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Flora
Sep 9, 2022  •  14 min

Electric Boat: The Latest Technology & Best Solutions in 2022

The era of the electric boat is already here.

  • The electric boat market was valued at $5.02 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow to $16.64 billion in 2031, at a CAGR of 12.9%, according to the industry report.
  • More and more lakes are prohibiting gas motors with “ELECTRIC BOAT MOTOR ONLY”, and Amsterdam takes a further step to ban petrol and diesel-powered boats by 2025.
  • Electric boat companies are expanding their product lines to higher horsepower offerings and more and more combustion motor manufacturers are developing electric boat motor business.

Believe it or not, the electric boat age is arriving sooner than you may think.

Many of you might concern about (or hear complaints about) the electric boat engine in terms of its range, power, weight, and price, which seem to be real worries.

The fact is whether the electric boat is a good option totally depends on your specific applications and needs, and the electric boat has already been a solid (if not the best) option for a lot of boating situations.

The electric boat industry is developing fast to cover more and more boating applications

Curious to learn more about electric boating?

Stay with us for a few minutes to check out the latest technologies in electric boats, their performances, cost, and the best affordable options available to convert your electric boat.

Table of content:

Electric Boat

Electric Boat: Future or Reality

Are there any realistic electric boats yet? Is the electric boat the future?

The simple answer is YES, with new technologies on batteries and motors. And that’s especially true for smaller boats – it’s also budget-wise (Check out why).

The fact is that electric boats are tackling a lot more challenges than electric cars. It’s easy to understand that extra weight means extra momentum for cars, but for boats, it’s pure drag. That means the energy to push a car at 60 mph can only probably push a boat at 30 mph.

However, just like trolling motors have now become a standard for the fishing community to provide a quiet trolling experience, the higher power electric motor for larger boats is also possible today.

The most critical thing is to make sure the electric boat options can satisfy your requirements within your budget. The best way to answer the question is to check what the electric boat technology can offer today so you can make your own decision.

Power

It’s safe to say that you can find an electric boat solution for almost all your boating applications today, especially for leisure boating requirements.

A surprising fact is that the power range for the electric boat motor can go up to 460 kW, equivalent to 600 HP. That’s tremendous power for electric boats, allowing you to reach a maximum speed of 50 knots on a 30ft boat and cruise at an extensive range.

While the monstrous 600 HP electric boat engine is enticing, it’s not for everyone due to the price, availability, and also the market demands.

More common and readily available high-power electric boats go at a power range of about 100 kW. For example, the ePropulsion H-100 electric inboard motor provides 140 HP equivalent power, suitable for larger sailing boats and motor vessels between 60 to 100’ (18-30m) with a full displacement of up to 200 tons.

You may also find some smaller electric boats equipped with electric motors below 10 HP, such as the 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 and 6 HP Navy 3.0. This setup is getting very popular as it’s affordable and provides so many advantages over combustion alternatives.

Range

The range of electric boats can be a huge concern for many boaters. No one wants to run out of juice in the middle of the water.

The fact is that the range of electric boats varies among different applications, and it depends on a lot of factors, including the battery capacity, hull types, and sailing speed.

The range of electric boats has been greatly extended due to the modern battery and motor technologies.

According to the statistics, the most powerful electric boat today can provide you with about 50 nautical miles in planning speed and over 200 nautical miles in cruising speed, which can already cover most of your boating needs.

So if you plan to go electric, you can always find a solution.

If you are looking for a pontoon electric boat or electric solutions to outfit your dinghies or any other leisure boats or smaller vessels, you will have many affordable options that provide you with decent speed and range, including the following:

 PowerRange @ top speedRange @ 1/3 speedBattery
Navy 6.0 Evo6 kW (9.9 HP)22.5 miles45 milesE175 (8960 Wh)
Navy 3.0 Evo3 kW (6 HP)13.6 miles49.3 milesE175 (8960 Wh)
Spirit 1.0 Evo1 kW (3 HP)7.8 miles80 milesSpirit battery (1276 Wh)

*Data collected on a 12-foot aluminum boat with one person onboard in calm water conditions.

As you may have noticed, electric boats can have extended range and runtime if you adjust them to lower speed settings. That’s to say, you can go fishing all day long at trolling speed.

Charging

Charging is easy with electric boats, given that the most marina’s offer shore power which can be used to charge your electric boat on a standard 16a socket.  Some lightweight electric motors, including the 3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo, feature an integrated lightweight battery that allows you to remove it easily and take it home for quick charge.

Generally speaking, you can get your electric boat charged overnight, and some electric motor batteries support fast charging and can be fully charged within a few hours.

Charge TimeFast ChargingStandard Charging
Spirit Battery (1276 Wh)3.5 hours*8.5 hours
E175 battery (8960 Wh)3.5 hours**7 hours

*Data is tested with fast charger which requires a separate purchase.
**Data is collected using three chargers in parallel connection.

Besides that, electric boats usually support various charging options, including solar panels and wind turbines. If you are a sailboat owner, you may also enjoy the convenience of hydrogeneration that allows the batteries to get charged from wind and water.

Further ReadingHydrogeneration: The Importance of Hydro Electric Power & How It Works

Weight

If your were looking at repowering a 30ft sailing boat with electric, the weight difference is very mimium compared to the orginal motor and fuel tank. It can often mean you can get the weight position in a more central placement in the vessel.

Another good news is that the heavy and less efficient lead-acid battery is no longer the only or preferred choice for building an electric boat.

With the advances in battery technology, you now have better options to make the full electric boat solution work for you. 

Currently, the lithium battery (LiFePO4 battery, to be more specific) provides you the best answer to build electric boats, thanks to the following benefits compared with the traditional lead acid batteries:

  • Lightweight: 70% less weight 
  • High efficiency: 50% more useable capacity
  • Compact: Takes 50% less space
  • Long lifespan: Lasts 4 to 5 times longer
  • Competitive price: Unit price is as low as $0.5 per watt-hour
  • Safe: Zero leak and fire risk
  • Easy to maintain: No maintenance is required

So what’s the weight exactly? Let’s take the ePropulsion E-Series battery as an easy example.

BatteryCapacityWeightDimensions
E402048 Wh28 kg / 61.7 lbs16.5 × 15.4 × 8.2 inches
E804096 Wh53 kg / 116.8 lbs21.9 × 17.3 × 8.4 inches
E1758960 Wh87 kg / 191.8 lbs19.7 × 22.2 × 10.9 inches

Modern batteries are lighter-weight and cost-effective with a long lifespan and minimal maintenance, making electric boats a more viable option than ever.

Further ReadingAll You Need to Know About Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries (LiFePO4)

Price

The price is a big factor to consider for the electric boat conversion, and this includes the price for the motor and the batteries.

It’s worth mentioning that the modern LiFePO4 battery is not only efficient but also cost-effective, thanks to its greatly increased usable capacity. For example, the E-Series battery only costs about $0.5 per watt-hour, making it affordable for leisure and commercial uses.

Although the price for electric boats has dropped over the years as the technology improves and more competitors come into the market, you will still find the initial cost of electric boats can be higher than their combustion counterparts.

However, if you consider the cost in the long run, you might come to a different conclusion. That’s due to the cost savings of electric boats in fuel bills and lifetime maintenance.

You will eventually find electric boats cheaper after a few years of use. Here is a chart that compares the cost of electric boat motors and combustion motors in the same power range:

Electric Boat vs Combustion Boat

Besides that, you will gain a lot of benefits if you go with the higher initial payment method.

Top 5 Benefits of Electric Boats

If the current electric boat technology works for you, you can unlock tons of benefits from it. In fact, some are using the electric boat motors as a second or kicker motor to serve part of their boating needs, such as getting on and off a mooring or in and out of the marina.

Electric boats provide a premium boating experience you can never imagine with the petrol and diesel rivals. Let’s check out what you can expect from electric boats.

  • Quiet: The electric boats are virtually silent. Perfect for not spooking fish when you are fishing.
  • Clean: There isno messy fuel or oil leaks with electric boats, and therefore no greasy stains on your hands, car trunk, or boat.
  • Low maintenance: Significantly lower maintenance required than combustion engines. (Click to learn more about the electric boat maintenance)
  • Eco-Friendly: It’s exhaust free and can be recharged with hydrogeneration, wind turbine and solar panel.
  • Future-Proof: The electric boats enable boaters to access waters where combustion engines are banned.
  • Easy to use. Forget about the pull-starting and warming up the engine. Just press the button and twist the throttle, and you are on your way.

Further ReadingComprehensive Guide About Electric Motors

Electric Boat Solutions: 3 Options

So how to make an electric boat? If you are interested in building a fully electric boat, you will have three options basically:

#1. Electric Boat Outboard Motors

If you are looking for a more affordable electric boat solution or you own a boat already, the electric outboard motors are better options for you. They allow you to enjoy all the benefits of electric boats with much higher flexibility and less cost.

With a power range of up to 50 kW, this solution is perfect for tenders, dinghies, daysailers, small motorboats and sailboats. All you need to do is to find a reliable electric boat company and install the motor to your boat in easy steps. 

Here is a video that shows you how to mount the ePropulsion outboard motor and convert your existing boat to an electric boat:

With some lightweight small electric boat motors, including the Spirit 1.0 Evo, you can easily remove and pack it into the accompanying travel bags for easy transportation. That way, you don’t need to worry about the outboard motor theft.

Electric Boat Portability

#2. Electric Boat Inboard Motors

The inboard motor is hidden within the boat and it’s a more efficient solution for larger vessels with the power range going up to 140 kW. That being said, you can use multiple motors to make higher power and range as needed.

If you still don’t have a clear idea about the power requirements, a 100 kW inboard motor can be used on large sailing boats and motor vessels between 60 to 100’.

Compared with its diesel counterpart, the electric boat with inboard motors delivers high performance with less noise, fewer vibrations and zero exhaust fumes. Besides that, it’s about two-thirds lighter and 50% smaller, providing installation flexibility and maximizing payload and passenger space.

ePropulsion offers a OEM service to all boat builders who may be intrested in off the shelf or custom built solutions.

#3. Electric Boat

There are manufacturers selling electric boats directly ranging up to about 600 HP. You get all electric systems out of the box, including the boat itself, electric motors, and a control system.

Essentially, this electric boat solution provides you an ideal combination of boat and electric motors so you don’t need to worry about the motor and battery selection, installation, and the possible compatibility issues.

If you go with this solution, you will also get a boat designed and optimized for electric propulsion, which can bring better performances.

Alternatives: There are also hybrid systems that usually combine an inboard diesel generator and a separate electric boat engine, so you can enjoy the benefits of both worlds. It’s advised to consult an expert to start your customized hybrid electric boat solutions.

Electric Boat Motor Recommendations

Are you considering converting your boat to an electric boat? Check out the below recommended electric outboard and inboard options to get started quickly.

#1. Spirit 1.0 Evo Electric Outboard Motor

If you want an electric dinghy, fishing boat, sailboat, or tender, the 3 HP Spirit 1.0 Evo is your best choice that provides electric propulsion with easy operation. It’s nimble, lightweight, and clean power.

Small Electric Boat Motor

Featuring a 1276Wh large integrated lithium battery, this small electric boat motor is designed for portability and longer range than its competitors in the same power range. 

  • With the travel bag and lightweight design (11.3 kg for the motor and 8.7 kg for the battery), the electric motor is easy to transport and perfect for any trip.
  • With one charge, you can go 22 miles at 4.5 mph on a 12-foot aluminum boat (one person onboard) or go fishing all day long at trolling speed.

Spirit 1.0 Series electric boat engine is by far the only electric outboard under 5HP on the market that allows remote helm steering. If you want remote control, don’t miss the Spirit model.

A bonus point for sailboat owners is that, besides solar charging, this electric boat motor also features hydrogeneration function that allows you to charge the batteries while sailing.

#2. Navy 6.0 Evo Electric Outboard Motor

If you want to build electric pontoon boats, aluminum fishing boats, dinghies, daysailers and cruising sailboats, the 9.9 HP Navy 6.0 Evo is your best choice that provides you quiet and maintenance-free boating experience.

Electric Boat Motor

To make the electric boat conversion easy for you, ePropulsion offers three highly efficient battery options (require separate purchase) to match the electric boat engine:

  • LiFePO4 batteries with three different capacities: 2048 Wh, 4096 Wh, and 8060 Wh
  • Competitive pricing with unit price being as low as $0.5 per watt-hour
  • High energy density with 70% less weight and space than lead-acid alternatives
  • Long life cycles: 3000 life cycles at 80% depth of discharge

According to our test, you can go 40 miles with Navy 6.0 electric boat engine or go over 70 miles at trolling speed with a single charge (Tested on a 12-foot aluminum boat with one person onboard and one E175 battery).

#3. H-100 Electric Boat Inboard Motor

If you want a powerful and efficient electric boat engine, this 100 kW inboard motor is best for you, providing impressive 96% motor efficiency. It’s engineered for larger sailing boats and motor vessels between 60 to 100’ (18-30m) with a full displacement up to 200 tons.

Electric Inboard Motor

You can also extend the range and power by adding more motors, controllers, and batteries to the electric propulsion system, thanks to its modular design. It can be totally customized to fit your needs.

With the boating IoT system, you can also remotely monitor the status of your electric boats in real-time, including the speed, power, track, mileage, safety alarm, etc. What makes it even more appealing is that all functions can be customized to your requirements.

Electric Boat Modular Design

The modular design of this motor allows you to build any electric boat tailored to your specific needs. If you want to explore more opportunities for your build, you can chat with an expert by leaving us a message or commenting below directly.

Final Thoughts

The electric boat is nothing futuristic. Electric power has already been preferred propulsion for smaller boats, including inflatables, dinghies, aluminum fishing boats, sailboats, tenders, etc. With the advances in battery and motor technology and the development of waterside fast chargers, electric boats will see faster growth in the coming years. It’s high time to switch to the electric boat to make it future-proof and enjoy the benefits ahead of time.

Have no idea which solution is best for you or which electric boat company you should trust? Leave a comment and we will help you find an ideal electric boat solution.

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