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Solar What?

Apr 20, 2022

In July 2019, I met with Jeff Butler, who I hadn’t encountered before. Jeff was all fired up about a pet project called the Toronto Solar Boat Race. He had a lot of information, he had partners like Harbourfront and the RCYC. “University teams build boats and race. It’s huge in Europe,” he explained to non-solar, non-electric-boat me. Jeff’s enthusiasm convinced me and CYOB ran the story that September.

It seems ages ago that electric boats were a niche, even electric cars were a figment of Elon Musk’s optimism and solar power was an off-the-grid dream. But Jeff Butler was convinced.
Sadly, a lot of things like Covid got in the way but happily Jeff increasingly continued his enthusiasm. So did a lot of electric power manufacturers so where there were once just a few electric boat power companies (that frankly were seen as fringe players), there are now many more and several big players like General Motors and Mercury are working on electric solutions.

Jeff Butler doubled down and founded Plugboats, which today is certainly the Canadian, likely North American and possibly world leader in electric boating technology information. With great pleasure we welcome Jeff back to CYOB as a continuing columnist who will bring his Plugboat expertise to our pages on a regular basis. If his column whets your appetite for the electric side of things, a subscription to Plugboats could be just the ticket.

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