Plugboats: Fourth international Gussies underway.

Vision Marine Hellkat

The Gustave Trouvé Awards for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating – The Gussies for short – are now open for nominations and there is every reason to believe that this year’s edition will be the biggest yet.

Aug 24, 2023

Vision Marine Technologies/Hellkats power catamaran


The Gustave Trouvé Awards for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating – The Gussies for short – are now open for nominations and there is every reason to believe that this year’s edition will be the biggest yet.

The awards were started in 2020 by the Toronto-based electric boats website Plugboats to celebrate and promote the fledgling industry’s designers and builders. (Full disclosure, Jeff Butler, the Editor and Founder of Plugboats and the Awards, is writing this column.) It is named after a prolific 19th century French inventor who counts among his innovations the metal detecting wand, which was first used to search for shrapnel in French soldiers.

In 1881 he turned his hand to developing a boat propelled by an electric motor, but got tired of lugging the entire works out of the Seine and taking it back to his Paris apartment to work on it. He figured out a way to make the motor detachable and – Eureka! – the world’s first outboard motor was born.

In 2020, one hundred and thirty nine years later, there were 26 boat manufacturers who entered the first awards named in his honour. In 2021 there were over 100, last year there were 126 and there seems little doubt that number will rise for 2023.

There are now 9 categories in The Gussies. Three of them – Electric Boats Up To 8m / 26 ft, Over 8m / 26 feet and Commercial Passenger Boats – have awards for both vessels in production and in development. The other awards are for Electric Sailboats, Electric Workboats, and boats that have been Refitted, Customized or DIY’ed for electric propulsion.

Anyone can nominate a boat – manufacturer, supplier or member of the public. Nominations close September 4 and then an International Judging Panel of electric boating experts selects the Finalists in each category. The public begins voting on which boats are their favourites and the winners will be chosen on October 15 through a combination of weighted votes – the Judging Panel at 75% and the public at 25 per cent.

The Panel is made up of representatives fromsix electric boat associations around the world (including Canada’s), the International Foiling Awards, the Monaco Energy Boat Challenge and all of the Gussies Winners from the first three years of the awards.

The past winners represent 15 different countries and include the Candela hydrofoiling speedboat, a wooden electric runaboat from Italy’s 175 year-old Cantiere (boatyard) Ernesto Riva and the Aditya solar-powered ferry from India that has transported more than 4 million commuters since its launch in 2016.

Marilyn Bell

Canada was represented by the Marilyn Bell I ferry that services Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport; Harvest, a 35-foot solar electric catamaran project that completed a 2,000 km Great Lakes-Trent Severn Waterway loop in 25 days; and the Vision Marine Technologies/Hellkats power catamaran that smashed the electric boat speed record last year with a new mark of 109 mph.

The largest entry in 2022 was the 111-meter Tyco Brahe battery-electric ferry from Denmark while the smallest was a 10 foot plywood and fibreglass runabout in the DIY category. There was everything in between, including hydrofoiling watertaxis, electric tugboats, electric watersport towboats, a solar catamaran with wingsails and sailboats from a dozen manufacturers that now offer electric as their mechanical propulsion.

Due to the remarkable growth of and interest in electric boats, it is expected that there will be 150 nominated boats this year. Allied Market research and other forecasters predict that the industry sales will triple from now to 2030, with worldwide sales of $15-16 billion USD.

If you or someone you know would like to nominate an electric boat in the Gustave Trouvé awards, the link is: Nominations close Labour Day, Monday September 4 at midnight EDT.

Jeff ButlerJeff Butler is based in Toronto and is the Editor/Publisher of, 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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