Electrification: fad or revolution?

Editors Message

Jan 27, 2022

Vision Marine took its E-Motion™ 180hp fully electric powertrain on a Starcraft EX 22 foot pontoon boat to IBEX 2021

Many changes in our universe appear to happen overnight when, in reality, they have been going on for some time while we were too saturated to notice. Then BOOM – we’re immersed in some new idea and it’s taking over the world.

So here’s a question for us to ponder: are boats going electric? As you know, electric boats have been around for a century in a small way, but suddenly they are showing up in a much bigger way.

I got my first wake up on this five years ago at a boat show in Europe where Torqeedo, whose electric outboards had some minimal traction but almost exclusively in western Euro countries, was running seminars about big boat hybrids and even all electric power plants in cruisers. Even just a few years ago, the seminars were sparsely attended, perhaps dismissed as pie in the boating sky.

I guess we are seeing the automotive story repeating. Tesla was fringe; now the big auto companies are racing to catch up. In the boat world, a decade later, there’s suddenly charging stations on the docks for runabouts, sailing racing marks are being placed by big orange Roomba-like, self-propelled marks that drive themselves to the proper position. Canadian pioneer Vision Marine Technologies is soaring and traditional builders like Collingwood-based Limestone are teaming up to accelerate the adoption. GM (yes, that GM) is investing in electric marine drives.

Passing fad, I doubt it. A revolution that sees a meaningful adoption of charging stations, zero emission boats seems like an increasingly probable reality.

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