Globe program; Jimmy Cornell, for his Elcano 500 expedition; and Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, who had been teasing their new boat for months on their popular Sailing La Vagabonde YouTube channel.

The efficiency of Oceanvolt’s ServoProp and the regeneration from it is the promised game-changer in each of these boats. The ServoProp is a leg with a ­feathering propeller that can be set for optimal pitch in three modes: forward, reverse and regeneration.

“You don’t need fuel,” Rupe said. “You don’t need to dock; you can go anywhere you want to go and always have the power for living and propulsion.”

That’s the promise. But are there also pitfalls?

Innovation and Risk

Marine electric propulsion is an emerging technology. Compared with the mature and settled technology of diesel engines and lead-acid batteries, electric-propulsion systems—with their electronic controllers and lithium batteries—are in a stage of development best described as adolescent. Every sailor has his or her own tolerance for technical innovation. For the promise of fewer ­seconds per mile, grand-prix-racing sailors willingly trade a high risk of expensive damage to the sails, rig or the boat’s structure itself; cruising sailors, by contrast, tend to favor yearslong reliability in their equipment as they seek miles per day.

Folks who identify as early adopters take special joy in the first-wave discoveries of a new technology; if they’re clear-eyed about supporting an ongoing experiment, they see themselves as partners with the developers, accepting failures as opportunities for learning. Sailors motivated primarily by changing the trajectory of climate change might be especially willing to modify their behavior to limit their own output of greenhouse gases. Investing in any emerging technology asks you to start with a clear assessment of your own risk tolerance. We’ll return to this theme with one or two real-life examples.

Oceanvolt system

The American Boat and Yacht Council, founded in 1954, sets recommended standards for systems installed on recreational boats. For decades, ABYC has published standards related to installations of diesel and gasoline engines, as well as electrical systems based around lead-acid batteries. By contrast, it was only three years ago that ABYC came out with its first electric-propulsion standard (revised July 2021). And only last year it published its first technical-information report on lithium batteries (a technical-information report is an early step toward a future standard). The takeaway is that if you need help servicing your diesel engine or electrical system built around lead-acid batteries, you can pull into any reasonable-size port and find competent technicians to help you. With electric propulsion and lithium batteries, that pool of skilled talent is significantly scarcer.


To say that a technology is mature simply means that we’ve learned to live with it, warts and all, but that it holds few remaining surprises. Certainly, diesel-propulsion and lead-acid-battery technologies each leave plenty of room for improvement. When a charge of fuel ignites in the combustion ­chamber of a diesel engine, some three-quarters of the energy is lost in heat and the mechanical inefficiencies of converting reciprocating motion to rotation. Lead-acid batteries become damaged if we routinely discharge more than half of their capacity. During charging, they’re slow to take the electrons we could deliver.

Lithium batteries are comparatively full of promise. Their power density is far greater than that of lead-acid batteries, meaning they’re much lighter for a given capacity. They’re capable of being deeply discharged, which means you can use far more of the bank’s capacity, not merely the first half. And they accept a charge much more quickly; compare that to several hours a day running an engine to keep the beers iced down.

Oceanvolt motor controllers

But the pitfalls? Let’s start with ABYC TE-13, Lithium Ion Batteries. Some of its language is bracing. “Lithium ion batteries are unlike lead-acid batteries in two important respects,” the report says. “1) The electrolyte within most lithium ion batteries is flammable. 2) Under certain fault conditions, lithium ion batteries can enter a condition known as thermal runaway, which results in rapid internal heating. Once initiated, it is a self-perpetuating and exothermic reaction that can be difficult to halt.”

Thermal runaway? Difficult to halt? Self-perpetuating?

“Typically, the best approach is to remove heat as fast as possible, which is most effectively done by flooding the battery with water,” TE-13 continues, “although this may have serious consequences for the boat’s electrical systems, machinery, buoyancy, etc.”

If you were following the news in January 2013, you might remember the ­story of Japan Airlines Flight 008. Shortly after landing at Boston’s Logan Airport, a mechanic opened the aft ­electronic equipment bay of the Boeing 787-8 to find smoke and flames billowing from the auxiliary-power unit. The fire extinguisher he used didn’t put out the flames. Eventually Boston firefighters put out the fire with Halotron, but when removing the still-hissing batteries from the plane, one of the ­firefighters was burned through his ­professional protective gear.

Victron Energy Quattro

Samsung Galaxy cellphones, MacBook Pro laptops, powered skateboards—in the past decade, these and other devices have been recalled after their lithium batteries burned up. In that period, several high-end custom boats were declared a total loss following failures from lithium batteries. In March 2021, a 78-foot Norwegian hybrid-powered tour boat, built in 2019 with a 790 kW capacity battery bank, experienced thermal runaway that kept firefighters on watch for several days after the crew safely abandoned the ship.

Yes, experts are learning a lot about how to mitigate the risks around lithium batteries. But we’re still on the learning curve.

ABYC’s TE-13 “System Design” section starts, “All lithium-ion battery ­systems should have a battery ­management system (BMS) installed to prevent damage to the battery and provide for battery shutoff if potentially dangerous conditions exist.” It defines a bank’s “safe operating envelope” according to such parameters as high- and low-voltage limits, charging and discharging temperature limits, and charging and ­discharging current limits.

Graham Balch takes these safety recommendations a step further: “To our knowledge, the BMS has to monitor at the cell level. With most batteries, the BMS monitors at the module level.” The difference? “Let’s say you have 24 cells inside the battery module, and three of them stop working. Well, the other 21 have to work harder to compensate for those three. And that’s where thermal events occur.”

Balch followed the story of the Norwegian tour boat this past spring. He believes that the battery installation in that case didn’t meet waterproofing standards: “The hypothesis is that due to water intrusion, there was reverse polarity in one or more of the cells, which is worse than cells simply not working. It means that they’re actively working against the other cells. But if the BMS is monitoring only at the module level, you wouldn’t know it.”

On the Green Yachts website, Graham lists five battery manufacturers whose BMS regimes monitor at the cell level. “If I were sailing on an electric boat, whether it be commercial or recreational, I would feel comfortable with having batteries from these five companies and no other,” he said.

The broader takeaway for today’s sailors is that lithium batteries bring their own sets of problems and solutions, which are different from those of conventional propulsion and power-supply technologies. A reasonably skilled sailor could be expected to change fuel filters or bleed a diesel engine if it shuts down in rough conditions. With lithium-ion batteries aboard, an operator needs to understand the causes and remedies of thermal runaway, and be ready to respond if the BMS shuts down the boat’s power.

Real-World Electric Cruising Boats

When we met Oceanvolt’s Derek Rupe a year ago, he and his wife had taken their all-electric boat to the Bahamas and back the previous season. Before that, he’d been installing electric-propulsion packages for six years on new Alerion 41s and other refit projects. “My real passion is on the technical side of things—installations, really getting that right. That’s half the picture. The technology is there, but it needs to be installed correctly.”

When talking to Rupe, I immediately encountered my first learning curve. I posed questions about the Oceanvolt system in amps and amp-hours; he responded in watts and kilowatt-hours. This was yet another example of the different mindset sailors of electric boats need to hold. Why? Because most cruising boats have just one or two electrical systems: DC and AC. The AC system might operate at 110 or 220 volts; the DC side might operate at 12 or 24 volts. On your own boat, that voltage is a given. From there we tend to think in terms of amps needed to power a load, and amp-hours of capacity in our battery banks. Going back to basics, the power formula tells us that power (watts) equals electrical potential (volts) times current (amps). If your boat’s electrical system is 12 volts and you know that your windlass is rated at 400 watts, it follows that the windlass is rated to draw 33 amps.

But an all-electric boat might comprise several systems at different voltages. A single battery bank might supply cabin lights at 12 volts DC; winches and windlasses at 24 volts DC; the propulsion motor at 48 volts DC; and an induction stove, microwave and television at 110 volts AC. A DC-to-DC power converter steps the voltage up or down, and an inverter changes DC to AC. Instead of translating through all those systems, the Oceanvolt monitor (and Derek Rupe) simply reports in watts coming in or going out of the bank.

“We keep all our thoughts in watts,” Rupe said. “Watts count in the AC induction. They count in the DC-to-DC converter. They count the solar in. They count the hydrogeneration in. And the ­power-management systems tracks it that way for shore-power in.

“On a boat like this, maybe I have 500 watts coming in the solar panels,” he continued. “So then I can think: ‘Well, my fridge is using 90 watts. My boat has an electric stove. When I cook a big meal, I can see that for every hour we cook, we lose about 10 to 12 minutes of our cruising range.’”

During his Bahamas cruising season, Rupe observed that on days that they were sailing, the combination of solar panels and hydroregeneration supplied all the power he and his wife needed. “When we weren’t sailing,” he said, “we found that we were losing 8 percent each day, in the difference from what the sun gave us to what we were using for the fridge, lights, charging our laptops, and all that stuff.”

Rupe’s solution? “Twice in Eleuthera and once outside Major’s, we went out and sailed laps for a couple of hours because the batteries were below 30 percent of capacity. It was good sailing, and the wind was coming over the shore, so we didn’t have any sea state. We did a couple of hot laps on nice beam reaches, and generated about 700 watts an hour.”

Of the three sailors Rupe touted in October 2020—Alex Thomson, Jimmy Cornell and the Sailing La Vagabonde couple—only Cornell can report back on his all-electric experiences with Oceanvolt. Alex Thomson ended his circumnavigation abruptly last November, just 20 days after the Vendée Globe start, when Hugo Boss collided with an object in the South Atlantic. And at press time in early fall 2021, Riley and Elayna had just recently announced the build of their new Rapido trimaran; keep an eye on their YouTube channel for more about their experiences with the Oceanvolt propulsion system.

Oceanvolt ServoProp

As for Cornell—circumnavigator, World Cruising Routes author, creator of the transoceanic rally, and veteran of some 200,000 ocean miles—he suspended his planned Elcano 500 round-the-world expedition solely because of the Oceanvolt system in his new Outremer catamaran. His Aventura Zero Logs on the Cornell Sailing website, particularly the Electric Shock article posted on December 2, 2020, are essential reading for any sailor interested in sailing an electric boat. “Sailing around the world on an electric boat with zero emissions along the route of the first circumnavigation was such a tempting opportunity to do something meaningful and in tune with our concern for protecting the environment that my family agreed I should do it,” Cornell wrote. “What this passage has shown was that in spite of all our efforts to save energy, we were unable to regenerate sufficient electricity to cover consumption and top up the batteries.”

Cornell’s experience in that article is raw, and his tone in that moment bitterly disappointed. We recommend it as essential reading—not as a final rejection of the electric-boat concept or of Oceanvolt’s system, or even as an endorsement of Cornell’s own decision that the system didn’t work. I suspect that I may have arrived at the same conclusion. Yet given the same boat in the same conditions, one imagines that a new breed of sailor—a Graham Balch or a Derek Rupe—may have responded differently to the constraints imposed by an all-electric boat, as nearly every cruising sailor today habitually responds to the inconvenient constraints of diesel engines and lead-acid batteries.

“If you bring electric winches, electric heads and an induction stove, and then sail into a high-pressure system, you’ll set yourself up for failure,” Balch said. “You have to balance your power inputs and your power outputs.

“Sailing an electric boat is a return to the tradition of sailing that the crutch of a diesel engine has gotten us away from,” he added. “Magellan’s fleet got all the way around the world, and they didn’t have a diesel engine.”

Tim Murphy is a Cruising World editor-at-large and ­longtime Boat of the Year judge.

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Everything electric boats and boating

Electric propulsion Arcona 415 sailboat on the water

New Arcona 415 first sailing yacht with electric propulsion standard

Sweden’s arcona yachts has announced that their new arcona 415 has oceanvolt electric propulsion as a standard feature, a first for series-produced sailing yachts..

Having electric as standard on a boat like the 415 marks a big change. Now it means that potential owners would have to specifically ask about diesel as an option, which then requires comparing its pros and cons to electric. Arcona obviously thinks most will go with the clean, quiet, zero emission system.

“Electric is here to stay” says Urban Lagnéus, Arcona Yachts CEO. “The ability to spend your leisure time at sea without emissions, and yet gain advantages in comfort and performance, opens up a new world of opportunities for our normal usage. Our cruisers sail beautifully in any conditions, but in light winds and close to marinas, if you need to use the engine, electric propulsion is the way forward.”

Electric propulsion that recharges itself

To provide the motors and electric system the company turned to Oceanvolt , which was founded in 2004 by avid sailor Janne Kjellman and is a pioneer in zero emission propulsion for sailboats.

Their modular AXC series lets the user ‘stack’ motors to build power configurations of 10kW, 20kW, 30kW or 40kW and their patented ServoProp variable pitch sail drive was a 2017 category winner in the prestigious DAME awards that recognize the best-designed products in each year’s METSTRADE nautical trade show.

It is the ServoProp with hydroregeneration that will be the standard on the Arcona 415, using a 15kW system and 19kWh battery pack. In hydro regeneration (sometimes called just regeneration or ‘regen’) the electric motor can be instantly converted to an electricity-generating turbine that is turned by the ServoProp propeller while the boat is under wind power. That electricity is then stored in the system’s battery pack for later use.

One of the keys for regen is achieving enough speed to get the propeller turning, and the Arcona yachts are well suited to the task. The boatyard is known for ‘cruiser-racers’ which are designed to perform well in racing when the pilot has an expert team aboard, but also be comfortable, safe and easy to sail for relaxed family cruising.

Lagnéus says “The sleek and light hull design works extraordinarily well with electric propulsion, however our customers have seen the hydro regeneration commence when the yacht is sailing at a speed as low as 3.3 knots.”

Crossing the Atlantic with zero emissions

Arcona is also a pioneer in electric propulsion. It already has the largest fleet of electric sailboats on the water, the first being the Arcona 380Z (for Zero emission) launched in 2015. In 2019 Graham Balch of Green Yacht Sales wrote about What it’s Like to Cross the Atlantic Ocean in an Electric Sailboat.  You can read the whole story »» on the Green Yachts site , but here’s a teaser:

electric propulsion Arcona 380Z sailing in the Atlantic Ocean

And (spoiler alert):

“ Would I do it again? Crossing the ocean in an electric sailboat was so enjoyable compared to a sailboat with a diesel engine, I would never want to cross the ocean with a diesel engine ever again (pretty similar to how most Tesla owner feels about the idea of going back to driving a gas car).”

The beginning of the beginning

Sailing boat owners have been some of the first to adopt electric propulsion over the past decade, with a big reason most likely being that many sailors like sailing for the very reason that they prefer silence and fresh air to the sounds and odours of diesel and gasoline motors.

Many owners have converted boats themselves, with motors from companies like Oceanvolt , Fischer-Panda , Bellmarine , Thoosa and others (check the Plugboats Guide to Electric Saildrives and Pods and the Marketplace of Electric Motors ).

A growing number of builders have been offering electric propulsion as an option, and the number of manufacturers doing so is increasing almost daily. In February Elan yachts was the first to offer electric as an option across its entire fleet , and an Electric Sailboat category was started in this year’s Gustave Trouvé Awards.  You can see the nominees »» here

Electric propulsion as the standard feature is the next important step in the transition away from fossil fuels.

As Arcona’s Lagnéus says: “The benefits of electric propulsion are numerous; not having an exhaust and the elimination therefore of emissions, the ongoing cost saving vs. fuelling up with diesel, the minimized operating noise and vibrations, the increased space for living, the complete power management, the ease of use and maintenance, and having an overall lighter weight thus increased performance.”

“We can all do our bit to combat climate change, and to be the first yacht builders with zero emission propulsion as a standard is an important step towards further enjoyment of sailing the Arcona way.”

Exciting things are happening every day in electric boats and boating. Subscribe to the Plugboats newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!

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Diesel Electric Drive

  • By Chuck Husick
  • Updated: October 4, 2007

diesel electric sailboat

Siemens EcoProp

Your next yacht may be powered with a new, but at the same time old and extensively proven, power system-a diesel electric drive. First used in 1903 to propel the triple-screw Russian tanker Vandal on the Volga River and Caspian Sea, diesel electric propulsion is now used in the most modern cruise ships and in thousands of other commercial vessels. Although the idea of powering your yacht with the indirect, two-step diesel electric energy transfer system may appear to be unnecessarily complex, its many advantages can make it a compellingly attractive alternative to a conventional direct mechanical prop-shaft drive.

The benefits of diesel electric drive begin with the design freedom the system affords the yacht’s designer. The engine can be installed wherever appropriate to achieve optimum use of space for the accommodation. Noise and vibration are more easily suppressed than in a conventional direct engine-to-propeller drive. Turning the props with electric motors enhances slow-speed maneuverability by providing unrestricted minimum prop speeds with 100 percent torque available to provide immediate power response at all times. Prop synchronization is automatic and extremely precise. When under way all of the electrical power required by the vessel can be supplied from the diesel electric propulsion system, eliminating the need to run a genset. A diesel electric power system can drive multiple propellers from a single engine or use multiple engines to power one or more props. In a twin-engine/twin-prop system, one engine can power both props when operating within the speed limits imposed in many areas. Electrical power from the vessel’s genset can be used to propel the boat, providing a built-in backup-especially valuable for yachts with single-engine installations. Conversely, the propulsion system can serve as a backup for the yacht’s gensets.

The more than 100-year history of marine diesel electric systems began as a response to the impossibility of quickly reversing the direction of rotation of early direct-to-prop-shaft-coupled diesel engines. With a diesel-powered direct current (DC) generator and a DC motor connected to the prop shaft, the direction of prop rotation could be controlled by a switch. The 100 percent torque, zero-speed capability of the electric motor led to the overwhelming use of diesel electric power for railroad locomotives. Diesel electric drives found a natural application in submarines and many surface ships. Today’s cruise ships, where 70-80 percent of the total onboard power is required for the “hotel” side of the vessel, are diesel electric powered. The power demands can be enormous at times. A trivial example: 1,500,000 watts, equal to more than 1,400 hp, is needed to simultaneously power half of the 1,500-watt hair dryers on a 1,400-stateroom cruise ship.

While the equipment designed to serve the massive needs of cruise ships is unsuitable for any reasonable-sized yacht, numerous land-mobile applications including buses, very large trucks and the cranes used in container ports need power levels similar to those required by a yacht. These land-mobile applications require high overall efficiency, installation flexibility, virtually 100 percent torque at close to zero speed and must meet demanding reliability and durability standards. Fortunately, equipment designed and perfected for these uses is ideal for propelling many types of yachts.

From the helmsman’s standpoint the Siemens diesel electric propulsion system is totally transparent, functioning identically to a conventional power control system, with some welcome and useful advantages. In a twin-prop installation, two conventional-appearing single-lever electronic power controls send commands to the drive control system computer (DICO in Siemens’ terms). Digital messages from the DICO manage the diesel engine’s speed governor and control the current flow from the propulsion converters to the prop-drive motors. The power curve of the engine is programmed into the control computer and used to set engine rpm to the speed that provides the required power with optimum fuel efficiency. It is generally unnecessary for the helmsman to monitor engine rpm. Placing a prop control in neutral allows the prop to freewheel, with no risk of damaging the gearbox, a benefit when the vessel is propelled by the other prop. There are no restrictions on rapid movement of the control from ahead to astern. Moving both controls beyond a preselected prop shaft speed, usually about 400 rpm, will automatically and very precisely synchronize the propellers. In fact, the precision with which the system “knows” the relative rotational position of each prop shaft appears to be sufficient to allow future addition of a prop-phase relationship control. Vibration and noise can be minimized with careful control of the relative position of the blades on one prop with those on the other prop. This technique is common on many multiengine aircraft and is called prop phasing.

In a diesel electric system, the engine can be mounted virtually anywhere in the hull and in whatever orientation is required to achieve optimum use of space. With no need to provide a mechanical power-transfer connection to the hull, the engine mounts can be chosen for optimum vibration isolation. If desired, the engine can be totally enclosed in a sound shield, providing superior sound attenuation without the need to insulate an entire compartment. The incorporation of thrust bearings on the prop shafts ensures precise alignment with the “P” bracket and the prop-drive gearbox, reducing wear on the cutlass bearing and shaft noise. The small size of the prop-drive motor and gearbox also makes it possible to locate the props at the most advantageous position on the hull-a great advantage.

A typical Siemens single-engine twin-prop diesel electric propulsion system is comprised of a permanent magnet three-phase alternator powered by the diesel engine through a speed-increasing gearbox, two short-circuit-proof solid state power inverter modules, two 3-phase permanent magnet prop-drive motors, associated prop-drive gearboxes, a control computer and a conventional-appearing helm control station. System components are surprisingly compact and lightweight. The 145 kW (194 hp) alternator suitable to power a 48-foot trawler yacht is 10 inches square, 22 inches long and weighs 264 pounds. Each of the 114 hp drive motors is similar in size and weight. The 40 x 23 x 7 inch inverter modules are typically bulkhead mounted. The spiral bevel gearboxes used to connect the alternator to the driving engine and the drive motors to the propellers are 98 percent efficient and have a medium duty life expectancy of 25,000 hours. Gearbox power capacities range from 150 to 600 hp, meaning that they can be coupled to multiple alternators or motors to meet the power requirements of larger vessels. All of the system’s power-handling components, alternators, motors, gearboxes and power inverters are cooled with a circulating flow of water/glycol. The system is also continuously monitored, by using temperature sensors built into the alternators, motors, gearboxes and inverters.

Operating efficiency is an important part of the evaluation of any power delivery system. Although the alternators, inverters, motors and gearboxes used in the Siemens system operate efficiently, the total energy loss through the system will typically exceed the losses imposed by a conventional marine gear-coupled drive. However, the efficiency loss is to a large degree offset by the ability of the electronic control to precisely match the engine’s power curve to the vessel’s propellers. In a conventional direct mechanical prop-drive system, the fixed pitch propeller can be matched to the engine and the hull at only one point, maximum engine rpm. At all other engine speeds the engine turns faster than is necessary to produce the required power. The diesel electric drive matches the prop load to the engine, producing a result similar to that achieved with use of a controllable pitch prop. Using one large engine to power two propellers can provide an efficiency advantage compared with use of two engines providing the same total power. Depending on the positioning of the engine, power loss due to exhaust backpressure may be less than what can be achieved in a conventional installation. The option of drawing the vessel’s AC house power from the propulsion system when under way, eliminating the need to run the vessel’s genset, can improve fuel efficiency. Overall, the fuel economy of the diesel electric drive will be close to or as good as what can be achieved using a direct-drive system.

In many installations the cost of a single-engine twin-prop diesel electric power system will be no more than a conventional twin-engine direct-mechanical drive installation. Properly integrated into the design of the vessel, the diesel electric drive’s many attributes will likely make it the preferred propulsion system for a growing number of yachtsmen.

Contact: www.sea.siemens.com/marine/ .

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Sail Greener

The Pros, Cons, and Future of Electric Yachts and Sailboats

  • By Sail Greener
  • Last updated: April 27, 2022

Sail Greener Sustainable Sailboats and Yachts

Sail Greener is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you sail you likely spend considerable time—and money—cleaning, fixing, and worrying about your diesel or gas engine. When it comes to safety, your backup propulsion is as important as your sails. Can you rely on electric motors for safety? What are the pros and cons of buying an electric sailboat?   

Diesel engines are reliable, but they pollute. Diesel (and gas) engines emit greenhouse gasses and exhaust that includes particulate matter and carcinogens that are a risk to human health. 

Until recently, alternatives to marine diesel engines were limited. Boat owners could carry out their own repower projects or purchase expensive commercial electric motors. Storage capacity was a problem.

Fortunately, the winds are shifting and there are now numerous high quality and economically competitive alternatives to traditional marine engines. In this article we describe the pros and cons of purchasing a new motor or repowering an existing engine. We also describe the market for marine electric propulsion systems and identify leading boat builders, manufacturers, and installers.

Why do we need electric sailboats?

The climate is warming and we continue to pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere at a torrid pace. Transport emissions, including road, rail, air and marine transportation, account for nearly a quarter of global CO 2 emissions. 1 https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/transport/ According to the United Nation’s International Maritime Organization , marine traffic accounts for nearly 3% of the world's CO ­­­ 2 emissions.

While emissions from recreational boaters are less than those from shipping and fishing fleets, they are still considerable. According to an estimate from electricmotoryachts.com , if just 5% of the roughly 13 million registered boats in the United States today repowered with electric, boaters would eliminate an estimated 1 billion pounds of CO 2 emissions. Scaled across boaters around the world, the potential for boaters to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions is significant.

Exposure to diesel emissions also poses health risks. The smallest particulate matter can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, and lung disease. High exposure to small particulates can impair brain development in children. The International Agency for Research on Cancer , part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans.   

Is there a market for marine electric propulsion?

Global concern over climate is leading to a revolution in how we produce and use renewable energy. This is particularly true in the transportation sector. Sales of electric cars in 2019 increased 40%. In 2020, Tesla motors alone produced almost 500,000 new electric vehicles. This helped to propel Elon Musk to become the world’s wealthiest person. Electric vehicle penetration is still just about 3% but growing dramatically 2 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/mckinsey-electric-vehicle-index-europe-cushions-a-global-plunge-in-ev-sales# A key factor driving this growth, according to the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency, is innovation in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and other storage technology. Batteries now account for nearly 90% of all patenting activity in the area of electricity storage. Between 2005 and 2018, patenting activity in batteries and related electricity storage technologies grew four times faster than the average of all technology fields. 3 https://www.iea.org/reports/innovation-in-batteries-and-electricity-storage

It is clear we are reaching a tipping point for electric automobiles and trucks 4 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/22/electric-vehicles-close-to-tipping-point-of-mass-adoption . Is the marine sector also experiencing an electric revolution?

The market for marine electric propulsion systems is lagging what is happening with cars and trucks. However, the potential for growth in this sector is extraordinary. In an article published in Yachting World, Christoph Ballin, CEO of electric motor manufacturer Torqueedo, estimated that only about 1.3% of marine propulsion systems are electric. 5 https://www.yachtingworld.com/features/future-yachting-smart-technology-126136 According to an article published in 2017 by IDTechEx there are over 100 manufacturers of electric boats and ships with an estimate of more than $20 billion in global sales by 2027 for non-military boats. According to the IDTechEx report, recreational boats are the largest—and fastest—growing electric marine market by sales.

The growth potential is enormous considering the size of the recreation economy. In the United States alone, in 2019 outdoor recreation generated US$ 788 billion dollars in output. 6 https://boatingindustry.com/news/2020/11/12/orr-provides-breakdown-of-latest-recreation-economy-data/  An estimated $37 billion of this came from retail sales of boats, engines, accessories and marine services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) data, Boating and fishing was the largest conventional activity for the nation as a whole, adding  US$ 23.6 billion to the economy. This was the largest conventional activity in 30 states and the District of Columbia and the second largest activity in 11 states. 7 https://boatingindustry.com/news/2020/11/12/orr-provides-breakdown-of-latest-recreation-economy-data/

Pros and Cons of Electric Motors for Boats

What are the pros and cons of electric motors for sailing?

Pros of electric propulsion

  • Less noise : Electric motors are quieter than diesel engines and nearly vibration free.
  • Lower long-term cost : Motors last a long time and require no fuel. You need batteries and electricity, but the sun and wind can recharge your batteries. You won't need to constantly change engine fluids, filters, or worry about leaks or old tanks.
  • Cleaner and healthier: You won't end up with an oily mess in the engine room and bilge
  • No emissions, no exhaust : Passengers and crew won't be exposed to hazardous fumes and particulates. You won't be spewing out carbon pollution.
  • Instant power: Electric motors can go from zero to full torque instantaneously. Motors do not need to wait for engines to warm up.
  • Weight and storage : Electric propulsion systems are typically less heavy than equivalent diesel systems. OceanPlanetEnergy.com estimates that electric propulsion systems are typically 1/3 the weight of diesel systems. This depends, however, on the weight of your battery bank.
  • Easier maintenance and lower costs: Electric motors are simpler and easier to maintain than diesel generators. OceanPlanetEnergy.com estimates that maintenance costs could be 1/20 of the maintenance costs of a diesel engine in the first decade, even less over time because of electric propulsion systems use far fewer moving parts.
  • Increased reliability and safety : Fewer moving parts translates into fewer breakdown which means which means more safety.
  • Regeneration:   Batteries can be recharged while sailing using, solar, wind, and hydro generation systems.  For example, at sailing speeds over 6 knots Oceanvolt systems are reportedly able to generate significant power for recharging the battery bank.
  • Improved maneuverability: Electric motors have high torque at low RPM, which can make maneuvering in tight spaces like marinas more precise. Electric motors can switch from forward to backward instantaneously.

Cons of electric propulsion

  • Range anxiety: Depending on your battery bank and ability to recharge, you may have less range with an electric motor compared to a diesel engine.
  • Cost: Electric motors can be expensive relative to combustion engines, but costs are plummeting.
  • Lack of familiarity : Sailors familiar with traditional engines may not feel prepared or comfortable to switch to a new form of power.
  • Fires: There can be a small risk of fires from batterie with improper maintenance, but this is also true with internal combustion engines.
  • Charging time: Recharging batteries can take time, but charging times are changing quickly. Tesla V3 Superchargers support peak rates of up to 250kW per car, which translates to about 75 miles of charge in 5 minutes for a Model 3 and charge at rates of up to 1,000 miles per hour 8 https://www.tesla.com/blog/introducing-v3-supercharging . In January 2021 the Israeli company StoreDot announced new “exreme-fast-charging” lithium-ion batteries that could charge a car battery capable of 100 miles of charge in 5 minutes.   It will only be a matter of time before similar speed and capacity is available for boaters.

Industry Leaders

Who are industry leaders in the electric sailboat space?

Electric propulsion companies

Numerous companies produce electric and hybrid propulsion systems for the marine sector. Some of the best known and highest quality brands that provide electric propulsion systems for yachts and sailboats include:

  • Elco Motor : Elco is one of the industry leaders in this field. The company has been around for more than 125 years and now produces a wide range of outboard and inboard electric and hybrid propulsion systems. 
  • OceanVolt : The Finnish company is one of the industry leaders in electric propulsion. The company produces a wide range of electric propulsion systems for monohulls and multihulls. The company has provided cutting-edge electric propulsion systems for Vendée Globe racers, including Alex Thompson’s Hugo Boss and Conrad Colman in 2017, and other racers like French Olympic sailor Damien Seguin.
  • Torqeedo : When Torqeedo was founded in 2004, concepts like “clean tech” and “electromobility” were just a glimmer in Mother Earth’s eye.  One of the pioneers in the modern marine electric propulsion sector, Torqeedo is now one of the market leaders. The company offers outboard and inboard electric motors and hybrid drive systems ranging from 0.5 km to 100 kw in addition to diverse accessories from lithium batteries and solar charging equipment to smartphone apps.
  • Aquamot : This German company produces in-house electric propulsion systems for electric for boats and ships, including motors, batteries, and chargers.
  • Kraeutler Elektromotoren produces a wide range of industrial, ship drive, and boat motors, including drive units for motor and sailing boats.

Electric sailboat manufacturers

Who builds sailboats with electric motors?

Electric propulsion is going mainstream. Dozens of boat builders are building electric-only boats (like SoelYachts.com and Silent-Yachts.com ). Some traditional yacht builders now offer electric propulsion options—and this will likely grow to include all major manufacturers in coming years. Examples of leading yacht manufacturers that include electric propulsion options include:   

  • Arcona Yachts : A leading builder of high quality yachts from Sweden, Arcona is starting to offer high quality zero-emission models, such as the Arcona 415 .
  • Alva Yachts : The German luxury electric yacht brand has designed both mult-hull (non-sail) and monohul (sail) boats. The company’s 25-m Ocean Sail 82 was designed with a hybrid propulsion system and a high capacity battery bank.
  • Baltic Yachts : The Finish producer of luxury yachts and a world leaders in advanced composite yacht building in 2020 selected Oceanvolt for the company’s 68-foot Café Racer manufactured in Finland. The Javier Jaudenes designed boat is just over 20 meters long and 5.5 meters wide. 
  • In 2001 Elan Yachts and Oceanvolt agreed to partner to build a full range of electric-powered yachts ranging from the luxurious GT6 to the the sporty E-Line performance cruisers.
  • Hanse Yachts : The world’s third largest boat builder, Hanse produces the Hanse 315, which includes an electric rudder-drive option.
  • Salona Yachts : A Croatian boatbuilder, Salona builds the Salona 46, a fast, comfortable, and luxurious electric yacht and winner of the Best Green Boat Award at the  Newport International Boat Show . 
  • Sunreef Yachts Eco :   A manufacturer of luxury bespoke multihulls, Sunreef Yachts Eco catamarans are equipped with composite-integrated solar panel systems and lightweight batteries for energy efficiency and environmentally-conscious luxury cruising.
  • Wally : The Dutch yacht builder produces, among its many other models, the 11.35 meter Wallynano MKII, which relies on an OceanVolt electric propulsion system
  • Zen Yachts : A new company established in 2021, Zen builds what it claims is the world's first series production catamaran equipped with a wingsail.

Electric conversion companies

Who can help me convert my sailboat to electric propulsion?

A growing number of companies are dedicated to helping boat builders and individuals convert their yachts. These companies may provide design and support options for advanced battery systems, solar and wind systems, hydrogenation, and overall system design. Some of these companies produce their own electric motors and systems. Leading companies in the field include:

  • OceanPlanet Energy : This company includes some of the giants of the industry. Bruce Schwab was the first American to officially finish the Vendee Globe. Nigel Calder is one of the best known sailing technology writers, including his must-read classic, Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual. The company provides energy storage, charging, and monitoring systems; system design and consulting.
  • Electric Yacht : The Minnesota, USA-based company with the eponymous name supports sailors interested in electric propulsion systems. The company helps boaters design and size system and provides motor kits, batteries, chargers, and other components. The company provides examples of conversion projects on its website.
  • e Marine Systems specializes in distributing solar panels, wind generators, electric propulsion drives, inverters, and energy storage systems. The company is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
  • Naval DC produces both “pure” solar and hybrid electric systems ranging from 10 kW to 1 MW. The company provides lithium battery solutions, data and monitoring systems, electric propulsion, and matched propeller systems.

Yacht dealers

A small but growing number of yacht dealers offer new and used electric boats. Green Yacht Sales is an example of a small company that supports the sale of electric yachts and systems from diverse manufacturers.

Global clearinghouses, like YachtWorld and Boat Trader , now provide options to filter searches for electric propulsion sailboats.

Battery technology and companies

Until recently, the amount of energy batteries could store was limited. The cost of buying a new battery bank was prohibitive for most sailors. Today, however, costs are dropping and batteries provide more charge. Range anxiety remains one of the biggest reasons sailors don’t want to swap out polluting diesel engines for quieter and cleaner all-electric systems. However, this concern will soon be obsolete.

There are many high quality marine battery suppliers. Some of the major players in the LiPO market include:

  • ChargeEx Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Dakota Lithium
  • Dragonfly Energy
  • Victron Energy

Successful Examples

Okay, this all sounds good in theory, but is it really possible to throw out your old engine and install a new motor? Here are a few examples of individuals and companies making the switch to electric yachts.

As with many disruptive technologies, it is easier for wealthy individuals to pay more—often much more—for tomorrow’s technology today. That said, these Super Early Adopters are a harbinger of things to come. These individuals may be risk takers but they are also typically really smart and forward-thinking.

Swedish billionaire Niklas Zennstrom is one example of a pioneering “mogul” in the electric yacht world. The founder of Skype and former Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People awardee, in 2018 Zennstrom’s team launched Rán VII. Yachtingworld described the boat as “…so angular it calls to mind Darth Vader or a Stealth bomber.”

Zennstrom shared his views on the future of electric racing in a CNN article in 2018:

“Having gone through the design, build and initial test cycle there is no doubt to me that the future for racing yachts is electric propulsion. It's lighter, less drag, quieter, and most importantly it is environmentally friendly.”

Do-it-yourselfers have been converting electric sailboats for years. The mainstream boating magazines and the media are increasingly showcasing the stories of these sailors retrofitting their boats. A few examples of well-publicized electric yacht conversion stories include:

  • In 2019 Yachting World wrote an article, “How hybrid sailing yachts finally became a feasible option.”
  • Dufour 382: According to an article in Yachting World , the owners Alcyone , a Dufour built in 2016, was retrofitted with an Oceanvolt SD15 saildrive moto r.

The future of electric sailboats

We are facing a climate emergency and the world is mobilizing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. A growing number of boat builders, engine and battery producers, service companies, and individuals are addressing this need by building and retrofitting emission-free sailboats.  We are still in the early stages of this transformation, but change is coming quickly.

Some of the major challenges—and opportunities—for catalyzing this transition in coming years include:

  • Battery storage, charging, and cost: The pace of technology change in the battery sector is dizzying. The amount of charge, the time to charge, and the price per kilowatt of battery storage systems are all improving.  Superchargers are already widespread on land. How long will it take for marine supercharging stations to fill the world’s marinas?
  • Overcoming tradition : Sailors who have used the same technology for decades may hesitate to switch to new technology. Sailors used to heavy yachts and small batteries may look with skepticism on this new technology. Range anxiety is very real in the middle of the ocean. 
  • Cost : As with any new technology, early adopters may have to pay more. The cost of electric propulsion, solar and wind power, and battery storage are dropping quickly. Cost will soon be less of a concern and may become a clear benefit.
  • Retrofits: Many boats still sailing form 1960s and 1970s so 50 years of old boats locked in. But this is also an opportunity for individuals and companies who are willing and able to take this space
  • Manufacturing: making boats expensive and companies may not want to take risks. But new companies are emerging, and the major yacht companies now coming out with electric options (examples).

We are at the dawn of a new age of sailing. With each passing month electric propulsion technology is improving. Motors are getting better, batteries and solar panels are getting cheaper, and electric sailboats are starting to become mainstream.

Finding more information

If you want to learn more about healthy products, check out The Sail Greener Guide to Healthy Sailing . If you want to learn more about who is working to conserve the ocean, see our list of The Best Ocean Conservation Organizations for Sailors .

  • Sail Greener
  • Originally Published: February 26, 2022

Table of Contents

  • climate , diesel engine , electric motor , environment , sailboat , yacht

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Hazardous chemicals and compounds are used to build and maintain sailboats. Learn how you can use non-toxic alternatives to reduce your exposure to toxic substances and risks to your health and the health of the environment.

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The Best Ocean Conservation Organizations for 2022

Are you concerned about the the world’s oceans and want to help? Check out the Sail Greener guide to the world’s best ocean conservations organizations!

Recent News: Boats and Gear

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Orcas attack The Ocean Race

(June 22, 2023; Day 8) – As the final leg of The Ocean Race passed along the western shore of Europe before turning in to

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This Sleek 80-Foot Electric Catamaran Uses Solar Power to Cruise With Infinite Range

The zero-emissions multihull sports an innovative solar skin that continuously generates power at sea….click HERE to read the rest of the article from the ORIGINAL

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Exhibitors and Events at Electric Boat Show Milan 2023

The second Electric Boat Show is taking place at the Idroscalo in Milan this weekend and has a wide range of electric boat exhibitors and

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Historic sailing ship starts first cargo service across Europe

De Tukker, the first ship operated by Dutch sustainable shipping company Ecoclipper, has set sail on the firm’s maiden voyage — 111 years after it

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Francis Joyon “The great way to limit your carbon footprint is to have a very small budget”

On the occasion of Francis Joyon’s stopover in the city of Marseille, we went to meet him to discuss The Arch project and his vision

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An art contest to invent the sailing ship of the future

The association Windship launches a contest for children to imagine the sailing ship of the future. A great opportunity for sailors, artists and inventors to

World tour for model boat inspiring citizen science against environmental pollution

A model sailing boat which represents a key part of a project working to banish single use plastics has embarked on a global tour that

Torqeedo more than doubles warranty to 5 years on Travel electric outboards

Torqeedo announced today that it is introducing a new, industry-leading warranty that more than doubles the existing warranty from two (2) to five (5) years

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Solar panel: how to choose the right one for your boat?

More and more harbors are forbidding the use of electricity when you are not on board, for reasons of economy, ecology and safety. So how

diesel electric sailboat

Life in ocean’s twilight zone ‘could disappear’ amid warming seas

Less food is falling to dimly lit waters, home to specially adapted marine life – but emissions cuts would stem decline Life in the ocean’s

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Oceanvolt Servoprop, now available for large boats

Distributed by e-Nav Systems, the Oceanvolt electric motorization solutions are completed with a complete propulsion system available for sailboats up to 70 feet or 25

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Spirit Yachts goes all-electric for Southampton Boat Show

Yacht designer and builder Spirit Yachts will be displaying two electric drive sailing yachts at this year’s Southampton International Boat Show from 16-25 September 2022.

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Boats & gear news, products & apparel news, from seahorse earrings to jellyfish brooches: this ocean-inspired high jewelry is swimming in style, bendy solar panels are just as good as regular ones, societal cost of ‘forever chemicals’ about $17.5tn across global economy – report, seajet, a range of antifouling products for a cleaner and more eco-responsible hull, first sustainable and recyclable optimist launched, charter & travel news, hawaii fires: a visual guide to the explosive blaze that razed lahaina, ‘huge’ coral bleaching unfolding across central america prompts fears of global tragedy, biden administration’s gulf of mexico offshore wind sale on the horizon, clean me a river: southeast asia chokes on mekong plastic pollution, florida rocked by home insurance crisis: ‘i may have to sell up and move’, archipelago, a finnish haven of peace and nature in the baltic sea, oceans & environment news, noaa confirms june was earth’s hottest on record, much of greenland’s ice could melt even if world doesn’t get warmer, deep-sea mining spurs fish to vacate mining sites, study finds, protecting marine life also helps people nearby, study says, norway moves to open its waters to deep-sea mining, un adopts historic high seas treaty.

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PowerFlow Marine

Experience the Power of Clean and Sustainable Propulsion

Upgrade your sailboat today and start enjoying the benefits of electric power on the water!

Electric Motors for Boats

Powerful Performance, Quiet operation, &  Easy Installation

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Absolutely wonderful!

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Electric Power Calculator

Simulate the performance of your vessel under electric propulsion

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Don’t Miss Out

Get a free electrification report.

Our complimentary electrification report showcases the seamless integration of our electric motor system into your boat and outlines its impressive performance capabilities.

Passport 42

22kw direct-drive experience.

Sonya & Jack, a couple living on a boat in Mexico transform their Passport 42, Gemini into a fully electric vessel with the Powerflow Marine D22.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Quiet and vibration-free operation
  • No exhaust fumes or fuel smell
  • Seamless shifting between forwards and reverse
  • Having only one moving part significantly reduces potential failure points compared to a diesel engine.
  • Zero greenhouse emissions
  • No pollution released into your local waterways
  • Doesn’t scare away your local wildlife
  • Option to be 100% renewable with solar and wind generation
  • No more fuel and oil getting all over you and into your bilge
  • No more need to carry combustible fuels on board
  • Eliminate fuel costs
  • Higher energy efficiency
  • Charge from solar and wind
  • Reduced maintenance cost
  • Replacement components are relatively cheap

While sailing, our motor systems can harness wind power to recharge your batteries. Our display enables you to optimize energy capture by adjusting the braking level in real-time to match the sailing conditions. The amount of regeneration depends on various factors, with the propeller size being the primary determinant.

The motor size required for your boat depends on several factors, primarily the vessel’s size, weight, and operating conditions (such as currents, open sea, tides). User preference is also a consideration. As a rule of thumb, for displacement vessels, 1kW of electric power can replace approximately 3HP of diesel power. This may seem contradictory, but diesel motors are typically oversized to make up for their inefficiency and limited power delivery. 

To assist you in motor sizing, we have developed an electric power calculator to simulate your vessel’s performance. Additionally, we provide a complimentary electrification report outlining the performance capabilities for your specific boat.

We have engineered our motor with retrofitting sailboats in mind, prioritizing ease of installation without compromising on durability or performance. Our free electrification report includes a 3D model illustrating how our motor system fits within the existing footprint of your diesel motor. We provide custom mounting brackets and shaft lengths to ensure a seamless installation.

Electric motors possess comparable power to diesel motors, while offering additional features that make them highly suitable for marine propulsion. They exhibit greater efficiency, typically 2 to 3 times more efficient than diesel motors, enabling an electric motor with one-third the size and weight to match the power output of a diesel motor. Moreover, electric motors can deliver torque across a broader range of speeds and provide full torque from 0 RPM.

Electric motors offer the advantage of seamless bidirectional operation, eliminating the need for a traditional gearbox with separate forward and reverse gears. While certain applications may still benefit from a gearbox, it would only require a single gear, effectively eliminating the inconvenient clunk often experienced when shifting between forward and reverse.

Customer Projects

July 9, 2023, june 15, 2023.

Diesel Electric Propulsion: Is This A Safer, More Efficient Solution For Your Vessel?

  • June 18, 2017
  • Quite Interesting

Although the idea of powering your vessel with the indirect, two-step diesel electric energy transfer system may appear to be unnecessarily complex, its many advantages can make it a compellingly attractive alternative to a conventional direct mechanical prop-shaft drive. When under way all of the electrical power required by the vessel can be supplied from the diesel electric propulsion system, eliminating the need to run a genset.

A diesel electric power system can drive multiple propellers from a single engine or use multiple engines to power one or more propeller. In a twin-engine/twin-prop system, one engine can power both props when operating within the speed limits imposed in many areas. Electrical power from the vessel’s genset can be used to propel the boat, providing a built-in backup-especially valuable for vessels with single-engine installations.

Conversely, the propulsion system can serve as a backup for the gensets. The use of electric propulsion in certain vessel types is well-known. In marine applications, nearly all the energy is produced by diesel engines. Using an electric propulsion system, where the energy transmission is electrical and the propulsion and thruster are variable speed electrically driven, fuel consumption can be reduced significantly for many vessel types with environmental benefits.

Diesel Electric Systems have been in use to propel vessels for more than 100 years. Branobel launched the first diesel-electric ship in 1903, and since that day, diesel electric propulsion systems have evolved and today they can be found in all boat sizes and applications. But how do you know when to utilize diesel electric technology for your vessel? The investment in Diesel Electric vessels have doubled in the past 4 years, while the construction of purely mechanically propelled vessels have slowed down. But what are the reasons for this growth? Some of the benefits of the Diesel Electric systems are:

Effective design: The ability to locate your generators in any part of the vessel independent of where the power will be used;

Smaller Engine Rooms: Possibility to replace a big slow speed engine with multiple smaller generators;

Reduced Noise and Vibration: No need for long drivelines;

Flexibility: Capability to share the power of one unit with multiple devices (main propeller, bow thrusters, hotel load, pumps, etc);

Redundancy: Generators can be reassigned to cover any machine downtime;

Efficiency: Depending on the application the system can provide better fuel efficiency (mainly if there are requirements for long periods of low speed/load)

Fuel consumption savings calculation: The optimum operation point of a diesel engine will typically be around a load of 85 percent of the Max continuous rating (MCR). Moreover, the efficiency level drops quickly as the load becomes lower than 50 percent of MCR. With the help of the electric system, the mechanical propulsion prime mover is replaced by diesel-electric prime movers that will automatically start and stop as load demand varies. In comparison to a conventional vessel with mechanical propulsion, this enhances the efficiency of the energy usage and reduces the fuel consumption by keeping the average loading of each running diesel engine close to its optimum load point.

However, in some vessel applications, the load variations can be large and rapid. It is impossible to make the generators switch on and off every five seconds as would be the case with DP vessels. By using super-capacitors to supply the load variations, and hence let the diesel engines provide the average load, the peak power of the power plant will be reduced, allowing the average loading of the engines to increase to a more optimal point with lower specific fuel oil consumption. The savings in fuel consumption will depend on many parameters such as actual variations in the load, the average load and the number of prime movers.

In many installations the cost of a single-engine twin-prop diesel electric power system will be no more than a conventional twin-engine direct-mechanical drive installation. Properly integrated into the design of the vessel, the diesel electric drive’s many attributes will likely make it the preferred propulsion system for vessel owners and operators now and in the future.

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Electric Sailboat Motor: Range, Cost, Best Kits for Conversion

Today, owning a completely green sailboat has been made possible with electric sailboat motors.

Imagine cruising with the silence of an electric sailboat motor and the ease of use with a simple press on the start button. What’s better is there are no exhaust fumes at all with significantly less maintenance.

It’s so appealing that a lot of sailing liveaboards have made their electric sailboat motor conversion.

However, some sailors are still on the fence, worrying about the range and price of the electric sailboat motor.

If you are one of them, you are in the right place!

This post will guide you through every aspect you need to know about electric sailboat motors to help you make an informed decision.

Besides, you will get professional insights on how to make the electric sailboat motor conversion for your own boat and learn the best electric sailboat motors (with honest reviews).

Table of contents:

  • Electric Sailboat Motors: Confusion Explained

Electric Sailboat Motor or Combustion Motor

  • Electric Yacht Motor Conversion: Two Solutions
  • How to Size an Electric Sailboat Motor

Best Electric Sailboat Motors (with Reviews)

Electric Sailboat Motor

Electric Sailboat Motor: Confusion Explained

Can you go cruising with an electric sailboat motor? Can you put an electric motor on a sailboat? Are there any limitations?

Whether electric sailboat motors are a good fit for your boat is not a YES or NO question. Here we will explain your top worries with statistics and facts. That way, you can make a wise decision according to your situation.

You may hear some complaints about the batteries and range of the electric propulsion.

However, their experience may not suit electric sailboat motors.

In fact, even small electric engines work pretty well in many sailboats. That’s because most of the time, the wind can power the boat, and the motor is just used for docking or in rare times when there is no wind.

Therefore, it makes more sense to learn electric sailboat motor performance in real-world applications.

Here is a test report of a 3 HP electric sailboat motor on an RS21 racing sailboat:

As you can see, the small electric sailboat motor can run at 5.5 mph top speed for one hour continuously.

And there is a big difference in terms of range vs speed for electric sailboat motors:

If you lower the speed, the range and runtime can be greatly extended. The slower you go, the further you’ll get. For example, if you cut your speed in half, the electric sailboat motor can last 7 hours and go 20 miles within one charge.

That’s pretty sufficient if you use the electric yacht motor mostly for docking or as an auxiliary engine.

Faster top speed (and more range) is available with higher power electric sailboat motors depending on your specific requirements. Contact a specialist to design your electric sailboat motor solutions.

Also, don’t forget to get the electric sailboat motor with regeneration (See recommendations below).

That’s to say, when there is a lot of wind and you’re moving rapidly via your sails, they regenerate and store electric power on the batteries to keep you moving at other times. Solar recharging is also a plus.

Essentially, the range depends on how many batteries you have, so it’s not a limitation of electric sailboat motors but energy and batteries.

If you are still worried, you can offset this by getting a diesel generator, which is more efficient than a diesel engine. And it is a range extender when you need it, but for 90% of your motoring that you don’t need the range, you can rely on the electric sailboat motor.

Some of you might be concerned about the extra weight of the batteries.

In fact, an electric sailboat motor with lithium batteries weighs less than a diesel engine, particularly if you include the fuel weight.

If you want a lightweight electric sailboat motor solution, make sure you get one with LiFePO4 batteries . Compared with other marine batteries, they are more compact in design with much less weight and higher energy density.

Some more advanced electric motors for small sailboats (such as Spirit 1.0 Evo) feature an integrated lightweight battery. So you don’t need to worry about the complex wiring to hook it up or extra space to store the battery.

This is a huge plus if you want to use the electric sailboat motor on a tender or dinghy.

Electric Sailboat Tender Motor

Here is also a chart that collects the weight of some popular electric sailboat motors for your reference:

For many people, another big problem with electric sailboat motors is the cost.

It’s true that a gasoline outboard with similar power is a lot cheaper to buy. However, the electric sailboat motor eventually wins in long-term operating cost. That’s especially the case if you are going to do a lot of motoring.

Electric sailboat motors save on fuel and maintenance costs, which can build up to a large amount over time.

Here is a chart that compares the cost of a 3HP electric sailboat motor (coming with a built-in battery) with its combustion counterpart:

Electric Sailboat Motor Cost Comparison

That’s to say, you will cover the price difference for electric yacht motors eventually as long as you use it long enough. Click to check the details of the calculation .

What makes the electric sailboat motor even more worthwhile is it saves you a lot of hassles, especially for sailors who only use the engine in and out of the harbor. Dealing with the maintenance of the gas outboard for a 10 minute motor out of and into the harbor is disproportionate and painful.

*The higher horsepower electric sailboat motor may be different in terms of the cost calculation. Check out the outboard motor pricelist by HP for more information.

As you may have already noticed, electric propulsion has already been widely used in the marine industry:

It’s quiet while motoring, clean to handle, environmentally friendly, with less maintenance and operation costs.

The electric sailboat motors are easier to use with dramatically fewer moving parts to break and no worries about being a diesel mechanic to deal with the hard pulling start. You can have it always on, so it is ready whenever you need it.

And it makes even more sense in sailing applications:

You don’t really need to motor much if your plan is to actually sail. If you are completely becalmed, you will probably just need to motor at 2 knots to keep making way, which is easy for electric sailboat motors.

If you mostly use the motor to get into and out of the harbor, the electric sailboat motor also works great for you.

You can always charge up at the dock, motor out of the marina (or even motor to your sailing area or race start), then hoist the sails and when you’re through, the batteries are charged again.

The electric sailboat motor is also useful as a backup (kicker) motor in case your system goes down. That’s why you can see people pushing a lot of big boats with small electric motors. (Click to learn more information about kicker motors .)

Personally, it’s really nice to have an electric auxiliary in the boat – no smelly, messy diesel and motor oil to deal with, a much simpler system with less maintenance, and much, much quieter operation.

However, powerboats tend to have much higher requirements in terms of both power output and runtime. In that case, an electric sailboat motor can be hard to satisfy your needs.

ePropulsion electric Sailboat Motors

How Do You Size an Electric Motor for a Sailboat?

As a rule of thumb, you will need approximately 1 HP per 550 lb of the displacement of your boat.

Generally speaking, a 3 HP electric sailboat motor can push a sailboat up to 25 ft and a 9.9 HP motor is sufficient for a 30 ft sailboat to motor at a satisfying speed.

However, bear in mind the horsepower you need always depends on your needs and applications.

It’s better to check the data from real-world tests to decide whether the electric sailboat motor is suitable for your specific needs.

For example, the 9.9 HP electric sailboat motor Navy 6.0 allows you to go at 6.9 mph (11.1 kph) on a 30 ft sailboat, and the range can be extended to 46.4 miles if you decrease your speed to 2.9 mph (4.6 kph).

9.9 HP Electric Sailboat Motor Performance

Click to see more test reports with other electric motor and sailboat combinations, and find the electric sailboat motor that suits you best.

If you are still not sure about the size of the electric sailboat motor for you, feel free to leave us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP with professional suggestions.

Electric Sailboat Motor Conversion

Basically, there are two ways for you to convert your sailboat to a clean and quiet electric drive system:

You can either convert your current vessel to electric or buy an engineless yacht and install an electric sailboat motor on your own.

#1. Repower Your Sailboat with Electric Motor

If you decide to replace the diesel engine with an electric motor, you will need to do a lot of preparations:

The DIY approach requires an electric sailboat motor kit (including motor and controller), batteries, a good level of mechanical ability and basic electrical knowledge, as well as some common tools such as a voltmeter.

You will need to take the old engine out for the new electric sailboat motor installation. It’s not an easy task that involves removing the engine mounts and the drive shaft (dealing with the numerous hoses and cables), taking out the engine, exhaust system, fuel tank, and its attendant tubes, etc.

Remember to balance the boat to avoid listing during the electric sailboat motor conversion.

Then in with the new electric sailboat motor. The installation process can be straightforward if you choose the electric sailboat motor kit wisely (See steps below). Furthermore, you can set up solar charging for your electric sailboat motor with solar panels and charger.

Many sailors have recorded their electric sailboat motor conversion process and experience. Be sure to check them out to get some inspiration. For example, Ed Phillips has documented everything which can serve as a guide for newbies to get started.

Mind you there can be a whole heap that can go wrong in designing and maintaining the electric sailboat motor systems. You really need to be totally on top of it if you want decent performance or reliability.

If you are not that technically inclined, it’s better to talk to a specialist first to discuss your plan for a smooth electric sailboat motor conversion.

#2. Install an Electric Motor in a Sailboat

If you own an enginless sailboat, the electric sailboat motor conversion is much easier for you.

All you need to do is to find a reliable electric sailboat motor and install it in simple steps. The whole process can be easily done, even for beginners. Here we take the popular 6 HP electric sailboat motor Navy 3.0 as an example to show you the installation process:

  • Step 1 : Rotate the clamps or use the screws to fix the outboard onto the sailboat.
  • Step 2: Mount the steering system in the proper position.
  • Step 3: Install the tiller on the electric sailboat motor.
  • Step 4: Connect the batteries to the electric sailboat motor system.

Click to check the video tutorial that guides you through each step of the installation.

If you are worried about aesthetic issues and want higher horsepower options, an electric inboard motor can be a better suit for your sailboat. If you prefer an inboard motor for your sailboat, contact our OEM team to get an electric propulsion solution tailored to your needs.

Note : You might find some electric trolling motors rated by #s of thrust on the market. Actually, those electric trolling motors for sailboats can only provide limited speed and range. If you are heading into the wind, the trolling motors for sailboats are definitely not an ideal solution.

Once you’ve evaluated if electric sailboat motors are right for you, there are a lot of options for electric systems.

Here are some popular electric sailboat motors with positive reviews from customers worldwide. Fast charger is available for all the models recommended to reduce your charging stress.

#1. 3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo

If you are looking for an electric motor for a small sailboat, be sure to check out the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Evo. It’s suitable for large daysailers or small cruising sailboats under 25 ft.

Electric Sailboat Motor Spirit 1.0 Evo

With the Spirit 1.0 Evo electric sailboat motor, you can go 5.5 mph (8.8 kph) at top speed on the 21 ft RS21 sailing boat, or troll for 20 hours continuously at 2.2 mph (3.5 kph) according to our test .

This electric sailboat motor with regeneration allows you to recover energy from the prop while under sail. It will start to generate power automatically when the sailing speed reaches 2 knots.

Electric Sailboat Motor Regeneration Efficiency

As an electric auxiliary sailboat motor, it can also be easily installed on your tender boats or yacht dinghies since it’s portable and easy to transport (with a lightweight integrated battery).

Features You Will Love:

  • Come with the industry-first hydrogeneration capability
  • Direct-drive technology makes it maintenance-free
  • Portable with a 1276Wh large integrated lithium battery for long range
  • Safety wristband keeps you safe in case of MOB
  • Digital operation keeps you informed of the battery status

Spirit 1.0 Evo Electric Sailboat Motor Reviews:

“Great weekend with my 17′ sailboat powered by the Spirit Evo. This is great. Quiet and reliable. Went at 3/4 throttle for about 1.5hrs when taking it back to boat ramp.” – Robert Taylor

“Very happy with our Spirit Plus. Pushing our Kolibri 560 a 750 Kg sailboat, with ease. Doing about 5.8 km/h at 500W.” – Frank van Asten

#2. 6HP/9.9 HP Navy Evo Series

If you want a little more juice on the electric sailboat motor, check out the ePropulsion Navy Series. It offers 6 HP and 9.9 HP models for your selection and it provides sufficient power for sailboats up to 30 ft.

Electric Sailboat Motor Navy Series

According to our test , the 6 HP electric motor Navy 3.0 can push the Catalina 25 sailboat (25 ft) at 6 mph (9.6 kph) top speed, while the Olga 33 sailboat (33 ft) can go at 7.5 mph (12 kph) with the 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 motor.

The Navy series electric sailboat motor also comes with regeneration features which can be recharged with hydrogeneration, wind turbine, and solar panel.

  • Four controls to fit your sailboat installation and your boating style
  • Accompany LiFePO4 batteries (need separate purchase) are more energy efficient
  • Digital display offers real-time monitoring of the power and battery
  • Magnetic kill switch and safety wristband keep you safe on the boat
  • Electric start saves you trouble pulling the cord to start

Navy Series Electric Sailboat Motor Reviews:

“I have a Navy 3.0 with E80 on a Catalina 25 sailboat. It is working well. Currently I am using about 4% battery to go in/out of the marina by boat.” – Aaron Young

“Just finished my 8 weeks sailing journey in the Baltic Sea. The two Navy 3 outboards provide enough power for my 33ft catamaran. The 400W solar panels provided enough energy for engines and all other energy consumed on board with 2-6 persons. The two Navy Batteries provide power for engines and all other on-board electric devices. I never had to use shore power, so totally self-sufficient electric system.” – Martin Hildebrand

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Electric boats: A-Z of the 37 best all-electric models

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Electric boats are here and they are quietly turning heads all over the world, we pick out 37 of the most exciting all-electric projects being built right now...

Electric boats are here to stay. What started as a trickle of electric craft over the past few years has turned into a torrent with everyone from Riva to Axopar jumping on the bandwagon.

Hybrid diesel electric boats are by no means a new concept in the marine world, but the latest generation of electric boats, not to mention electric outboard motors , is proving that this technology is no longer something to look forward to in the future, electric boats are a viable option right now.

Here at MBY.com, we’ve been following the electric boats revolution with intent for over a decade and now there are enough models on the market to make this style of boat a true competitor to conventional diesel and petrol-powered boats.

With a network of fast electric boat chargers already in place along the French Riviera, and plans for many more in marinas all over Europe and the UK, it looks like the electric revolution is now fully under way.

Read on for our round-up of the best electric boats currently in build…

35 of the best electric boats in build right now


Near silent cruising at 5-7 knots is the electric Alfastreet’s forte

Alfastreet 28 Cabin

These Slovenian-built boats are now a common sight on the Thames where their elegant lines, large sociable cockpits and clever lifting hard tops make them ideally suited to lazy days afloat.

Although most of them are available with powerful petrol outboard or sterndrive engines for fast coastal passages, Alfastreet also offers factory-fit electric boat versions of all its models for inland use.

Designed for slow speed displacement cruising , these are built for slipping along silently at 5-6 knots with zero emissions rather than rushing about at speed.

The top-of-the-range Alfastreet 28 Cabin, for example, is powered by twin 10kW motors for a top speed of around 7.5 knots and an estimated cruising range of 50nm at 5 knots from its twin 25kWh batteries.

Alfastreet 28 Cabin specifications

LOA: 28ft 3in (8.61m) Motor: 2 x 10kW Battery: 2 x 25kWh Top speed: 7.5 knots Range: 50nm Price: Approx £150,000 (inc. VAT)

Article continues below…

Electric boats: When will the boating world be ready to ditch the diesel?

Volvo penta d4 hybrid first look: is this the future of boat propulsion.

Ski boats are all about instant-on torque to punch you out of the hole and leap on the plane. New California start-up Arc Boat Company is ensuring its upcoming Arc One ski boat will do just that, courtesy of its honking 350kW electric motor.

In case you’re wondering, that’s the equivalent of 475hp. Or around twice the juice on tap in the highest-capacity Tesla Model S. It also means a top speed of 40mph, and enough amps to keep you skiing or wake-boarding for up to five hours.

The aluminium-hulled 24-footer, with seats for 10, is the first offering from Los Angeles-based Arc, which is being headed-up by Tesla’s former head of manufacturing. He’s expecting the first electric boats to be delivered, with custom trailer included, this summer.

ARC One specifications

LOA: 24ft (7.3m) Motor: 350kW Battery: 200 kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 160nm at 35 knots Starting price: $300,000 / £226,000


The Boesch 750 offers all the style, heritage and performance you could wish for, and an electric motor

Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe

This exclusive Swiss yard has been in business since 1910 building elegant retro sportsboats for lake and sea use.

Unlike Riva , it still builds exclusively in wood using a lightweight mahogany laminate construction that it claims is as strong and easy to maintain as a modern GRP hull.

All its craft use a traditional mid-mounted engine with a straight shaft propeller and rudder steering for maximum reliability and a flat trim angle, making them well suited for use as ski boats.

The current range comprises six models from 20ft to 32ft, however only the models up to 25ft are available as electric boats.

The top-of-the-range electric model, the Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe, has twin 50kW Piktronik motors giving a top speed of 21 knots and a range of 14nm.

Boesch 750 Portofino Deluxe specification

LOA: 24ft 7in (7.5m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 2 x 35.6kWh Top speed: 21 knots Range: 14nm @ 20 knots Price: €336,000 (ex. VAT)


The Candela C-8 recently set a world record for electric boat endurance by covering 420nm in 24hrs

Candela C-8

With a claimed range of 50nm at 22 knots, overnight accommodation for two and a more robust deep vee foiling hull , this new Candela C-8 could be the electric boats game-changer we were waiting for.

Whereas the Candela C-7 looked oddly dated for such a high-tech boat, the C-8 has a purity of line to it that is fresh, modern and distinctive. With its vertical bow, slender beam and subtly contoured topsides free of scoops, slats or unnecessary styling lines, it has a pared back simplicity to it that oozes confidence.

It doesn’t need to shout for attention because every pair of eyes will be glued to it the minute it rises onto its foils and flies silently past the assembled onlookers, leaving nothing but a lingering aura of astonishment hanging in the air.

New for 2023, the C-8 will now be available with an uprated 69kWh Polestar 2 Standard battery pack, which considerably improves the range (as the Candela C-8’s recent world record attempt proved), and with the option of a center console deck layout.

Candela C-8 specifications

LOA: 27ft 11in (8.50m) Motor: 45-55kW Candela C-Pod Battery: 44-69kWh Top speed: 24 knots Range: 51nm Price: €290,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full test drive review of the Candela C-8


Electric motors powered by batteries, solar panels and ICE generators allow it to cruise night and day

Cosmopolitan 66

Newcomer Cosmopolitan Yachts is hoping to shake up the market for large electric boats with a striking new 66ft (20.1m) solar-powered catamaran called the Cosmopolitan 66.

An all-aluminium  multihull  design, the Cosmpolitan 66 features a vast amount of interior space thanks to a maximum beam of 35ft (10.67m).

The outside deck spaces are just as generous, with entertainment terraces fore and aft as well as wide side decks and a huge, almost square  flybridge .

Cosmopolitan 66 specifications

LOA: 66ft (20.1m) Motor: 2x 180kW Battery: 450kWh Top speed: 20 knots Range: TBC Price: TBC

Read more about the Cosmopolitan 66


Two-tiered windows provide big views and generous light down below

The new Vripack-designed Delphia 10 is a very versatile yacht. You can spec it with either a diesel engine of up to 110hp or an electric shaft drive from 40 to 80hp.

You can also tailor the layout to your needs with one of three standard arrangements. The Delphia 10 Sedan is a traditional pilothouse model with  walkaround  side decks and a large cockpit settee.

The Lounge model (pictured) uses a fully open design, with plenty of seating and a forward cockpit, securely contained within elevated side decks. And the Lounge Top model uses a large flat hardtop that makes a great platform for boat solar panels .

Delphia 10 specifications

LOA: 32ft 1in (9.78m) Beam: 11ft 5in (3.49m) Engines: Single inboard electric 40-80hp / up to 110hp diesel Top speed: 44 knots Price: £229,950 (inc. VAT)

Watch our full yacht tour of the Delphia 10


Duffy Sun Cruiser 22

You can’t talk about electric boats and not talk about Duffy. Since 1970, more than 14,000 of these surrey-topped, genteel bay and lake cruisers have been sold. In Duffy’s home port of Newport Beach, California, there’s an estimated 3,500 of them running around. It’s simply the world’s best-selling electric boat.

Beautifully-built, with cushy seats for 12, a built-in fridge, and a multitude of cupholders, the top-selling Duffy 22 makes the perfect cocktail-hour cruiser.

Don’t expect to get anywhere in a hurry. Top speed is a heady 5.5 knots courtesy of a 48-volt electric motor amped by a bank of 16 six-volt batteries.

One especially cool feature is Duffy’s patented Power Rudder set-up. This integrates the electric motor with the rudder and the four-bladed prop, allowing the whole assembly to rotate almost 90 degrees for easier docking.

Duffy Sun Cruiser 22 specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 1 x 50kW Battery: 16 x 6-volt Top speed: 5.5 knots Range: 40nm at 5.5 knots Starting price: $61,500 / £47,000

Four Winns H2e

Another member of the Beneteau Group vying to build the best electric boats, Four Winns will launch a 22ft model called the H2e in late 2022, which it claims is the first all-electric series production bowrider in the world.

Powered by a 180hp electric outboard motor from Vision Marine that promises a 35-knot top speed, the Four Winns H2e will get its American debut at the 2023 Miami Boat Show before going into full production in the summer.

Twin 700v batteries will be fitted, but there’s no word yet on the price or cruising range, but given Four Winns’ pedigree, you can expect the former to be very competitive indeed.

Four Winns H2e specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 180hp Vision Marine electric outboard Battery: 2x 700v Top speed: 35 knots Range: TBC Starting price: TBC


Frauscher 740 Mirage

The tag line for this Austrian yard is ‘Engineers of Emotion since 1927’, and given the effect its boats tend to have on casual observers, let alone the person sitting behind the helm, we’re inclined to agree.

Simply put, it builds some of the best looking boats on the market, combining rakish proportions with cutting-edge style and exquisite detailing.

Although it builds petrol-powered boats up to 39ft offering searing performance, it also offers most of its smaller craft with the option of silent, emissions-free electric power.

The Frauscher 740 Mirage is a perfect example of this, offering two different electric Torqeedo motors of either 60kW or 110kW. The more powerful of these delivers a top speed of 26 knots and a range of 17-60nm depending on how fast you go.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Frauscher have also teamed up with Porsche for an all-electric version of their 8.5m Fantom model, which is due to launch in 2024 as part of a limit edition 25-boat series.

Frauscher 740 Mirage specification

LOA: 24ft 6in (7.47m) Motor: 1 x 60-110kW Battery: 40-80kWh Top speed: 26 knots Range: 17-60nm @ 26-5 knots Starting price: €216,616 (ex. VAT)

Greenline 40

Slovenian-based Greenline Yachts can lay claim to kickstarting the current trend for electric boats. Way back in 2008 it launched the first affordable diesel electric hybrid boat, a formula it has been refining and improving ever since.

Greenline now offers an extensive range of cruisers from 33ft to 68ft, all of which are available with all-electric as well as hybrid or conventional diesel power.

The mid-range Greenline 40 is a fine example; the all-electric version is powered by twin 50kW motors giving it a top speed of 11 knots and a range of up to 30nm at 7 knots with a small 4kW range extender increasing that to 75nm at 5 knots.

However, if you need more flexibility the Hybrid model is fitted with twin 220hp Volvo D3 diesel engines boosting the speed to 22 knots but still allowing electric-only cruising at 5 knots for up to 20nm.

Greenline 40 specification

LOA: 39ft 4in (11.99m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 2 x 40kWh Top speed: 11 knots Range: 30nm @ 7 knots Price: €445,000 (ex. VAT)

Hermes Speedster E

Inspired by the curvy lines of Porsche’s classic 1950s 356 Speedster, this achingly-gorgeous Hermes Speedster from UK-based Seven Seas Yachts, has been spinning heads since 2017.

The rakish, Greek-built 22-footer typically comes with a 115hp Rotax Biggles-style motor doing the powering. But more recently it’s been offered with an eco-friendly, 100kW electric motor juiced by a 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Flat out it’ll do just over 30 knots. But throttle back to a more leisurely five knots and it’ll glide in stealthy silence for up to nine hours on a charge. Perfect for a trip up the Thames.

And for lovers of retro, it boasts a curvy chrome-framed windscreen, chrome-ringed gauges in a hand-stitched leather dash, bucket front seats in glove-soft marine leather, and chrome air intakes on the rear deck. A nautical piece of art? You bet.

Hermes Speedster E specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 100kW Battery: 1 x 35kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50nm at 5 knots Price: $269,000 / £203,000

Hinckley Dasher

Mention the name Hinckley and you immediately conjure-up an image of gorgeous teak-and-stainless, water-jet-thrusted Picnic Boats. But the legendary New England builder has been looking to the future and investing big in electric power.

Its first offering is the sleek 28-foot, all-electric Dasher that comes complete with a BMW-developed lithium-ion battery pack and twin 80hp Torqeedo Deep Blue motors. The high-tech combo can punch the Dasher to a top speed of 23.5 knots. Ease back to seven knots and it’ll run for over five hours on a charge.

Available as an open-deck, fishing-focused runabout, or classic-style windshielded day boat, the Dasher is a hand-built Hinckley bow to stern.

That said, while the boat still looks like it oozes with mirror-varnished teak and stainless fittings, the teak is actually hand-painted composite, the stainless is 3D-printed titanium. That flag-blue hull? Made of carbon-epoxy composites with carbon stringers.

Hinckley Dasher specifications

LOA: 28ft 6in (6.7m) Motor: 2 x 50kW Battery: 40kWh Top speed: 23.5 knots Range: 40 miles at 20 knots Starting price: $545,000 / £412,000


The electric Iguana is capable of three knots on the land and 30 knots at sea

Iguana Foiler

Iguana Yachts has launched the world’s first battery-powered amphibious boat, called the Iguana Foiler. As if that weren’t enough, it also features folding foils and retractable caterpillar tracks.

The all-new 33ft Iguana Foiler is powered by a specially adapted version of Evoy’s new prototype 300hp electric outboard motor fed by a 120kWh lithium-ion battery bank.

To reduce drag and increase range, it rides on a pair of curved surface-piercing foils that fold down from each side and a third T-shaped foil at the rear fitted to a specially extended lower leg of the outboard.

Iguana Foiler specifications

Length: 32.8′ / 10m Beam (min): 10′ / 3.1m Engine: Single 300hp EVOY electric outboard Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50 miles Capacity: 8 people Price: TBC

Read more about the Iguana Foiler


The compact Magonis E-550 is a refreshinghly affordable electric option

Magonis Wave e-550

Spanish newcomer Magonis may not be the prettiest electric boat on the market but it is certainly one of the most affordable, with prices starting from as little €33,485 inc VAT.

Admittedly that only buys you the least powerful displacement-only 4kW version but even the most powerful 30kW model starts at a relatively modest €68,960 and boasts a top speed of 22 knots.

The key to its performance is a lightweight resin-infused hull that weighs just 335kg, which is powered by off-the-shelf electric outboards from Torqeedo and Mag Power.

Despite its diminutive proportions the squared-off bow means it is Category C rated for up to six people. Battery sizes vary from 10kWh to 23kWh according to engine power, giving a range of up to 60nm at 5 knots.

Magonis Wave e-550 specifications

LOA: 18ft 0in (5.50m) Motor: 1 x 4 – 30kW Battery: 1 x 10 – 23kWh Top speed: 22 knots Range: 30nm @ 3 knots Starting price: €33,485


Mantaray M24

What makes this 24ft Mannerfelt-designed runabout particularly interesting is its simplicity. Unlike its main foiling rival, the Candela C-7, the Mantaray M24 requires no complicated electronics to ‘fly’.

Instead it uses the builder’s patented mechanical hydrofoil system, which it has trademarked as Dynamic Wing Technology or DWT.

The technology is said to be the result of ten years’ development work and uses a retractable T-foil in the bow and H-foil amidships that self-stabilise mechanically.

Mantaray M24 specifications

LOA: 24ft 0in (5.50m) Motor: 48kW Battery: 26kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 60nm Starting price: TBC

Read more about the Mantaray M24


The Marian M800 doesn’t make any compromises on style or speed

Marian M800 Spyder

This Austrian yard only manufactures all-electric boats so they can be designed from the ground up to suit the packaging requirements of the battery and motor rather than having to accommodate big petrol or diesel engines too.

The result is a supremely elegant range of retro-inspired sportsboats from 19ft to 26ft, as well as a more prosaic lake cruiser. The latest M800 Spider, launched at the 2021 Cannes Yachting Festival , is its prettiest boat yet, rivalling the Riva Iseo for sheer style.

With each boat being built to order, you can specify anything from a 10kW electric motor and affordable 200Ah AGM batteries for lake use up to a 150kW motor and 125kWh lithium ion batteries for a top speed 34 knots (waterskiing is also possible) and a range of 30nm at 16 knots.

Marian M800 Spyder specifications

LOA: 25ft 9in (7.90m) Motor: 1 x 10-150kW Battery: 10-125kWh Top speed: 34 knots Range: 30nm @16 knots Starting price: €238,560


Styling is a bold mix of retro design cues and futuristic detailing

Mayla FortyFour

German start-up Mayla Yachts is close to launching the first of its outrageous all-electric performance boats, called the Mayla FortyFour. Based on a Petestep deep-vee hull platform, this ultralight carbon fibre electric boat promises top speeds of over 70 knots.

Twin 800kW dual-core electric motors deliver up to 2,150hp of power to tunnel-mounted surface drives and thanks to the 4,800Nm of torque on tap, the second you apply the throttles, acceleration should be fearsome.

Power comes from either an all-electric 500kWh lithium-ion battery or a smaller 400kWh battery backed up by a 400hp (300kW) diesel generator and fuel tank. This hybrid boat version should give a maximum range of 270nm at 30 knots.

Mayla FortyFour specifications

LOA: 44ft (13.4 m) Beam: 10ft (3.0 m) Displacement: 6,200kgs Water capacity: 200L Power: Twin 400-800kW Battery: 400-500 kWh Li-ion Top speed: 70 knots Cruising range: 70nm (electric) / 270nm (hybrid) Price: TBC

Read more about the Mayla FortyFour

Anyone who has watched America’s Cup boats in action will know foiling does wonders for performance, which is the thinking at Silicon Valley-based and Sergey Brin-backed Navier, which is currently developing one very cool, and very clever, hydro-foiling electric dayboat, the Navier N30.

With its retractable foils and twin 90kW electric motors connected to a 80kWh battery bank, the carbon-hulled Navier can soar four feet above the waves at over 30 knots. Throttle back to 20 and the projected range is over 75 nautical miles, which Navier claims makes this the rangiest 30ft electric boat in the world.

You cake your pick from a Cabin version or open Hardtop, both of which come with a nifty self-docking feature (demonstrated in the video above). Navier says that the 2023 production run has sold out and it is already taking deposits on 2024 boats.

Navier N30 specifications

LOA: 30ft (9.1m) Beam: 8ft 6in (2.6m) Motor: 2 x 90kW Battery: 80kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 75 miles at 20 knots Starting price: From $300,000 / £226,000


Nero 777 Evolution

Designed in Italy and built in Germany, the new Nero 777 looks like a very appealing combination of style and engineering know-how. Due to launch in 2024, it will come with a choice of five Evoy propulsion systems ranging from 60kW all the way up to 300kW.

The latter will offer an impressive top speed in excess of 50 knots, making this one of the fastest electric boats in development. And with a Petestep hull, it should offer a very comfortable ride even at such rapid speeds. Bring the speed back to a leisurely 5 knots and the claimed range shoots up to an impressive 108nm.

Design-wise, the Neto 777 Evolution taps into the current trend for fold-down balconies, which can create a water-level beach club effect – no mean feat on such a compact boat.

Nero 777 Evolution specifications

LOA: 25ft 6in (7.77m) Beam: 8ft 8in (2.63m) Motor: 60-300kW Battery: 40-126kWh Top speed: 50 knots Range: 108nm at 5 knots Starting price: From €287,500


Nimbus 305 Coupe E-Power

Legendary Swedish yard Nimbus is renowned for its thoughtfully designed and sturdily built boats and the 305 Coupe is no exception.

Although originally designed for conventional combustion engines, it has been successfully adapted for electric use with the aid of a Torqeedo Deep Blue electric motor and a pair of 12.8kWh lithium ion batteries.

The recommended cruising speed is a modest 5.7 knots giving a range of 22nm at this speed but this can be almost doubled with the aid of a second optional battery.

Nimbus 305 Coupe E-Power specifications

LOA: 33ft 3in (10.07m) Motor: 1 x 25kW Battery: 1x 40kWh Top speed: 6.5 knots Range: 22nm @ 5.7 knots Starting price: €265,000 (ex. VAT)


One of the most striking elements of the Optima E10 is its hull shape. This stabilised monohull design features a slender central hull flanked by even thinner external ones, creating tunnels underneath.

This design enhances efficiency by reducing drag, allowing the boat to achieve fast displacement speeds of approximately 14 to 15 knots. The external riggers also contribute to the boat’s stability, ensuring a comfortable and smooth ride.

Measuring 10m in length (around 33 ft), the Optima E10 is powered solely by electricity. It does not feature a hybrid drive or combustion engine, thus maximising its efficiency. The boat is equipped with two 63kWh Kriesel batteries and a 40kW electric motor from Rad propulsion, equivalent to approximately 54hp.

Optima E10 specifications

LOA: 36ft 1in / 11m Motor: 40kW Rad Propulsion Batteries: 120kWh Kriesel Top speed: 15 knots Range: 200 nautical miles @ 6 knots Starting price: £400,000

Watch our yacht tour of the Optima E10


Pixii’s aluminium hull and powerful battery should deliver impressive range and performance

Pixii SP800

Although this budding British brand has yet to launch one of its pretty new Pixii SP800 electric sportsboats, the first one is already in build on the Isle of Wight.

Featuring a light but strong aluminium hull with either one or two electric motors linked to a jet drive and what is said to be a class-leading 150kWh battery pack, it has all the ingredients of a formidable contender.

We’ll have to wait to see if it lives up to its maker’s claims of a 40-knot top speed, but if it does, it would make it one of the fastest electric production boats on the market.

It even has the option of a remote anchoring system that lets you jump off onto a beach then drive it out into deeper water before dropping the hook!

Pixii SP800 specifications

LOA: 24ft 6in (7.5m) Motor: 2 x 25kW Battery: 1x 150kWh Top speed: 40 knots Range: 100nm @ 14 knots Starting price: £114,000 (inc. VAT)


Persico Zagato 100.2

Performance boat specialist Persico is set to launch its first all-electric superboat this year, called the Persico Zagato 100.2. Designed in collaboration with iconic automotive design house Zagato, the 26ft stunner is built around a revolutionary new steerable electric waterjet pod from Italian start-up Sealence.

The 100.2 part of the name celebrates Zagato’s second century in business, the new electric boat features a reverse bow, wraparound windshield, aft sunpad, rear bench-sofa and two front pilot seats, plus cuddy space beneath the foredeck.

However, it’s the ultra-efficient electric drivetrain that is likely to cause the biggest stir. The single 205kW  Sealence DeepSpeed  420 steerable azipod is said to give the new boat a top speed of 43 knots and a cruising speed of around 24 knots, at which the range should be almost 50nm.

Persico Zagato 100.2 specifications

LOA: 25ft 11in (7.9m) Motor: 205 kW electric integrated jet pod Battery: 2x 83kWh Top speed: 43.5 knots Range: 47nm @ 24 knots Starting price: TBC

Read more about the Persico Zagato 100.2


Q-Yachts Q30

This Finnish yard was established in 2016 with the idea of developing an elegant electric boat that gave the same swift, silent cruising experience as a high-end sailing boat but without having to worry about sails and crew.

The result is the Q30, a stylish open day boat with striking minimalist looks and a super efficient hull shape that allows it to slip through the water at speeds up to 14 knots, making almost no noise or wake.

It’s powered by a pair of 10kW Torqeedo motors and a relatively meagre 30kWh battery but such is its efficiency that it will cruise for 10 hours at 6 knots or 5 hours at 9 knots.

Q-Yachts Q30 specifications

LOA: 30ft 6in (9.3m) Beam: 7ft 3in (2.2m) Motor: 2 x 10kW Torqeedo Battery: 30-40kWh Top speed: 14 knots Range: 60nm @ 6 knots, 21nm @ 14 knots Starting price: €183,000 (ex. VAT)


Distinctive rebated topsides are a growing trend in small sportsboat design

Rand Source 22

Rand Boats claims its new Rand Source 22 is one of the most affordable electric sportsboats on the market, as well as one of the fastest.

Two electric boat options enable it to cover both these extremes in addition to a range of inboard and outboard petrol and diesel engines of up to 250hp.

When propelled by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue 50 outboard, it will carry a price tag of less than €100,000 but when fitted with Rand’s much more powerful 170kW electric inboard it will be capable of short-burst speeds of up to 50 knots and sustained cruising at 28 knots.

Rand Source 22 specifications

LOA: 22ft (6.7m) Motor: 170kW Battery: TBC Range: TBC Top speed: 50 knots Starting price: €63,900

Read more about the Rand Source 22


Ripple Boats 10m Day Cruiser

Hailing from Norway and launched at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival, Ripple Boats is a new brand founded by Frydenbø Marine and Pascal Technologies.

They have raised over €4million of funding for their start-up venture and their debut model will be a 10m day cruiser developed by Thorup Design.

Key features from the initial renderings include an extendable hard-top bimini with inset glazing, plus the now ubiquitous folding balconies.

Should this debut model prove successful, Ripple Boats have plans to build a wide range of electric boats from 6-11m.

Ripple Boats 10m Day Cruiser specifications

LOA: 32ft 10in (10m) Beam: 10ft 6in (3.2m) Motor: 2 x 93kW Battery: 190 kWh Range: 45nm Cruising speed: 25 knots Starting price: TBC


Only Riva could produce an electric boat that looks as pretty as this

Riva El-Iseo

As its name suggests the El-Iseo is an all-electric version of Riva’s entry-level sportsboat, the gloriously retro 27 Iseo.

The heart of the El-Iseo is a 250kW Parker GVM310 electric motor that spins a Mercury Bravo Three XR sterndrive leg. The prototype is capable of 40 knots, much the same as it delivers with its usual 300hp petrol or diesel engine options.

However, those who have driven the electric version say it’s the acceleration that really stands out. The quoted range figures are one hour at 25 knots or 10 hours at five knots, meaning a range of 25nm at planing speeds or 50nm in displacement mode.

Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi says that they will not start selling the El-Iseo or commit to a price until they have thoroughly tested the prototype and are certain it will deliver the performance, safety and reliability expected of a Riva.

The production model will be packaged with the latest electronics including a smart management system that reduces speed when the battery runs low and collision-avoidance software. “If it is going to be a Riva, it has to be perfect,” said Galassi.

Riva El-Iseo specifications

LOA:   27ft (8.2m) Motor: 250kW Battery: 150kWh Top speed: 40 knots Range: 50nm Starting price: TBC


RS Pulse 63

RS Sailing is the first British yard to offer a production ready electric planing RIB in the form of the RS Pulse 63 . With a super efficient hull design by Jo Richards, the man behind the hugely successful RS range of sailing dinghies, and styling by superyacht studio Design Unlimited, it looks like a really enticing package.

Power comes from a brand new 40kW RAD propulsion system, that claims to be safer and more efficient than an exposed propeller, linked to a bespoke 46kW Hyperdrive battery pack.

This delivers a top speed of 23 knots and a range of 25-100nm miles depending on speed but can be further increased with the aid of an optional extra 23kWh battery pack.

RS Pulse 63 specifications

LOA: 20ft 8in (6.30m) Motor: 1 x 40kW Battery: 46kW Top speed: 23 knots Range: 25-100nm @ 20-5 knots Starting price: £82,800 (inc. VAT)

Watch our sea trial video of the RS Pulse 63

SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E

As the name suggests, this German yard is renowned for its ultra light, high performance carbon fibre craft and it’s these same properties that make the SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E such a compelling electric craft.

This slender, low draught speed machine weighs less than two tonnes all up, including a powerful 360kW Kreisel electric motor and 120kWh battery. Hardly surprising then that it also holds the record for the world’s fastest production electric boat (under 9m) after scorching to a top speed of 50 knots on an Austrian lake in 2018.

Use the power more sparingly and the yard claims a range of 25nm at 22 knots, while a built in 22kW charger delivers a full recharge in just six hours.

SAY Carbon Yachts 29 E specifications

LOA: 29ft (8.85m) Motor: 1 x 360kW Battery: 120kWh Top speed: 52 knots Range: 25nm @ 22 knots Starting price: €396,460 (ex. VAT)


Silent 28 Speed

Silent Yachts ’ electric-powered Silent 28 Speed grabbed headlines at the 2022 Cannes Yachting Festival thanks to a claimed top speed of more than 60 knots and an impressive range of 70nm at 30 knots. The secret to its performance is a foil-assisted hull with unique surface-piercing propellers.

Pushed along by twin 100kW eD-QDrive electric motors hooked up to a 100kWh lithium-ion battery bank topped up by built-in solar panels, it demonstrates that serious performance is no longer the preserve of petrol powered boats. No price has been announced.

Silent 28 Speed specifications

LOA: 28ft (8.6m) Motor: 2 x 100kW Battery: 100kW Top speed: >60 knots Range: 70nm Starting price: TBC

diesel electric sailboat


A marriage of gloriously retro styling and cutting-edge foiling technology, this electric foiler was commissioned as a chase-boat toy by the same European owner that took delivery in early 2020 of Spirit Yachts ’ largest and most technologically advanced project to date, the 111ft super-sloop Geist .

She was drawn by Spirit Yachts’ CEO and chief designer Sean McMillan, who admits to taking his principal inspiration from a slightly smaller twice Gold Cup winning hydroplane of mid-1920s America called Baby Bootlegger , which sported a similar near-plumb bow, long varnished foredeck and a two-seat cockpit.

The vessel encompasses a modified electric motor, developed for motorsport, and three integrated foils. The claimed top speed is 30 knots, but the usual fast cruise speed will be in the low 20s, at which the quoted range is 100nm.

This was put to the test on July 17, with the SpiritBARTech35EF setting a new electric boat record for fastest circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight, covering 51m in 1hr 56mins at an average speed just shy of 23 knots.

Spirit 35 Foiler specifications

LOA: 35ft (10.6m) Motor: TBC Battery: TBC Top speed: 28 knots Range: 100nm at 20 knots Price: Available on application

Read more about the SpiritBARTech35EF


Super Air Nautique GS22E

Based on the petrol-powered GS22 wake surf boat, the Super Air Nautique GS22E is packed with the best features available. These include a hydraulic folding wake tower, custom finishes, a configurable cockpit, and a customizable running surface that can change the characteristics from ski boat to wake surf or wakeboard use via a simple touchscreen at the helm. The boat can even be optioned with an electric stern thruster to make docking a doddle.

As well as being virtually silent underway, this electric boat version can offer up to three hours’ use on a single charge. The huge flat torque curve of the electric power plant perfectly suits tow sports use and onboard telemetry constantly monitors and reports the engine’s performance.

The significant $140,000 premium over the petrol powered version means this model will not be for everyone, however the emissions-free GS22E is the first of its kind and potentially the wake surf boat of the future.

Super Air Nautique GS22E specifications

LOA: 22ft / 6.7m Motor: 1 x 220kW Battery: 124kWh Top speed: 37.5 knots Range: 2-3hrs usage Starting price: $312,952


Vita isn’t just a boat-building company, it also hopes to sell off-the-shelf electric drivetrains to other yards. Given the impressive performance and range of its own flagship LION model, this could prove a very smart move.

This elegant 10.5m day boat packs roughly the same amount of battery power as four Tesla 3 models and, thanks to a pair of 150kW electric motors linked to a single Mercury Bravo sterndrive, it goes like one too.

In fact Vita has to limit the amount of torque the motors put out to stop it shredding the gears. Despite this it maxes out at around 35 knots and can cruise for 90 minutes at 22 knots or almost 10 hours at 6-7 knots.

Vita LION specifications

LOA: 32ft 9in (10.5m) Motor: 2 x 150kW Battery: 235kWh Top speed: 35 knots Range: 33-70nm @ 22-7 knots Starting price: £750,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full sea trial review of the Vita LION


Voltari 260

Typically, the brand new Voltari 260 electric boat is all about going fast. With its high-torque 740hp electric motor juiced by a 142kWh bank of lithium-ion Evereadys, it can slice and dice the waves at an impressive 52 knots.

But when there’s a world record to be broken, it’s worth a compromise or two. So, to claim the gong for covering the longest overseas distance in an electric “vehicle” on a single charge, the Voltari streaked along at a heady… 4.3 knots.

That meant covering the 91-miles between Key Largo, Florida, across the often-boisterous Gulf Stream, to Bimini in the Bahamas in what must have seemed an endless 20 hours. But it got the job done, and on a single charge.

Voltari 260 specifications

LOA: 28ft 11in (8.6m) Motor: 551kW Batteries: 142kWh Top speed: 52 knots Range: 91 miles @ 4 knots Starting price: $450,000

Read more about the Voltari 260


The big claim for the new X Shore 1 is that it’s the first all-electric 30-knot sportsboat to be priced at under €100,000 ex taxes, making it the cheapest electric planing runabout in Europe.

With an LOA of 21ft 4in (6.5m), it is around 5ft shorter than the original X-Shore Eelex 8000 and €150,000 cheaper. It is powered by a 125kW electric motor with a single 63kWh Kreisel battery (the Eelex has a 225kW motor and two 63kWh batteries) but thanks to the 1’s smaller, lighter hull it boasts the same top speed of 30 knots and a similar range of 20nm at 20 knots or 50nm at 6 knots (the Eelex can do 100nm at low speed).

The X-Shore 1 is available either as an open boat with a half height windscreen or a semi-enclosed Top version with the aid of an extended windscreen, a small hard top and canopies protecting the helm. Unlike the walkaround Eelex, it also has an enclosed foredeck with a cuddy underneath for overnighting.

X Shore has also started branching out into the realm of commercial boats. Based on the Eelex 8000 platform, the first X Shore Pro is being used for school transportation in the Swedish archipelago.

X-Shore 1 specifications

LOA: 21ft 4in (6.5m) Motor: 125kW Battery: 63kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 50nm @ 6 knots Starting price: <€100,000 (ex. VAT)

Watch our full video tour of the X-Shore 1


ZIN’s waif-like sportsboat has a claimed range of 100nm at 13 knots

Seattle-based start-up Zin Electric Boats claims an astonishing range of up to 100nm for its pretty little Z2R sportsboats. Its secret is a super-lightweight all-carbon fibre hull that allows it to plane efficiently at just 13 knots.

As with many of these boats it is powered by Torqeedo’s 55kW electric motor linked to the same company’s 45kWh battery adapted from the BMW i3 electric car.

The first prototype reached a faintly terrifying 48 knots flat out but the production version is being limited to 30 knots to extend the range. Acceleration should still be lightning quick though thanks to the motor’s impressive torque.

Zin Z2R specifications

LOA: 20ft 0in (6.1m) Motor: 55kW Torqeedo Battery: 40kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range : 100nm @13 knots Price: $250,000 (ex. VAT)


Zodiac 450 e-jet

French RIB specialist Zodiac is developing an entire range of small, affordable electric RIBs in conjunction with Torqeedo, but in the meantime it has already started building a state-of-the-art electric jet-RIB, predominantly for use as a superyacht tender.

Powered by a 50kW Torqeedo Deep Blue motor with a 40kWh battery from the BMW i3 car driving a low drag water jet, it can reach a max speed of 30 knots.

It also boasts a useful 90 minutes of cruising time at 24 knots, equating to a range of 36nm. High quality Neoprene tubes, retractable seating and hand-sewn quilted seats help justify its price and intended target market.

The new 3.1m and 3.4m eOpen range won’t be quite as quick but will have a range of around 10nm at 12 knots, and with prices from €25,200, they’re more affordable.

Zodiac 450 e-jet specifications

LOA: 14ft 9in (4.5m) Motor: 50kW Torqeedo Battery 40kWh Top speed: 30 knots Range: 36nm @ 24 knots Price: €140,800 (ex. VAT)

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Electric boats

Candela raises record funding to solve the biggest problem with electric boats.

Avatar for Micah Toll

The innovative Swedish electric boat maker Candela has just announced its biggest funding round ever, reeling in €24.5M (US $26.6M). Fresh off the announcement of the first commercial user of the company’s new P-12 electric ferry , Candela is now flying closer to its goal of replacing combustion engine watercraft with efficient electric boats in both the recreational and commercial boating industries.

The company is well on its way to achieving that goal, using an innovative design with computer-controlled hydrofoils that help its boats fly above the surface of the water. The hydrofoils enable the boats to use 80% less energy than comparable vessels covering the same route.

That efficiency improvement is an even bigger achievement in the water than on land, since electric cars only have to consider aerodynamics when they push air out of the way. Boats dealing with the hydrodynamic issues of much heavier water result in significantly lower efficiencies. Electric boats thus typically require incredibly powerful motors and massive battery banks. But Candela’s high-tech hydrofoils mean the boats can be much more efficient and economical with smaller motors and batteries that still achieve longer range.

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And major boatbuilders seem to agree with Candela’s approach. In fact, one of the key contributing members of Candela’s latest record funding round is Groupe Beneteau, a leading global boat maker with a turnover of €1.46B, 15 factories, 9 brands, and more than 8,000 yachts built annually.

As the company explained, the move correlates with its own goals.

“Our investment perfectly aligns with Groupe Beneteau‘s ecological transition objectives, scaling up innovative solutions for more sustainable boating and unparalleled navigation experiences. Candela’s technology, enabling significantly more efficient electric vessels, will transform waterborne transport into its next sustainable phase”, said Bruno Thivoyon, CEO at Groupe Beneteau.

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It’s a major score for Candela, as the company’s CEO Gustav Hasselskog added:

“We couldn’t be more excited about having Groupe Beneteau on board. As the leading global boat company, their trust is a stamp of approval for our technology to transform waterborne transportation. We’re excited for the possibilities ahead.”

diesel electric sailboat

Candela expects the new investment round to help scale up production to meet demand for the recently launched Candela P-12, the world’s first electric hydrofoil ferry.

The P-12 marks a new chapter in waterborne transport, as it’s the first fast and long-range electric ferry on the market. Its efficient hydrofoil tech cuts lifetime emissions by an impressive 97.5% compared to diesel vessels, while simultaneously cutting operators’ costs in half.

Since it generates minimal wake, the P-12 has been granted exemptions from speed limits in many no-wake areas, such as on its maiden route in Stockholm, where in July it will begin cutting travel times in half compared to road transport and legacy diesel vessels.


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Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries , DIY Solar Power,   The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide  and The Electric Bike Manifesto .

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0 , the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2 , the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission , and the $3,299 Priority Current . But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

You can send Micah tips at [email protected], or find him on Twitter , Instagram , or TikTok .

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VESSEL REVIEW | Sinichka – Electric commuter boats designed for Russia’s Moskva River

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A series of three new electric monohull commuter ferries have already begun operational sailings on the Moskva River in the Russian capital Moscow.

Built by Russian shipyard Emperium, sister vessels Sinichka , Filka , and Presnya – all named after rivers in Moscow – are being operated by the Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development (Moscow Deptrans). They are the first units of a planned fleet of 20 vessels that will serve the capital city and other nearby communities. The new ferry system will be the water transport system to be operated on the Moskva River in 16 years.

Each vessel has a welded aluminium hull, an LOA of 21 metres, a beam of 6.2 metres, a draught of only 1.4 metres, a displacement of 40 tonnes, and capacity for 80 passengers plus two crewmembers. Seating is available for 42 passengers on each ferry, and the main cabins are also fitted with USB charging ports, wifi connectivity, tables, toilets, and space for bicycles and scooters. The cabin layout can be rearranged to allow the operator to adjust the distances between the seats and to install armrests of varying widths.

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An open upper deck is also accessible to passengers and is the only area on each ferry where smoking is allowed.

The ferries are all of modular construction with each ferry’s wheelhouse, main cabin, and other structural elements being built as complete, separate components. This enables the ferries to be easily dismantled for transport to anywhere in Russia by rail and then quickly re-assembled within seven days.

The ferries are also ice-capable. Recently completed operational trials on the Moskva showed that the vessels can also easily navigate under mild winter conditions with broken surface ice, though year-round operations are planned for the entire fleet.

The ferries are each fitted with 500kWh lithium iron phosphate battery packs that supply power to two 134kW motors. This configuration can deliver a maximum speed of 11.8 knots, a cruising speed of just under 10 knots, and a range of 150 kilometres.

Emperium said the transfer of rotation of electric motors to the propeller is carried out by direct drive. As a propulsion installation, a pulling rotary propeller-steering column with double screws is used. The installation of double pulling screws, with similar power, allows an operator to increase the efficiency of the propulsion system to deliver a slightly higher speed or to reduce energy consumption. This arrangement also provides the ferries with enhanced manoeuvrability necessary for navigating in close quarters.

The batteries themselves have projected service lives of 10 to 12 years and are fitted with safety features such as built-in fire extinguishers and gas vents. Quick-disconnect features allow the batteries to be easily removed for replacement or maintenance.

Some of our readers have expressed disquiet at our publication of reviews and articles describing new vessels from Russia. We at Baird Maritime can understand and sympathise with those views. However, despite the behaviour of the country’s leaders, we believe that the maritime world needs to learn of the latest developments in vessel design and construction there.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Béria L. Rodríguez

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Tags: Emperium Filka Moscow Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development Moskva River Presnya Russia Sinichka WBW newbuild

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The little (electric) engine that could: The Port of San Diego unveils the nation’s first all-electric tug boat

The 82-foot, all-electric eWolf tug boat, dockside at the Port of San Diego.

The 82-foot eWolf expects to eliminate 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide

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The nation’s first all-electric tug boat has docked at the Port of San Diego and expects to begin emissions-free operations in about a month.

Operated by Crowley Maritime Corporation , the 82-foot eWolf will escort ships entering and leaving the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal using electric power instead of diesel fuel, helping slash greenhouse gas emissions at the port and its neighbors in Barrio Logan and National City.

For the record:

1:58 p.m. March 13, 2024 This story has been updated to show the correct amount of government funding that went to the project.

“This is a big deal,” said port chairman Frank Urtasun at a news conference Monday. “This is new technology.”

Capable of speeds of up to 12 knots, the eWolf is powered by a 6.2 megawatt-hour main propulsion battery and two electric drives. The tug has thrust — also known as bollard pull in the parlance of the shipping industry — of 76.8 short tons, which is more powerful than the diesel-powered counterparts at the port.

Constructed in Alabama, the eWolf is equipped with two small generators for emergency use that allow the boat to travel longer distances at a reduced speed.

“Like an electric car, you step on the gas and it jumps,” said Paul Manzi, vice president of Crowley Shipping, based in Jacksonville, Fla. “All of the attributes that you have with an electric motor operation in a car or in an electric truck, you see here in the (eWolf) at massive scale. And it’s extremely quiet so when it pulls away from the dock you literally won’t hear any noise.”

The tug boat’s electricity will come from a charging station that is part of a microgrid facility equipped with two energy storage containers. Battery modules in each container have storage capacity of nearly 1.5 megawatt-hours.

Interconnected with the help of San Diego Gas & Electric, the charging station at the port is designed to allow the vessel to recharge quickly and reduce peak loads on the electric grid.

Operators plan to charge the eWolf overnight so it can perform its chores during daytime hours.

“This technology has individually been around for a while, but it hasn’t necessarily been integrated and optimized to all work together — and that’s kind of our role,” said Bruce Strupp, vice president at ABB Marine & Ports , the company that designed the boat’s propulsion system. “Some of the technology is our technology, some of it’s third-party technology, but we integrate it all together.”

The electric tug boat is expected to begin commercial operations at the port in mid- to late-April, depending on the completion of the charging station.

The all-electric eWolf tugboat at the Port of San Diego

Officials at Crowley did not release the eWolf’s price tag Monday, saying only that it cost about twice as much as a conventional diesel-powered tug boat of comparable size.

But, Manzi said, the company expects the eWolf’s maintenance and operating costs will be “dramatically lower” than what’s spent on a diesel-powered tug boat because the electric model has fewer moving parts.

The entire project — the vessel as well as the charging station — received four grants that added up to $13.67 million, with two grants of $10.9 million from the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, one grant of just over $2 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and $750,000 from the federal government’s Maritime Administration.

In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that directed state agencies to transition off-road vehicles — including tug boats — and equipment to 100 percent zero emissions by 2035.

By replacing one of the port’s diesel-powered tugs, the eWolf is expected to eliminate the consumption of about 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. In its first 10 years of use, the electric tug boat is expected to reduce about 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the port and its surrounding areas such as Barrio Logan and National City.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors and trying to be able to help to reduce emissions here to help the electrification movement,” Urtasun said, adding that the port has spent about $130 million on various electrification projects.

Last year, the Port of San Diego became the first in North America to install a pair of all-electric cranes to load and off-load heavy cargo. Each 262 feet high, the cranes replaced an older crane that ran on diesel fuel. Together, the cranes expect to help the port reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 47 metric tons per year.

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Check out Moscow’s NEW electric river trams (PHOTOS)

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Water transportation has become another sector for the eco-friendly improvements the Moscow government is implementing. And it means business. On July 15, 2021, on the dock of Moscow’s ‘Zaryadye’ park, mayor Sergey Sobyanin was shown the first model of the upcoming river cruise boat.

diesel electric sailboat

The model of the electrical boat with panoramic windows measures 22 meters in length. The river tram - as Muscovites call them - has a passenger capacity of 42, including two disabled seats. The trams will also get cutting edge info panels, USB docking stations, Wi-Fi, spaces for scooters and bicycles, as well as chairs and desks for working on the go. The boats will be available all year round, according to ‘Mosgortrans’, the regional transport agency. 

diesel electric sailboat

Passengers will be able to pay with their ‘Troika’ public transport card, credit cards or bank cards. 

The main clientele targeted are people living in Moscow’s river districts - the upcoming trams will shorten their travel time in comparison to buses and other transportation by five times, Mosgortrans stated. 

diesel electric sailboat

As the river trams are being rolled out, Moscow docks will also see mini-stations, some of which will also be outfitted with charging docks for speed-charging the boats.  

diesel electric sailboat

Moscow is set to announce the start of the tender for construction and supply in September 2021. The first trams are scheduled to launch in June 2022 on two routes - from Kievskaya Station, through Moscow City, into Fili; and from ZIL to Pechatniki. 

diesel electric sailboat

“Two full-scale routes will be created in 2022-2023, serviced by 20 river trams and a number of river stations. We’ll continue to develop them further if they prove to be popular with the citizens,” the Moscow mayor said .

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The Driven

Moscow to buy 500 more electric buses using in-demand green bonds

  • January 21, 2022
  • No comments
  • 2 minute read
  • Joshua S. Hill

electric bus moscow

Russia’s capital of Moscow is planning to purchase a further 500 electric buses, most of which will be paid for using proceeds from green bonds.

A spokesperson from Mosgortrans, the state-owned company operating Moscow’s bus and electric bus networks and representing the department of transport and road infrastructure development of Moscow, confirmed the purchase of the 500 electric buses to join an existing fleet of 1,000.

The state-owned company claims in its press release it is the largest operator of electric buses in both Europe and the US. However, The Driven notes a 2020 article from Transport & Environment says Germany had at least 2,900 zero-emissions buses as of 2019 (which may include hydrogen – we have contact T&E for clarification).

And this is a drop in the ocean when we look to China: in the city of Shenzhen alone there are at least 16,000 electric buses in operation, and nearing 500,000 in the entire country.

“In 2021, Moscow has stopped buying diesel buses for the surface public transport operator,” said Maksim Liksutov, the deputy mayor of Moscow for Transport.  “Today the city is focused on eco-friendly alternatives and is keeping up with worldwide electric vehicle market trends.

“In December, Moscow has received the 1000th electric bus assembled by the Russian manufacturer KAMAZ at the innovative SVARZ eco-plant. The e-bus is dedicated to ecology and environmental science. Next year Moscow plans to purchase 500 more eco-friendly buses.”

Nevertheless, Moscow has been proactive in deploying electric buses, having started only three years ago in 2018. Since then, it says its electric buses have completed over 60 million kilometres of operations and carried more than 156 million passengers.

Moscow is also, unsurprisingly, continuing to develop the necessary charging infrastructure to support electric buses and electric vehicles. Currently, around 170 charging stations have been deployed throughout the city, with another 115 to be completed by 2023.

The majority of the funds necessary to pay for the new electric buses will be sourced from green bond proceeds – with 400 buses paid for by green bonds.

“Nowadays, green bonds are in high demand in Russia,” said Vladimir Efimov, the deputy mayor of Moscow for economic policy, property and land relations.

“All funds from this project will be used for the purchase of electric buses and the construction of new metro stations. These transport projects have a positive impact on the ecological situation in the city and on the health of its residents.”

Moscow issued its first green bond back in May 2021 , designed to raise funds to reduce emissions from public transport. Immediate demand for the green bond exceeded expectations by 23% with the RUB 70 billion ($A1.2 billion) receiving 721 bids worth RUB 86.3 billion.

Joshua S. Hill

Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.

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    Pros and Cons of Electric Motors for Boats. What are the pros and cons of electric motors for sailing? Pros of electric propulsion. Less noise: Electric motors are quieter than diesel engines and nearly vibration free. Lower long-term cost: Motors last a long time and require no fuel. You need batteries and electricity, but the sun and wind can ...

  11. Best hybrid diesel electric boats: The best of both worlds?

    As the name suggests the 42 Hybrid is a diesel-electric hybrid boat that genuinely seems to offer the best of both worlds. Its single diesel 440hp Yanmar engine can deliver a top speed of 16 knots from its comfortable semi-displacement hull form, and a range of 600nm at 12-14 knots. This makes for effortless passage-making, even in conditions ...

  12. Ditch the Diesel: Electric Sailboat Conversion Tips & Tricks

    Get an exclusive @Surfsharkdeal! Enter promo code SAILINGUMA for an extra 3 months free at https://surfshark.deals/sailingumaBattery recommendations:EPTechno...

  13. PowerFlow Marine

    Electric motors possess comparable power to diesel motors, while offering additional features that make them highly suitable for marine propulsion. They exhibit greater efficiency, typically 2 to 3 times more efficient than diesel motors, enabling an electric motor with one-third the size and weight to match the power output of a diesel motor.

  14. Diesel Electric Propulsion: Is This A Safer, More Efficient Solution

    Diesel Electric Systems have been in use to propel vessels for more than 100 years. Branobel launched the first diesel-electric ship in 1903, and since that day, diesel electric propulsion systems have evolved and today they can be found in all boat sizes and applications.

  15. Electric Sailboat Motor: Range, Cost, Best Kits for Conversion

    With the Spirit 1.0 Evo electric sailboat motor, you can go 5.5 mph (8.8 kph) at top speed on the 21 ft RS21 sailing boat, or troll for 20 hours continuously at 2.2 mph (3.5 kph) according to our test. This electric sailboat motor with regeneration allows you to recover energy from the prop while under sail.

  16. Best electric boats: A-Z of the top all-electric models

    Rand Source 22. Rand Boats claims its new Rand Source 22 is one of the most affordable electric sportsboats on the market, as well as one of the fastest. Two electric boat options enable it to cover both these extremes in addition to a range of inboard and outboard petrol and diesel engines of up to 250hp.

  17. Marine Diesel Electric Engines

    Marine Diesel Electric Engines. With a decade of experience and hundreds of diesel electric packages in operation globally, Cummins is one of the pioneers in diesel electric propulsion. The company has developed in-house capability to design genset packages and support diesel electric vessels, long offering custom packages through the Cummins ...


    We are converting our diesel sailboat to be FULLY electric. Seth is the mastermind behind all of our sailboat restoration. He may not always be on camera, bu...

  19. Home

    Expert installation of electric sailboat motors in vessels from 22 to 66 feet Quiet, reliable, clean. For less than the cost of a diesel repower, enjoy the benefits of electric sailing. Take a demo sail with us today. Team Electric Blue Coconut Grove, Florida(939) 630-5957(786) 543-3412 [email protected]

  20. Candela raises record funding to produce flying electric boats

    The innovative Swedish electric boat maker Candela has just announced its biggest funding round ever, reeling in €24.5M (US $26.6M). Fresh off the announcement of the first commercial user of ...


    A series of three new electric monohull commuter ferries have already begun operational sailings on the Moskva River in the Russian capital Moscow. Built by Russian shipyard Emperium, sister vessels Sinichka, Filka, and Presnya - all named after rivers in Moscow - are being operated by the Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development […]

  22. The Port of San Diego unveils the nation's first all-electric tug

    March 11, 2024 4:43 PM PT. The nation's first all-electric tug boat has docked at the Port of San Diego and expects to begin emissions-free operations in about a month. Operated by Crowley ...

  23. Electric buses, electric boats and electric cars. How Moscow is

    Whereas a diesel boat emits 45 kilograms of pollutants into the water and 2 tons of carbon dioxide into the air per day, new river boats are safe for the environment and create no risk of oil products spilling into the water area during refueling; the related infrastructure is also environmentally friendly, Vladimir Basmanov, Deputy Director of ...

  24. Check out Moscow's NEW electric river trams (PHOTOS)

    On July 15, 2021, on the dock of Moscow's 'Zaryadye' park, mayor Sergey Sobyanin was shown the first model of the upcoming river cruise boat. The model of the electrical boat with panoramic ...

  25. Moscow to buy 500 more electric buses using in-demand green bonds

    Joshua S. Hill. Supplied. Russia's capital of Moscow is planning to purchase a further 500 electric buses, most of which will be paid for using proceeds from green bonds. A spokesperson from Mosgortrans, the state-owned company operating Moscow's bus and electric bus networks and representing the department of transport and road ...