· · ·

Plugboats: Electric boats zoom to 2023

Voltari 260


Dec 22, 2022

The Voltari 260, a new Canadian offering

 

It’s that time of year when all the prognosticators pull out their crystal balls and try to predict what will happen in the next 12 months. While it’s always a bit of a fool’s task to try to predict the future, when it comes to electric boats we know a couple of tings for sure. There will be more electric boats and motors available in Canada next year than ever before, and the pace of entries into the market is only going to increase.

Some of that increase will be from new products, some of that increase will come from products arriving in Canada that are already available in other countries where the electric boat market is more established.

A quick look.

Electric outboards.

ePropulsion OutboardWatch for ePropulsion outboards

You are definitely going to see more dealers carrying electric outboards in the coming months, and these will be both electric specialists and general marine outlets.

The big brands to look out for are Torqeedo, from Germany and ePropulson from China. Both companies were started specifically to design new electric outboards and they are generally considered the world leaders in both sales and innovation.

The new motors boast the latest motor and battery technology and have distinctive modern profiles. And both are rapidly expanding their Canadian distribution and dealer networks. The lower powered models have batteries that click in like those of an electric power tool, and they can be taken home to charge or can be charged at any marina pedestal.

ePropulsion electric outboards now come in a range of three powers: 1 kiloWatt – about 3 Horsepower, 3kW – about 6HP and 6kW – about 9.9HP. Torqeedo has a wider range of models available. Their .6kW and .9kW Travel models are smaller and lighter than the ePropulsions and are designed for use on small dinghies or to propel daysailers in the harbour.

The Cruise models are the main line of Torqeedo outboard, and start with the same power ratings as the ePropulsion models but then move up to 10kW (20HP) and 20kW (25HP) models.

The other outboard you are likely to see in Canada is the Elco, made in New York State. The Elcos look very much like classic gas outboards, with a powerhead and cowling, and being made in America, they are designed more for the typical outboard user in Canada who wants an electric substitute for a small tinboat or runabout. There is a full range that matches up with power ratings of 5, 9.9, 14, 20, 30 and 50HP. Torqeedo also has a 25kW (40HP) and 50kW (80HP), but the thing to know for a small boat is that with any electric motor, the higher the power, the bigger – and heavier – the battery.

The biggest news for electric outboards in 2023 comes from a Canadian company: VIsion Marine Technologies. They have been working on their E-Motion 180E for a couple of years as an option for boat manufacturers (more about that in a minute) and it is now also available as an addition/replacement for any boat. If you’re looking for speed and power, it is twin 180Es on the back of a Hellkat catamaran that hold the electric boat world speed record – 107kph.

Another new Canadian all electric boat, the Voltari 260, has just been launched and is available for order now. It couples a deep-V performance design hull with a 550 kW inboard motor (≈75HP) and can carry 11 passengers at speeds of up to 110 kph.

Mercury AvatorThe Merc Avatar prototype

The other big news for outboards in 2023 is the introduction of the Mercury Marine Avator. Full details are not available, but the company introduced a prototype model at boat shows last year and has said that it will be launching a model in 2023. Keep an eye out for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electric inboards

J Boats J9the new J9 with an e option

Electric inboards have been used on sailboats for many years, and it looks like 2023 will be the beginning of the mainstreaming of electric propulsion, both on new boats and for refits.

Boatbuilders like Beneteau, J-Boats, and others are already offering electric propulsion as either an option or standard on some of their models, and the companies that specialize in e-motors for sailboats all construct their units to fit into the spaces and mounting setups of popular diesel engines.

ePropulsion, Torqeedo and Elco all make inboard motors ready for installation into sailboats and you should also be able to find products from Oceanvolt and Electric Yacht with a little research. There are a variety of European manufacturers that are looking at the North American market, so if they are not here in 2023, they will almost certainly have models available in 2024.

The other option for sailboats is saildrives, which are also made by the companies above and are designed to fit into the hull openings from popular diesel or gas units.

Electric boats

Electric boats have actually been available in Canada for many years but have been mainly limited to wide displacement styles with canvas roofs designed for slow cruising and cocktail sipping. That began to change in about 2020 and the number and range of electric boat options is expanding rapidly.

Vision Marine has been manufacturing those slow fantail cruisers since the mid ‘90s, and they are still available, along with a more contemporary model, the Volt 180.

The real story, though, is the boats that will be offered with the E-Motion 180E. Four Winns is launching the H2e – the first, all-electric, series production bowrider on the market, and VMT has partnered with Limestone Boats of Collingwood ON to produce an electric Aquasport 2100CC centre console model.

One of the highest profile e-boats, the X Shore 1 from Sweden, is being handled in Canada by BCI Marine. X Shore has built a huge assembly line style manufacturing plant in their home country and has designed the X Shore 1 to be the most affordable of premium electric boats.

Frauscher 650 Alassiothe new Frauscher 650 Alassio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride Marine Group also handles electric boats with the 610 San Remo and 740 Mirage Air from Frauscher Boats and the all-electric tow/wakeboard boat by Nautique, the GS22E.

Princecraft BRIOPrincecraft’s Brio

On the pontoon boat side of things, Princecraft has their Brio line of electrified ‘toons, powered by Torqeedo outboards. Other pontoon style boats are available from Ingenity Electric and Pure Watercraft of the US, and there are several other established manufacturers who will be offering electric as an option for 2023.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magonis Huracanwatch for the new Magonis Huracan 2

A new model by Spanish manufacturer Magonis makes its debut in Canada for 2023 and is being distributed by Segway Powersports with dealers across the country. The Wave e-550 is a sleek little 18-footer that holds two to four people and is designed as small runabout that can also be used for a silent late-night cruise on the lake.

There’s more

The keen observer will note that the two things not covered here are the price of the boats and the range – probably the two biggest questions people have about electric boats. The details are different for each motor and boat, of course, but the overall answer is consistent.

While electric is a different form of propulsion than internal combustion, everything has to follow the laws of physics and economics. When it comes to physics, higher speeds use the available energy source faster than lower speeds.

When it comes to economics, larger motors and boats are more expensive than smaller motors and boats. Having said that, the upfront cost of an electric boats is indeed higher than that for a comparable fossil fuel boat, while the ‘refueling’ and maintenance costs are considerably less.

Whether this is the year of the electric boat for you or not, you can be sure that by this time there will be even more options available, and that trend is only going to speed up.

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.

Related Articles


Sylvan G3 CLZ DC: Luxury For Everyone

Sylvan’s brilliant G3 CLZ DC brings an entirely new level of performance, comfort and versatility to Canadian boaters.

By Craig Ritchie

While Canadians may have been slower to warm to pontoon boats than our southern neighbours, that’s definitely changed as we see more of them gracing our waters every year. The latest data shows pontoon boats now represent around 30% of all new boats sold in Canada and it’s easy to understand why – with their interior space and tremendous versatility, pontoons are near-perfect family runabouts.

Read More


Destinations

Cruising Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands: Canada’s Freshwater Paradise for Boaters

By Elizabeth Wilson, “Georgian Bay Beauties” (www.GeorgianBayBeauties.org)

The Plan

It’s a beautiful morning as we perform our pre-departure checklist, fire up the engines and prepare to release our lines. And if the long-range forecast of very low winds coupled with plenty of sunshine holds, that’s exactly what we need for the areas we plan to explore on this trip! 

We are departing Midland for a week of visiting some of the islands and anchorages within Georgian Bay’s “30,000 Islands” – specifically those along the western edge. These are the less protected islands which face toward wide-open Georgian Bay, where boaters often have to depart the small craft route and work a little harder at setting the hook but are then rewarded with magnificent western views, stunning sunsets, and so much to explore! 

Read More