Electric Back at the Show – Part 1: Boats

TIBS Magonis Lake 2

Feb 7, 2023

the Magonis e-Wave 550 on the TIBS indoor lake


Boat shows are back. For the past two years the largest indoor boat show in North America – the Toronto International Boat Show was virtual but this year it was in-person, again!

This was the 4th year I have spoken about electric boats for TIBS audiences, and it is evident from the reception and from walking around the Enercare Centre that interest in e-boats is growing day by day.

They are still a very small part of the market and far from mainstream – probably somewhere around six – eight years behind electric vehicles – but there was lots to see at the show.

One of the activities/events that received media attention was the appearance of an electric boat in ‘The Lake’, the 4-million litre indoor pool that hosts waterskiing shows and other demonstrations. There are obvious problems having internal combustion boats on an indoor lake, but a zero exhaust electric boat is a different story, so visitors got to see the Magonis e-Wave 550 go out for a spin around the pond each day. There were also demonstrations of electric jet surfboards from JetSurf and Radinn.

TIBS Rand 3It was a shame that shallow depth and length of the pool wouldn’t allow the Wave e-550 to show off all of its attributes, but having been on the boat in HuntsvillIe this past September I can say that the planing and speed of this 18 footer are impressive. The boat was also on show at a booth where boaters could check out the workmanship and detailing.

Near the main entrance to The Lake there was another European electric boat, the 23 foot Mana from Rand boats of Denmark, presented by Muskoka Boat Gallery. Rand is one of the pioneers of electric boats, founded in 2014 by architect Carl Kai Rand. You can see that architectural influence in the Mana, which is almost like a living/dining room on the water where up to 10 people can go out for a very quiet cruise in considerable style.

Across the aisle from the Rand was the Taiga Orca, the world’s only electric jetski. Taiga is a Montreal company started by McGill University graduates who developed an electric snowmobile, then adapted the motor and battery technology for the water.

Also at the show was one of the best known electric boats, the X Shore Eelex 800 from Sweden. With a very distinctive prow and profile, it attracted a lot of attention, not the least for its recycled cork deck. I overheard a local builder talking to the people from BCI Marine, who handle X Shore in Canada, about how impressed he was with the quality, craftsmanship and finish of the boat.

X-Shore EelexNow to the North American manufacturers. Here on these shores the focus for electric propulsion is mainly on pontoon boats. They are well suited for the new propulsion because many owners are more interested in socializing than speeding, and the large area under the flat deck provides lots of room for batteries.

Canada’s Princecraft was the only pontoon manufacturer that had an electric model on display, but there were signs and information at the Crest and Godfrey booths about each of their electric options: the Crest Current and Godfrey Mighty G.

Jeff Butler 400Jeff Butler is based in Toronto and is the Editor/Publisher of plugboats.com, the international website covering everything electric boats and boating. He is also President of the Electric Boat Association of Canada and is busy preparing to bring electric motor boat racing and exhibitions to Toronto Harbour in 2023 for the first Toronto Solar Boat Races.

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